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PoliticsNation, Monday, December 12

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Guests: Bernie Sanders, Alex Wagner, Bob Herbert, Dana Milbank, Michael Steele, Spike Dolomite Ward

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICSNATION": Fair or unfair? That`s
going to be the fight for 2012. President Obama makes the case for
reelection, siding with the people. And, no, we`re not talking about
corporations that are people.

Want to bet that Willard isn`t in big trouble? Romney is trying to
spin his $10,000 mistake while Newt`s laughing all the way to Tiffany`s.

And live from New York, "POLITICSNATION" goes live on Saturday night,
and we`re still laughing about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Play "Catch the Nazi" in the back yard. We put a
blueberry pie in a box and the Nazi would come around and try to get it.
Isn`t that like what the Republicans are trying to do, steal our pie?

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Welcome to "politics nation." I`m Al Sharpton. Tonight`s
lead, the fight for fairness. It`s a conversation we`ve been needing to
have for a long time in our country, and it`s a conversation that President
Obama intends to make the centerpiece of his reelection.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The problem is that
our politics has gotten to the point where we can`t have an honest
conversation about the greatest income inequality since the 1920s, and we
can`t have an honest conversation about the irresponsibility that resulted
in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, without somebody
saying that somehow we`re being divisive. No. We`re talking about being
honest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president wants to talk about making this country more
fair. But the Republicans simply aren`t interested. Five times, five
times Senate Republicans have thrown the middle class under the bus to
protect millionaires. They did it by saying "no" to the American jobs act,
"no" to jobs for teachers and firefighters, "no" to infrastructure jobs,
"no" to payroll tax cuts twice. And they`re expecting to do it again this
week.

Tomorrow, House Republicans are expected to approve a tax cut for
middle class Americans. But they do it -- they want to do it by reducing
unemployment benefits by 40 weeks, cut funding the health care law, and
freeze pay for federal workers, all this instead of having millionaires
contribute just a bit more.

And that`s the key point for the fight for fairness. And what`s
worse, when asked to defend their positions, too often Republicans just
walk away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Speaker, if the Senate sends back a bill
that includes some form of millionaires` tax --

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, (R) HOUSE SPEAKER: If "ands" and "buts" were candy
and nuts, every day would be Christmas. Bye.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, sir.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s their values, and ultimately the president is
preparing to win reelection by standing up against that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The question next year is going to be, do they see a more
compelling vision coming out from the other side? Do they think that
cutting taxes further, including on the wealthy, cutting taxes on
corporations, gutting regulations -- do we think that that is going to be
somehow more successful? And if the American people think that that`s a
recipe for success and a majority are persuaded by that, then I`m going to
lose. But I don`t think that`s where the American people are going to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I don`t think so either, Mr. President.

Joining me now is senator Bernie Sanders, independent from Vermont.
He`s trying to roll back the GOP`s attempt to protect corporations in the
Citizens United ruling. Senator, we`ll go into your plan in a minute. But
first, how far will Republicans go to protect the rich, in your opinion?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS, (I) VERMONT: I think there`s no stopping them, I
think that is what they conceive their political mission to be. They
receive a lot of funding from campaign contributions from the wealthy and
large corporations. And they`re going to go down the line fighting to make
sure that we continue to have the kind of horrendous income and wealth
inequality in this country, fighting to preserve all of these incredible
loopholes that enable enormously profitable corporations, in some case, Al,
making billions of dollars a year, not to pay one nickel in taxes.

And then on the other side, what they want to do is balance the budget
by slashing Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education. You know,
there`s a lot of discussion about class warfare. I think these guys are
waging class warfare against the middle class and working families,
protecting the wealthy and large corporations.

SHARPTON: But when you see the mentality of these guys -- let me show
you something that was stunning. Lindsey Graham this weekend calling the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau something from a Stalinist era. I`m
quoting. I mean, really, helping consumers is Stalinist? Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, (R) SOUTH CAROLINA: This consumer bureau that
they want to pass is under the Federal Reserve, no appropriation oversight,
no board. It is something out of the Stalinist era.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, how can we deal with that kind of mentality and
make progress, senator?

