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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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Guests: Jared Bernstein, Donald Payne, Kasie Hunt, Joe Madison, Mark McKinnon, Bob Shrum, Jonathan Capehart

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICSNATION": Here`s a headline --
Republicans want to give ordinary Americans a tax break. But here`s the
catch. To do it, they want to go after the unemployed. We`ll have the
latest on the vote that`s happening right now.

Trump fires himself, the beginning of the end of the mogul`s career in
politics, or the end of the beginning.

The fight for fairness -- Americans disagree on a lot of things, but
polls show a broad majority want this country to be more fair, and
President Obama gets it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s not a few of
us doing well and then the rest of us hoping that we get lucky.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICSNATION. I`m Al Sharpton. We start
tonight with breaking news. Right now the House is debating a Republican
bill to extend payroll tax cuts to millions of Americans. The only
problem, Republicans have decided they will only help the middle class in
exchange for an all-out assault on the unemployed. The GOP would cut
unemployment benefits by 40 weeks, force those with a high school diploma -
- without a high school diploma to enroll in a GED program before they can
collect benefits, and allow states to do drug testing for those receiving
aid. There you have it. This Republican House won`t even allow a vote on
taxing millionaires, won`t allow a vote, but kicking the unemployed when
they are down, perfectly fine. Democrats today have been calling them out
on their hypocrisy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. GWEN MOORE, (D) WISCONSIN: Through this sham piece of
legislation Republicans claim to be creating jobs when the cruel thing is
that 160 million workers are given a small payroll tax holiday but the cost
is they are held hostage to the tax breaks for the fat cats.

REP. JIM MCGOVERN, (D) MASSACHUSETTS: My friends on the other side of
the aisle have no problem bailing out big banks on Wall Street, but when it
comes to helping middle class families and working people, you know, they
squawk.

NANCY PELOSI, (D-CA) HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: They are bringing a bill
to the floor today which says they are for a payroll tax cut but has been
it the seeds of its own destruction because it has poison pills.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: These are poison pills, and because of them, the White
House has threatened to veto this bill, saying it, quote, "plays politics
at the expense of middle class families." Republicans are using this bill
as an excuse to hurt the country`s most vulnerable right when they need the
most help. It`s not fair, and it won`t work, and the president knows it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Most fundamentally understanding that we`re all in this
together. It`s not a few of us doing well and then the rest of us hoping
that we get lucky, but rather everybody as a team moving this country
forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman Donald Payne, Democrat from
New Jersey, and Jared Bernstein, an MSNBC contributor and former chief
economist for Vice President Biden. Thank you both for being here.

REP. DONALD PAYNE, (D) NEW JERSEY: Good to be here.

JARED BERNSTEIN, FORMER BIDEN CHIEF ECONOMIST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Congressman, what do you make of your Republican colleagues
who would rather help the rich than the unemployed and even kicking them
down -- or kicking them while they are down and putting all kinds of
requirements on them to receive their benefits?

PAYNE: Well, it really shows that the Republicans are not serious
about trying to deal with the whole question of unemployment. They have
put more unrelated issues into this bill which really makes no sense at
all. There are some issues that should be debated on their own, such as
pipeline, but this is not an area that should be put into an unemployment
bill where people`s benefits will be expiring in a couple of weeks.

SHARPTON: Now, congressman, explain to me what is -- what was the
mood like on the floor? I mean, you`re talking about requiring people
without a high school diploma to go in GED to get your benefits and drug
testing. I mean, what was the mood on the floor while they were raising
these kinds of proposals? Imagine if we drug tested the bankers before we
bailed them out. Then people would be saying what are you saying about
them? What are you saying about the unemployed?

PAYNE: There`s -- we`re getting to the point of being angry. This is
not a legislative process. What the Republicans are doing is trying to
dump on people who are having a tough time. They give subsidies to
agriculture, billions, hundreds of millions of dollars. They don`t ask
them to have a GED. They don`t ask them to take a drug test.

And as you mentioned, that whole Wall Street situation, I think they
would not ask for any assistance from the federal government if they had to
go through some kind of drug testing. It is wrong, and it`s once again the
one percent is trying to jump on the 99 percent of this country.