SANDERS: Well, the way you deal with it is educate the American
people and say that we are in a horrendous recession now, 25 million people
unemployed or underemployed. Do you know why, Al? Because we deregulated
Wall Street against my votes. We allowed people on Wall Street to act
illegally and act immorally, and they ended up tanking the economy.

And to say that we cannot have a strong agency to protect consumers
against credit card rip-offs, against all of these mortgage rip-offs,
obviously the American people don`t agree with that.

SHARPTON: Now, let`s go to your proposal, your amendment on
corporations. Explain why this is important and what you`re trying to
achieve here, senator?

SANDERS: Thank you for the opportunity, Al. Look, here`s the story.
Citizens United was a five to four Supreme Court decision a few years ago.
It was one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in the history of this
country right next perhaps to Dred Scott.

What this is about is saying is corporations are people. You didn`t
know it, but the good old bank of America, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil, just
like you and me, they`re entitled to First Amendment rights which means
they can take hundreds of millions of dollars out of the treasuries of
these corporations and use it in political advertising.

I don`t think that most people in America think that what democracy is
about is for large corporations to spend unlimited sums of money without
disclosure trying to defeat candidates who stand up against them. That`s
not American democracy.

I`ll tell you something, Al. We just put a petition up on my Web
site, Sanders.Senate.gov, three days ago. We got 120,000 names already.
The American people want to defeat Citizens United, bring back the kind of
democracy that allows the ordinary person to have some power in this
country.

SHARPTON: Now, if people think you`re exaggerating, let me show you
Mitt Romney, Willard himself, said corporations are people. This is not an
exaggerated flow of rhetoric from Senator Sanders. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Corporations are people, my
friend. Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes
to people.

(LAUGHTER)

ROMNEY: Where do you think it goes?

(SHOUTING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So if corporations are people, then they have First
Amendment rights. They can do whatever people are supposed to be able to
do. And that`s why your amendment becomes important, senator. People that
want to sign your petition should go where?

SANDERS: Sanders.Senate.gov.

SHARPTON: All right, Senator Bernie Sanders, there`s none like him.
Thank you for joining me this evening.

SANDERS: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Coming up, our exclusive interview with the woman who says
the president`s health care law literally saved her life. Of course, this
is the same law Republicans want to repeal.

But first, Romney is starting to sweat. He`s fallen so far so fast
that a $10,000 bet may be the least of his problems.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Rick, I`ll tell you what, $10,000 bucks? A $10,000 bet?

RICK PERRY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not in the betting
business.

ROMNEY: This was an outrageous number to answer an outrageous charge.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You`re watching POLITICSNATION live on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s time for us to occupy Wall Street, occupy Washington,
occupy Alabama. We`re just getting started. We`re getting ready to
organize!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: At our Jobs and Justice rally in October, we said we were
just getting started, and we`re following up on that promise. Over the
weekend the National Action Network rallied in 25 cities, calling once
again for jobs and justice. Labor leaders, politicians, and activists came
together fighting for Congress to pass a jobs bill and help get people back
to work and deal with voter ID laws. The passion and emotion was running
high in Baltimore.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Save our state! Save our state!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Encourage our citizens and our elected officials
that we can and must do more to get more people employed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can`t just keep talking about stuff and not
acting on it. We can`t keep having these leaders come in, saying they`re
fighting for us and the people not standing up and backing us up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is what`s going on all over America. It`s time to
have a real conversation on jobs and justice. We won`t stop fighting. And
I`ll say it again -- we`re just getting started.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. Willard Mitt Romney wants voters to think
he`s just an everyday Joe. But he`s got no idea how Joe makes ends meet.
Here`s Willard`s idea of a friendly wager.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Rick, I`ll tell you what, $10,000 bucks? A $10,000 bet?

PERRY: I`m not in the betting business, but I`ll --

ROMNEY: Oh, OK.

SHARPTON: $10,000? Willard, your one percent is showing again.
$10,000 grand may be betting money to you, but to the average Iowan, it`s
just not chump change. It`s about two months` salary in Iowa where the
average household income is $50,000. It`s also enough to cover the $7,500
tuition at Iowa State University. The average Iowan could use that $10,000
to pay the rent for at least a year. Willard, you`re hopelessly out of
touch.

But the other GOP frontrunner isn`t any better. Newt ran up $500,000
tab at tiffany and bragged about how much he charges per speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did no lobbying of any
kind, period, for a practical reason. I`m going to be really direct, OK?
I was charging $60,000 a speech.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What Newt and Willard don`t seem to get is that millions of
Americans, Democrats and Republicans, are hurting.

Joining me now is Bob Herbert, senior fellow at Demos.org, and Alex
Wagner, host of "Now with Alex Wagner." she`s responsible for everyone
losing weight because no one eats at noon anymore. We`re watching Alex.

(LAUGHTER)

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST, "NOW WITH ALEX WAGNER": Starvation of
America.

SHARPTON: Bob, let me start with you. You have to give the
Republicans credit. They`ve found the perfect frontrunners for their out-
of-touch policies.

BOB HERBERT, DEMOS.ORG: These are the perfect guys, because this is
what that party is. It`s the party of by and for the rich. These are both
rich guys. It`s funny, Newt wants to tease Romney about being out of touch
because of Romney`s wealth. But you just showed Newt the same thing. He`s
the Tiffany candidate.

Now, Alex, how do you deal with the fact that in the middle of a
debate where you`re talking about individual mandates, rather than debating
the health of sickly people, the needs of working class people, he comes up
with a $10,000 wager?

WAGNER: That, I think, speaks to so many things about Mitt Romney`s
character. First and foremost is what you guys are both saying. This is
the party of the one percent or the 0.1 percent. Mitt Romney`s personal
wealth is estimated to be as high as $250 million. This is someone who`s
renovating his multimillion-dollar home in La Jolla, California, and he`s
gone on the record and said let the foreclosure crisis bottom out and let
the markets solve the problems, which is inherently their answer to
everything.

As far as the individual mandate, look, this is not a party that`s
taken a particular interest in the welfare of the poor the working class,
minorities. So sidestepping an issue about individual mandates and health
care for the country and talking instead about an obscene wager would be
part and parcel to what Mitt Romney has been about thus far on the campaign
trail.

HERBERT: And the problem is not that they`re wealthy. We`ve had
wealthy candidates before. FDR was wealth. The Kennedys obviously were
very wealthy. The problems are that these are wealthy guys whose policies
are geared toward the very wealthy in our society and in opposition to the
interests of working people, the middle class, and the poor.

SHARPTON: I think also the president talked about core values on "60
Minutes." And I want to show this and I want your response to that, Alex.
I think one of the things that bothers me is that with this flip-flop,
there`s really no core values. What do these people really believe in
other than making money and protecting those that are making money? Let me
show you the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: It doesn`t really matter who the nominee is going to be. The
core philosophy that they`re expressing is the same. And the contrast and
visions between where I want to take the country and where they say they
want to take the country is going to be stark.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The core values, where they want to take the country. And
it seems like that flips back and forward. I come out of civil rights
where you believe in what you do.

WAGNER: Right.

SHARPTON: I mean, for years I never even got a salary. And then when
I got it, I go back to my other company and lend back about what I made
even to this day. These guys are bragging about $60,000 a speech.

WAGNER: Yes. Newt Gingrich has a litany of questionable financial
endeavors including $500,000 of private air travel during his campaign,
charging his own campaign $42,000 for use of his rolodex. The man, his
idea about money, setting aside the Tiffany`s account, is interesting to
say the least.

As far as Obama, I think you make a great point, which is that the
Democrats and the White House really have the wind in their sails on this,
which is a fundamental argument about the American social compact and what
we are going to do with the poor, the disenfranchised, the neediest, the
fact the we are in an economy recession. Where are the solutions? And
which party fundamentally cares about the problems? Here I think Obama
has, you know, as I said, he has the advantage. Democrats have the
advantage.

SHARPTON: Bob, do you think the country has changed in terms of where
the conversation is and the Republicans just don`t get where the country is
and where the people are now?