SHARPTON: Jared, the National Employment Law Project came out with
these findings today. They say that unemployment would hurt this economy
if in fact they got their way with employment -- I`m talking about the GOP
bill.

BERNSTEIN: Yes.

SHARPTON: It says it would cost $22 billion in last economic growth,
a loss of 140,000 jobs next year. I mean, how will this impact the economy
in your opinion hearing from the National Employment Law Project?

BERNSTEIN: I think those numbers are very much in the ballpark. Let
me throw out two other numbers that are extremely relevant right up in the
-- in the heart of this conversation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics this
morning released a report saying there are about three million job openings
in the country right now. This was actually for the month of October. In
the month of October there were 14 million unemployed people -- three
million jobs, 14 million unemployed people. You see that imbalance.

Now, this is an economy that is unquestionably not generating enough
employment for all the job seekers we have. It is very bad micro and very
bad macro to not extend, continue these unemployment benefits.

On the micro side, families are just trying to make their budgets,
man. This is not about -- this is not about a pipeline. This is not about
GEDs, this is not about drugs. This is not about families trying to make
ends meet. And if we take these policies away for them right now, it`s bad
for them, and as the numbers show it`s bad for the overall economy.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman Payne, you know, this GOP proposal is
really chock full of non-starters for Democrats. Remember, the GOP House
won`t even take a bill, they won`t even allow a vote on a millionaire`s
surtax. But they think that Democrats will back this -- delays
environmental regulation, fast tracks on the oil pipeline, cut unemployment
benefits, repeal health care funding, freeze federal worker`s pay. So they
are saying no, you can`t vote on a millionaire surtax, but you guys vote on
these things that are basic to the principles that Democrats have
represented.

PAYNE: They absolutely really want gridlock. They do not want to see
progress in this country. As Mitch McConnell said the day after president
Obama was elected, that his number one concern and plan will be to bring
President Obama down. In the process, he says, evidently he doesn`t care
how many people he brings down, how many institutions he brings down, how
many houses he puts underwater, how many young people give up because of
despair, how many kids drop out of college.

This is draconian, evil. It makes no sense, and we`ve got to put an
end to it. We need to pass a bill so that the payroll tax will be extended
so unemployment will be extended. And in addition to that they have
reduced unemployment benefits from 99 weeks down to 59 weeks in addition to
all of the other things that you`ve mentioned. This is wrong.

SHARPTON: Jared, let me just say this, because if I appear to be a
little outraged, I am.

BERNSTEIN: Well, you should be.

SHARPTON: In fact, I`m a lot outraged, because just today the
national center on family homelessness said child homeless is at an all-
time high. The fact is they came out today, ironically, the same day that
they have made these proposals on the floor of the House, this comes out
one out of every 45 children in this country is homeless, 1.6 million kids
is homeless. When we ought to be talking about how we deal with the
homelessness of children, they come with these proposals?

BERNSTEIN: Listen, I mean, think about what that does for your life
trajectory when you start out life in those -- in those key formative years
as a homeless child. I mean, it`s truly unconscionable.

I want to pick up something the congressman articulated that`s very
important to amplify here. When a lot of these Republicans would like to
do is to go home in a couple of days and say, hey, we tried. They blocked
us.

What`s very important is to tick through the list that you did,
reverend, and that the congressman did to show the extent of distractions,
of poison pills, of the gridlock that these folks are trying to -- to jam
into the system when we`re talking about two very simple ideas, the payroll
tax holiday and unemployment extension that by the way are already in the
current economy. These are not new. They have been in this economy in
2011. We`re just talking about extending them for another year. To allow
these folks to run away and say, oh, yes, we tried, they blocked us is,
again, is unconscionable.

SHARPTON: Congressman Donald Payne and Jared Bernstein, thanks for
coming on the show tonight.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: One note, we`ll continue to watch this vote throughout the
hour until it happens. We`ll let you know as soon as it does.

Coming up, the results of our brand new NBC poll on the Republican
presidential race, why both Newt and Willard could be in big trouble.

Plus, Donald Trump fires himself. His short lived career as a debate
moderator is history. But just wait until you hear his excuse.