HERBERT: I think the Republicans don`t get where the country is with
working people certainly and the middle class. But more importantly, I
don`t think they care. I think they are interested in achieving power,
maintaining power, and then using that power in favor of the interests of
the privileged in our society.

And in order to do that, they don`t really talk about those issues
that are important to working people and to the middle class. They talk
about these issues that are very divisive. They try to divide the country
between us and them and exploit that sort of thing. And we`ve seen that.
We saw it back during the civil rights era and we`ve seen it all the way
through. And that is how the Republicans and the right wing have been
winning these elections, and they`re trying to do it again.

WAGNER: And just to piggyback on that, this is a party that is
balking at extending unemployment insurance and payroll tax cuts. There is
no argument to be made if they`re looking out for those out of work and
working class just based on their policy positions alone.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

HERBERT: And they want additional tax cuts for the very wealthy --

SHARPTON: They want additional tax cuts and in order to give the
extension of payroll tax cuts, they will say, fine, let`s cut from 99 weeks
about 40 weeks unemployment insurance. Let`s do all of these different
things all to working class people.

HERBERT: The poor should give to the rich. The people who are out of
work should give even some of their benefits to the very wealthy.

WAGNER: Reverse Robin Hood.

HERBERT: There you go.

WAGNER: And the logic that the Bush tax cuts somehow don`t need to be
paid for is a huge question mark.

SHARPTON: The politics of it, though, when you see Newt Gingrich, as
divisive as his language has been from foreign policies to talking about
poor people in this country to calling the president a food stamp
president, which he forgot to call him when he and I were meeting with the
president, but I`m sure it just slipped his mind, why is he rising in the
poll? Why are people gravitating toward this?

WAGNER: I think Mitt Romney said, I will not be a bomb thrower but I
think some part of the GOP base wants a bomb thrower. They want a fire-
starter. They want someone they feel will be a, quote, unquote, "fighter,"
for what I`m not quite sure. Newt Gingrich is very good at speaking. He`s
more forceful than Mitt Romney, who comes across as wooden and out of touch
and very awkward as shown by the clips you had earlier in the show. and
for that reason I think he`s rising in the polls.

SHARPTON: Well, I think also when you deal with the fact that both of
these guys, though, don`t know what the average life is, and you have
people that have money that understand what average people go through
because they, as you say, from the Roosevelts to the Kennedys, they had
that kind of common touch and could identify. But these guys clearly don`t
when you consider -- stand up on the stage without even thinking and make a
$10,000 wager. And I guess if you were looking at what $10,000 buys at
Tiffany`s, I think it buys a pair of earrings or Tiffany`s bubbles ring.

WAGNER: I like that you`ve done the research, reverend.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: Yes, I had to research it. When you get in their world, if
it`s an earring set or a bubbles ring, I guess it`s wager stuff to you.

HERBERT: I think this is what Newt has lived for. I think that he
always wanted to be a rich guy. He was always milking the system for
whatever money he could get from going back decades.

But what I think what is really important is, depending on whether one
of these guys gets the nomination, I think Newt is the kind of guy that
would self-destruct in public. And I think he`s the kind of guy that
frightens moderate suburban voters and independent voters, whereas I think
Mitt Romney is a shrewder character in a general election. The question
becomes, what happens in the primary?

SHARPTON: Well, we`re going to talk about that later in the show.
Bob, for years, people read your column in "The New York Times." You know
why Alex`s show is so good?

HERBERT: Tell me.

SHARPTON: We all think somebody like her would be having fun on
weekends. She`s at home reading "The New York Times."

WAGNER: You know what I saw in "The New York Times" this weekend in
the Sunday crossword is you were the answer to one of the -- I think it was
49 down.

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: I`m out marching. She`s home reading "The Times" and
practicing how to make us all look bad.

HERBERT: You`re in the crossword puzzle.

She`s doing the puzzle. I`m marching. Bob Herbert, Alex Wagner,
thanks for joining us tonight.

WAGNER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Rick Perry goes back to the gaffe factory. We`ve got it in
tonight`s edition of "Rick Perry is so funny it hurts to watch."

And speaking of so funny it hurts, POLITICSNATION makes it to
"Saturday Night Live." We`re still laughing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Republicans are stuck between voting for tax cuts
and voting for millionaires, two of their most prized priorities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s time for tonight`s edition of "Rick Perry is
so funny it hurts to watch."

SHARPTON: That`s right. Folks, welcome to tonight`s edition of "Rick
Perry is so funny it hurts to watch," because when Rick`s in front of the
cameras, you never know what he`ll say. At a campaign stop in Ames, Iowa,
this weekend, Rick blasted the president`s handling of government spending.
And he couldn`t stop himself from giving us another oops moment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: No greater example of it than this administration sending
millions of dollars into the solar industry and we lost that money. I want
to say it was over $500 million that went to the country Solyndra.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oh, the great country Solyndra. I hear it`s lovely this
time of year. Better book your trips before it gets too crowded with
tourists.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: I`m sorry. Oops.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But don`t worry, Rick, it fits right in with the rest of
your campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PERRY: It`s like, live free or die, victory or death, bring it. 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 see. Are that.
Activist judges, whether it was -- not the --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Sotomayor.

PERRY: Sotomayor.

I can`t, the third one I can`t. Sorry, oops.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oops is right. Hey, Rick, thanks for the laughs.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. The war of words between
GOP frontrunner Newt Gingrich and Willard Mitt Romney is heating up.
Willard couldn`t land a punch on Newt at this weekend`s debate. But this
morning, Mitt`s on the offensive saying Newt should pay back the money he
made from Freddie Mac.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FOX HOST BRIAN KILMEADE: Do you believe he should give that money back?

FMR. GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R-MASS), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Boy, I sure
do. He was at a debate saying that politicians who took money from Freddie
and Fannie should go to jail. He was in the business of connecting folks
with government. He was on K Street. This was a connection with
government kind of business, working for Freddie Mac, getting paid $1.6
million -- one of the things that I think people recognize in Washington is
that people go there to serve the people and then they stay there to serve
themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: As expected, Newt fired right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would just say that if
Governor Romney would like to give back all the money he`s earned from
bankrupting something and laying off employees over his years if being that
I would be glad to then listen to him. And I`ll bet you $10, not $10,000 -
- that he won`t take the offer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Make no mistake, this race is shaping up to be brutal.
Mitt is fighting for his life. And two new polls shows he should be
worried. In South Carolina, Newt has a 19-point advantage over Willard, a
35-point surge since October. And it`s the same story in Florida where
Newt is up 15 points, a 38-point surge since October. With just three
weeks to Iowa, Willard`s got to be worried.

Joining me now, Dana Milbank, political columnist for "The Washington
Post," and Michael Steele, former RNC chairman and now MSNBC analyst.
Thanks both of you for being here tonight.

MICHAEL STEELE, FORMER RNC CHAIRMAN: Hey, Rev.

SHARPTON: Michael, why is Willard having so much trouble getting to
Newt?

(LAUGHTER)

STEELE: Well, I think it`s part of his overall persona. He`s not one
who throws heavy punches or certainly lands them. I think the fact that he
makes the comment about the $1.6 million is after the debate, not during
the debate while he`s standing right there next to Newt speaks volumes. It
has less appeal and has less effect after the fact. I think if he were to
engage Newt more directly in that vein, then you know, maybe you see
something different.

SHARPTON: Very interesting. So, you`re saying Michael, if you were
managing Willard or helping with his campaign, you would have told him, do
that at the debate Saturday night to his face?