Also, the one thing that most Americans actually agree on. You`re
watching POLITICSNATION live on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICSNATION live tonight from
Washington, D.C. We all know when it comes to politics this country is
very divided. It is tough to get people to agree on anything, but you know
what Americans do agree on, injustice in this country. And 87 percent of
Democrats think the economy is out of balance and favors the rich. And 79
percent of independents think so, too. And get this -- 61 percent of
Republicans agree. Those are amazing numbers. Aside from mom and apple
pie, can you think of another thing some Americans agree on? More than
three-quarters of all Americans, yet on this issue, fairness, the people`s
will is clear. And today President Obama showed he is listening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: A country where fair play applies across the board. That
vision in contrast to a vision that basically says you are on your own is
what this election was about in 2008. It`s what this election is going to
be about in 2012.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But you know who is playing deaf and dumb, the Republicans
who want his job. According to the Tax Policy Center, Newt Gingrich`s tax
plan gives more than $600,000 in tax cuts to people making more than $1
million a year. In fact, Newt`s plan gives the very rich nearly $2 million
in tax cuts each and every year. Those are jaw-dropping numbers, but they
put Newt right in the mainstream of his party, the party of the one
percent.

Joining me now is national political reporter for the Associated Press
Kasie Hunt, and Joe Madison, host of "Mornings with Madison" on Sirius XM
radio. Thank you both for being here.

JOE MADISON, HOST, "MORNINGS WITH MADISON": Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Kasie, doesn`t Newt`s plan to help the rich seem at odds
with a broad majority of the American public?

KASIE HUNT, ASSOCIATED PRESS: Well, one thing that is -- that you can
note about Newt`s plan is that it`s actually significantly different from
one of his rivals, Mitt Romney. Romney, of course, has fought off
accusations or charges from critics that he`s too moderate to win the
Republican nomination. Romney`s tax plan is actually different from
Gingrich`s in that he would end capital gains taxes and taxes on dividends
only for people who make $200,000 a year or less, whereas Gingrich`s plan
essentially eliminates those taxes for everyone.

SHARPTON: Yes, but it`s -- you`re right. It`s different, but it goes
in the same direction. If you`re going in the wrong direction, does it
matter if you`re going 70 miles an hour or 20 miles an hour, you`re still
going in the wrong direction?

HUNT: That`s certainly what President Obama is going to argue. You
start to see him lay out this broad philosophical case as you mentioned
about this speech that he made in Kansas saying that this is a fundamental,
philosophical difference between Republicans and Democrats. We`re looking
for a square deal whereas Republicans want to let you fend for yourselves.
And he`s counting on that argument to carry him through what promises to be
a pretty nasty general election.

SHARPTON: Joe, when you look at all of the plans on the other side of
the argument in terms of the Republicans, when you look at Newt`s plan,
when you look at Willard`s plan, when you look at Rick Perry`s plan, they
all want to lower taxes for the rich, lower taxes for corporations, and
repeal financial reform. So they really all are basically saying the same
thing.

MADISON: And here`s another graphic that you ought to consider at
some point in time. In other words, what does it mean to the treasury?
Most experts will tell you that it probably will be an $800 billion cut in
the treasury. Now, that means something else is going to have to be cut.

And then when you follow the ideological line of Newt Gingrich, of
Mitt Romney, of Perry and the other Republicans, you know what`s going to
be cut. Those very programs that you talked about earlier, Medicare and --
and I would also imagine Social Security would be on the table. You know,
I thought in coming over here this -- and also, you know, Newt`s plan
allows you to opt out for a flat tax. So that means --

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: That means that the middle class will pay, if you make about
$40,000 to $50,000, you`re going to pay about 12.7 percent. The very
wealthy will pay less at about 11 percent. It`s what I refer to as the 7-
Eleven plan. Why do we go to 7-Eleven? It`s convenient. But what happens
at convenience stores? You pay more for bread. You pay more for milk.
Who needs it the most? It`s the middle class people. So they will end up
really paying more.

SHARPTON: Well, it does sound like that, Kasie. It also sounds like
for me poor people a wish sand wish, two slices of bread and you wish you
had some meat, you wish you had a job.