STEELE: Oh, absolutely. I mean, whenever I debated, you know, when I
was running for lieutenant governor and for the U.S. Senate, I take, you
know, I take my candidates -- my opponents head-on, I`m not going to talk
to you behind your back or to the side. Face to face, mano a mano,
standing on the stage, one on one, do it. And then let people see how
they`re reacting you. How your opponent reacts to you, to that size of
aggressiveness. So, I think, you`re going to see more of it. But the
question is, do you see it in the shadows or is it going to be something
that`s, you know, upfront? And there are a lot of dangers there, as you
probably know, Rev. But we`ll see how he handles it going forward. Three
weeks left.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, does this kind of new style persona for Willard,
trying to become a fighter now when he`s kind of tried to play his campaign
above the fray, almost a rose garden strategy when he`s not in the rose
garden, now he`s going to fight, now he`s going to attack his opponent --
could that backfire, as well as let me show you -- let me let you listen to
this. He had a sit-down interview with "Politico" today where he says this
is going to be a long, protracted race. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE ALLEN, REPORTER, "POLITICO": Governor, is Newt Gingrich the
frontrunner in this race?

ROMNEY: He is right now.

ALLEN: Why is that?

ROMNEY: Got me. I`ve watched over the last year and you`ve seen
various people go from very low numbers to very high numbers. I don`t
think I`m in danger of losing the nomination to Speaker Gingrich either.

ALLEN: Why not?

ROMNEY: Because I think in the final analysis when people take a very
close look at our experience, at our records, at our backgrounds, they`ll
recognize that my background and my experience as a leader is what America
needs and that I`m best positioned to replace Barack Obama. This process
of nomination takes, what, five, six months from here? I mean, this is not
going to be decided in just a couple of contests. I think I`ll get the
nomination. I can`t predict when I`ll be able to.

ALLEN: April, May, June, what are we talking about?

ROMNEY: I don`t have any idea at this point. I`m not a, you know,
political scientist that.

ALLEN: But certainly past Super Tuesday on March.

ROMNEY: I certainly have to be in a position to run the full campaign
that is probably not going to be done in a few weeks. It`s going to take a
few months.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, here`s a man who was first above the fray and
played like he was Mr. Inevitable. Now he`s attacking. I agree with
Michael, not to his opponent`s face, but attacking and he`s doing
interviews saying, this is going to be a long, drawn-out thing, which is
clearly not what he inferred earlier. Does this have the potential of back
fighting or can he reboot his campaign doing this?

DANA MILBANK. "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, Reverend, Mitt Romney
changes personas the way you and I change neckties. So, I don`t have any
doubt that he can make this change and make yet another pivot here. And
indeed he has to. This is Newt-style politics. You know, Newt said over
the weekend that he was going to be relentlessly positive. Well, that
lasted about 24 hours. This is the negative politics that Newt invented
and Romney is going to have to play that game. And I do think that he can
threaten a long, protracted battle regardless of whatever the polls are
saying because he`s got a ton of money, a lot more money than Newt Gingrich
has and he`s got a lot of core support in the establishment. He can drag
this out the same way Hillary Clinton dragged out the democratic race last
time and potentially more successfully.

SHARPTON: Now, talking about the fact that he raised Hillary Clinton,
Michael, let`s look at a little history. We can ask the question, is
history repeating itself in this race? Is it 2008 where Hillary Clinton
was the leading candidate over Barack Obama in the democratic race and he
came in as an outsider with popularity and won. Or is it 1984, Gary Hart
was leading Walter Mondale and this same scenario played over again with
Mr. Mondale being the steady guy and he just waited it out and he won the
nomination. Which scenario do you think your party is going to end up with
here if you had to guess?

STEELE: That`s a good question. I would almost think it`s a little
bit closer to 2008 than 1984 simply for this reason -- you look at the 2008
race, what was the great driver for the Obama machine ultimately? It was
grassroots, it was how the base felt about the establishment. It was how
the base felt about Hillary Clinton. It was how the big money donors felt
about the, you know, the campaign that Hillary and Bill ultimately were
running. So, I think that this is a little bit closer to that in the sense
that the base has already said for quite some time that Mitt Romney is a
22, 25 percent candidate for them. Seventy five percent of the polls -- 75
percent of those voters are still are undecided or are willing to change to
someone else if given an opportunity. So there`s a great deal more
fluidity here than maybe 2008. But I think it`s a little bit closer to
that. Now, I don`t know if that bodes well for Romney in that he sees
himself in the Obama role. I think probably Newt sees himself in that
role. But I think it`s closer to `08 than `84.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, let me ask this -- one of the things that could
be helpful to Willard in Iowa is Ron Paul because according to most of the
tracking that I`ve looked at, Paul`s votes hurts Gingrich more than it does
Willard. And Ron Paul has come out blasting Gingrich, not Romney. Look at
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Gingrich received up to $1.8 million from Freddie
Mac just before it collapsed. His think tank got 37 million bucks from the
health care industry.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Newt Gingrich renewed his support from an
individual mandate, a key tentative President Obama`s health care law.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Newt Gingrich has been on both sides of a long list
of issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He went the other way when he got paid to go the
other way.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Do you think voters are going to like warm up to
you because you`re boasting about getting $60,000 a speech?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He is the absolute symbol of that corrupt system.
Newt Gingrich, this guy hasn`t got skeletons in his closet. He`s got a
whole graveyard in there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Dana, could Ron Paul be a deciding factor on how this growing
ugly battle ends up?

MILBANK: He has the potential to be a spoiler. And it`s not just Ron
Paul. It`s Rick Perry if he can pull away some votes if Michele Bachmann
can. It`s basically everybody against Mitt Romney here who has his steady
20, 25 percent, whatever it is. So if any of these other candidates` rise,
that`s almost by definition is going to come away from Gingrich. You know,
Romney`s often in a camp by himself.

SHARPTON: Well, thank you, Dana Milbank and Michael Steele. We had a
very civil exchange tonight. I figure you and I have to beat each other up
since the Republicans have beaten each other up for yourself.

STEELE: Yes. We`re pretty good at that, right?

SHARPTON: Yes. So, have a nice evening, both of you.

MILBANK: Thank you.

STEELE: Take care. I`ll see you, Dana.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Republicans said the President`s health care law was
just a job killer and vowed to repeal it. But it`s actually working.
We`ll talk live with a cancer patient who made national headlines after she
wrote an editorial saying President Obama`s health law was saving her.
That interview, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Coming up -- what? What camera am I looking at, Matt?
What red light? They`re all red lights. What are you talking about --
Saturday night? I was watching Saturday. I go to bed Saturday. I
preached -- come one, what are you doing? You guys don`t go to church.
What are you doing, Matt? Where`s the healthcare package?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. When Republicans won
control of the House, they vowed to repeal the health care law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We came out with our
pledge to America and our pledge was to repeal Obamacare.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: To repeal the job-killing Obamacare
bill.

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

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But a funny thing happened on the way to the GOP talking
point because the affordable care act is working for millions of Americans.
It reduced the number of uninsured children by a million. It`s helped 2.6
million seniors save more than $1 billion on prescription drugs. It
provided 24 million seniors with free preventive care and is helping some
30,000 people with pre-existing conditions get the affordable coverage they
so desperately need. People like Spike Dolomite Ward, a cancer patient and
mother of two, she generated a lot of buzz when she wrote an "L.A. Times"
op-ed praising the president`s Healthcare law saying, quote, "for me, it`s
been a lifesaver, perhaps literally." It`s part of the law that really
hits home for the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: My mother, when she contracted
cancer, the insurance companies started suggesting that, well, maybe this
is a pre-existing condition. Maybe you could have diagnosed it before you
actually purchased your insurance. Ultimately they gave in but she had to
spend weeks fighting with insurance companies while she`s in the hospital
bed and that happens all across the country. We are going to put a stop to
that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Spike Dolomite Ward, the author of that
"L.A. Times" opinion piece. Obama came to the rescue. Spike, thanks for
joining me tonight. What inspired you to write this?

SPIKE DOLOMITE WARD, AUTHOR, "L.A. TIMES": No, thank you for having
me.

SHARPTON: What inspired you to write this?