But let me ask you, given these numbers, how do the Republicans plan
to win? I mean, Kasie, the politics of this, are they tone deaf, or do
they don`t care, or are they so much ideologues that they can`t get beyond
their commitment to their Grover Norquist kind of commitments or pledges or
ideology.

HUNT: Well, as far as trying to figure out how to win, I think you`ve
seen some challenges in recent days on the Republican side, because Newt
Gingrich and Mitt Romney have really gone after each other on fundamental
economic issues. I mean they both accuse the other of taking money from --
in the case of Gingrich, he`s accused Romney of laying people off and
making money from it, and Romney has accused Gingrich of taking money from
Freddie Mac and has challenged him to in fact return that money.

So right now the Republican party is having a conversation about which
one of its millionaires should give its money back to which private
organization, and in the long run that`s something that you`ve seen in
recent days, the Obama officials and folks that are planning Obama`s
reelection campaign basically sitting back and smiling about.

SHARPTON: The banks seem to speak as to who they are supporting with
their dollars. Let me show you this graph. President Obama does get some
money, $198,075 but donations to Willard are $813,300. So clearly when
you`re looking at banks who were bailed out, by the way, that would give a
possible nominee as insurgent much, much more than the incumbent, that
makes a statement within itself.

MADISON: Well, you know why? It`s the Dodd-Frank law. All of them
have pledged to repeal it. Banks would love for that to happen. And look
what happened. And then we have these banks sitting on top of trillions,
trillions of dollars to the point that small businesses can`t even get
loans. Talk to most small business people right now who want to either
maintain the employment they have or start a new division or start a new
restaurant. They can`t get money from the banks. And that`s why you`re
seeing them because they are pledging to go right back to deregulation of
these banks that got us in the trouble to begin with when we had
regulation. So that`s what you`re seeing here.

SHARPTON: Kasie Hunt, Joe Madison, thank you both for your time
tonight.

MADISON: Thank you.

HUNT: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Newt vows not to attack Willard a day after he
attacks Willard. Is the war of words really over?

And the Scott Walker recall fight turns ugly. Intimidation and
harassment caught on tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re mooching off the system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, we`re not scared. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The fight to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is
moving full steam ahead, and it`s getting ugly. Volunteers launched a
campaign to recall Walker last month over his law that cuts collective
bargaining right for public employees. And this week a man was arrested
after he allegedly harassed two volunteers collecting signatures. One of
those volunteers taped the incident for a local news report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then he let loose with a torrent of abuse and
obscenities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m sorry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, you don`t pay health care. You`re mooching
off the system. Yes, yes, moocher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The video goes black as Grisby (ph) grabs the
camera.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He turned around and he jammed the camera back in
my chest and put his fist to my face and says "How do you like that?"

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The man in the video is facing charges of disorderly
conduct. But this isn`t the first time that Walker supporters used some
dirty tricks. Earlier this month two other people were arrested for
tearing up recall petitions and scratching out recall signatures.

It`s clear why Walker`s supporters are resorting to these cheap
attacks. In the first 12 days of the recall effort more than 300,000
people signed petitions, more than half the total amount needed by January
17th. Some say desperate times call for desperate measures. Scott Walker
and his supporters are looking pretty desperate to me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. We`re just three weeks
away from the Iowa caucus and the brand new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll
released minutes ago shows Willard Romney way behind front-runner Newt
Gingrich. Newt has a commanding 24-point lead, but even though Newt`s the
clear front-runner, Republicans don`t love him. More than half of
Republicans say the candidates are average. They are not crazy about any
of these guys. How is this all going to shake out, and what does it mean
for the president`s re-election?

Joining me is Bob Shrum, democratic strategist and professor at NYU.
Today, he`s writing about Newt`s staying power. And Mark McKinnon, co-
founder of No Labels and a former advisor to George W. Bush and John
McCain. He`s released a new reform plan for Congress today. We`ll talk
about that in a little while. Thanks to both of you for being here
tonight.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Bob, there`s some good news for President Obama in these
polls in head-to-head races. He`s beating both Newt Gingrich and Mitt
Romney. Bob?

SHRUM: Yes.

SHARPTON: Your reaction.