WARD: I was inspired to write it because I was in such despair having
gotten the news that I had cancer. And that`s a shock in and of itself
when you`re told that you have cancer. You immediately go to the worst
place possible mentally. So, I was really afraid that I was going to die.
And all I could think about was my kids. And on top of that, my family and
I haven`t had an insurance for two years and how was I going to pay for
this? So, in shock, a good friend of mine, another non-profit leader in
Los Angeles did some research for me and found out about PCIP. And I went
ahead and I applied and I had to wait until December 1st for coverage. But
during that time, I was in such despair and I was so afraid -- I was in
such a dark place, I asked my husband if he wouldn`t mind if I went ahead
and I wrote about our experience because it would other people and it would
help me get out of my really dark place. And with his blessing, I went
ahead and did that.

SHARPTON: Let me, Spike, show people what you wrote that is very
interesting to us. This is a quote from the Op-ed page in which you
formally apologize and you push the Obamacare`s message. You say, and I`m
reading from the piece. It says, "I`m sorry I didn`t do enough of my own
research to find out what promises the President has made good on. I`m
sorry, I didn`t realize he really has stood up for me and my family and for
so many others like me. I`m getting a new bumper sticker to cover that the
one that says "got nope." It will say, Obamacares." Why did you write
that?

WARD: I wrote that and I wanted to out myself as an irresponsible
citizen as well. I was so angry and so disgusted when I heard that in
2014, uninsured people were going to have to purchase health insurance from
these companies that had already forced us almost into bankruptcy. And
that made me so angry that I registered as an independent and I just quit
listening. And it`s an irresponsible thing to do. Before that, I was a
politically astute person. I`m well-known in the L.A. area for all my work
with my nonprofit and public school education causes and whatnot. But by
not listening, I didn`t do my part as a citizen. And when I found out that
this Obamacare program was going to literally save my life, I owed it to
the President to publicly apologize and to humbly admit that I had checked
out and that`s wrong.

SHARPTON: Well, let me tell you something, the buzz you caused was
well-deserved, not because some of us support the President but because you
had the courage to stand up and say something that hopefully, maybe some of
the people in Washington will hear and other people that are in a situation
that is life-threatening can get some relief. Mrs. Ward, thank you so much
for your time.

WARD: I hope so.

SHARPTON: And best wishes for your recovery.

WARD: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back with POLITICS NATION on "Saturday Night
Live."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to the show. How was your weekend? Me, not
much. Well, this happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KENAN THOMPSON, AS AL SHARPTON: Joining me tonight are Kelly
O`Donnell, an MSNBC analyst here in our studio.

KELLY O`DONNELL, MSNBC ANALYST: Nice to be here.

THOMPSON: And Jim VandeHeeHo of Poli-TICK-o period com.

JIM VANDEHEI, POLITICO.COM: Hello, Reverend. It`s VandeHei.

THOMPSON: And a big VandeHei. Back to you. Let`s go to Jim
VandeHeeHo.

VANDEHEI: VandeHei.

THOMPSON: Sharptonhei.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Sharptonhei. I like this one, too.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: Now, Jim, those in the GOP want to talk about helping
people -- what? Wrong camera? Which one is it? The red light? There`s
red lights everywhere. On the top. OK, so this one? You just switched it
on me now. That`s what I need to be asking you. Have you ever been on TV
before?

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: And then they went after something near and dear to the
beating heart of POLITICS NATION, they went after my blueberry pie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

THOMPSON: When I was little, we would play, catch the Nazi in the
backyard. We put a blueberry pie in a box and the Nazi would come around
and try to get it. Isn`t that like what the Republicans are trying to do?
Steal our pie?

VANDEHEI: I`m not sure what.

THOMPSON: I need a straight answer. Kelly, are Republicans Nazis
trying the blueberry steal pie out of the boxes?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`re big fans of "Saturday Night Live." And no doubt,
they got me pretty good. Now, some people on our Facebook page thought it
was a little rough. But I thought it was hilarious. We love a good joke.
And they`re right, I`m not a big fan of teleprompters and there`s a lot of
red lights out there and let me say to Kenan, if you`re going to do me, got
to lose a little weight. Leave the blueberry pie alone. But my goal to
the show is to point out what`s really going on in America and fight for
fairness and justice. And have a little fun doing it. What? What? You
want me to do what? Chris -- "HARDBALL" is up next. That`s right.

"HARDBALL" starts right now.

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

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