SHRUM: Oh, well, look, I don`t think you can take a head-to-head
number for the president right now and when he`s two points ahead and
assume that that says that he`s in great shape. I think he`s in better
shape because his approval numbers in these polls have gotten better.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: He`s getting stronger. I think he`s found a voice and a
message, but this could very well be the kind of close, tough tight
election we had in 2000 and 2004, Mark and I are both very familiar with
it. And the one thing I think you can count on from Chicago and the Obama
campaign, they are not ever going to rest. They`re going to get ready for
Romney, they`ve been going after him and they`re going to get ready for
Gingrich, and it`s going to be a very tough fight.

SHARPTON: Well, Bob, you took my second point because if you look at
the president`s approval numbers in this poll just released minutes ago and
his disapproval numbers, he`s starting to go up in his approval numbers,
and his disapproval numbers are going down, and if that trend continues,
that becomes better and better for the President, wouldn`t you say?

SHRUM: Oh, sure. And I think it reflects two things. First, there`s
some indication the economy is getting a little better. The unemployment
rate is down. There are dangers from Europe. All of this could become
very much more difficult if we don`t extend the payroll tax and don`t pass
unemployment compensation extension so people can get their benefits when
they are off work. And the second thing I think it reflects is the
President stopped trying to be Mr. Nice guy. He stopped trying to
arbitrate between all sides. He`s out there, he`s articulating a message,
a pretty clear message. He`s not going to let this be a referendum on him.
He wants this to be a choice, and the choice -- the question he`s asking
people is who is going to stand up and fight for you?

SHARPTON: Now, Mark, how do you look way analyze the fact that Newt
Gingrich is way ahead but that many Republicans in this poll have said
they are not really in love with any of the candidates and they consider
them average. How will that play out? What does that mean in caucuses in
Iowa and in the early states that are going to face primaries?

MARK MCKINNON, CO-FOUNDER, NO LABELS: Well, the one thing I think
we`re sure of at this point is that we`re not sure exactly what`s going to
happen with Newt Gingrich, but he`s showing staying power. I think at the
very least, it suggests that it`s going to be a long drawn out nomination
contest. We`ve already had 15 debates, there are 15 more scheduled, and so
this thing can get very drawn out. And what we`re seeing is that the more
that republican voters see their candidates, the less they like them, and
that`s a problem. The Republicans are perfectly capable of clawing their
way to the bottom which they are doing this now and making this a real
contest when it shouldn`t be in November.

I think that it`s highly likely that many more things are still going
to happen. I think Jon Huntsman could pop in New Hampshire. I think Rick
Perry or Michele Bachmann could surge in Iowa. I think that is highly -- I
don`t think it`s likely. There`s going to be a third party next year and I
think there will be third parties. I think it`s highly likely the Ron Paul
will run as a third party, there will be the Americans elect platform, so
this going to be an interesting election with lots of things still yet to
happen.

SHARPTON: Third party, if there`s a third party that builds up any
steam, will that help or hurt the Republicans, Mark?

MCKINNON: Well, it depends on who is on the ticket.

SHARPTON: Well, say it`s Ron Paul.

MCKINNON: Well, if it`s Ron Paul, that`s obviously going to hurt the
Republicans.

SHARPTON: You were in the McCain campaign. Let me bring back --
bring you back to the republican primaries. Contrast for me what the
McCain race looked like in the primaries with what`s going on now at this
same stage in 2008.

MCKINNON: Well, it reminds me exactly of the McCain -- the Gingrich
campaign is so similar to the McCain campaign because like -- like Newt`s
campaign, the McCain campaign melted down in June, was completely broke,
written off, and our strategy then was simply to make it until December.
There`s physics to these primaries and you`ve just got to be there when
voters are looking. So, the question for Gingrich now is the timing his
surge right or is it too early? They are throwing a ton at him and I think
that given his performance at the debate the other night, that was the
first and best opportunity to stop or slow him down and they didn`t. So, I
think -- I think it`s unlikely now that Gingrich is going to be
substantially slowed down. I think he`s going to be a big factor in Iowa
and then on through the rest of the primaries.

SHARPTON: So Bob, Willard needs a little help. Well, let me see if I
can help him. I want to show you a tape of Willard in 2002 when he was
running to be governor and this tape surfaced today. Mitt says, he`s not a
partisan republican and that he`s moderate. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think people recognize
that I`m not a partisan republican, that I`m someone who is moderate and
that my views are progressive and that I`m going to go to work for our
senior citizens, for people who have been left behind by urban schools that
are not doing the right job, and so they are going to vote for me
regardless of the party label.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Bob, if that tape gets around, and you know many
Republicans watch POLITICS NATION with Al Sharpton.

SHRUM: They do when Mark is on.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Will this hurt Willard?

SHRUM: Sure, it`s going to hurt him. It just reinforces the
impression that he`ll say anything. Look, he says he`s progressive in
there. He is whatever, at least to me, he is whatever the market demands,
and the strength that Gingrich has, even if people have their doubts about
him, is they think at heart he`s a conservative. He speaks their values.
He resonates with their feelings. Now, whether he can sustain a long
campaign isn`t entirely clear, although John McCain in the end did it,
because he doesn`t have a lot of money. He doesn`t have organization in
these states. If he does very well in Iowa, if he wins South Carolina, if
he wins Florida, that money is going to come. And I`m not sure that a
Romney long march with all of the baggage that he has, they keep talking
about Newt`s baggage. Romney has a lot of baggage, including the fact that
Republicans increasingly don`t find him very likeable. I`m not sure that
would work out very well for him. I think in the end -- well, let me put
it this way. I wouldn`t bet $10,000 on Romney being the nominee.

SHARPTON: Mark, you are a moderate, and to support Bob`s statements
that I happen to agree with. Look at this poll of conservatives and
moderates. With conservatives, Gingrich is ahead 57 to 29. Moderates,
it`s almost the reverse, Gingrich loses, 28 to 53. Conservatives don`t
like Willard.

MCKINNON: They don`t, and that`s the problem because it`s a very
conservative primary, and despite his orchestrations to suggest that he`s a
more conservative candidate, he`s got these tapes and he`s got his history
that he`s got to live with. So, that`s a big reason why Gingrich is doing
so well that because despite even some of his history, he is the guy that
started the revolution in -- that brought the Republicans back to power.
He is the guy that helped balance the budget and he`s the guy that passed
welfare reform. People know the history of both of these guys, and they
see the history of Newt Gingrich as much more conservative than the history
of Mitt Romney.

SHARPTON: Bob, how can Willard Romney take the lead again and how can
he even in a long run in terms of this process becoming long and prolonged,
how can he win this?

SHRUM: Well, three ways. One, he can hope that Newt blows himself up
although so far the verbal gaffs have tended to come more from Romney.
Two, he can hope that in a long war of attrition the amount of money he
has, the organization he`s built in these states is going to sustain him,
although that could fail if Newt did very, very well at the beginning and
people began to say, look, it`s him and we`ve got to move to him. And the
third thing he can do, and he`s doing it right now, is throw every bucket
of mud and every charge he can find, fair and unfair at Gingrich and hope
it sticks. I`m not sure it will. They know he sat next to Nancy Pelosi on
that couch but as Mark says and Mark is absolutely right, they also know
that he`s one of the seminal figures of the modern conservative movement
and they think he`s a real conservative. I happen to think he`s a real
conservative. I hardly agree with him on anything.

SHARPTON: But you`re not voting in the republican primary.

SHRUM: No.

SHARPTON: Mark, your group No Labels unveiled a plan to fix Congress
through a 12-point program, and you wrote about it in "The Daily Beast,"
some of the key points that they are advocating. Explain it to us.

MCKINNON: Thanks. No Labels organization, 180,000 strong now since
the launch last December, came out with a 12-step program to make Congress
work today, and 11 of these 12 require no legislation. These are just
rules that Congress can pass on its own, things like no budget, no pay. If
they don`t pass a budget, we don`t pay them. Just like most people in
America, if you don`t do your job, you don`t get paid. That would be some
incentive to get some budgets done. We don`t have a budget for two years,
it`s always been four budgets in the last 20 years that have been passed on
time. An up or down vote in presidential appointments in 90 days.

I got appointed from President Bush and for four years I wasn`t
confirmed. In fact, I was never confirmed, along with a lot of other
people in the federal government. No wonder it doesn`t work. Half of the
positions aren`t even filled. We want to fix the filibuster, we want to
fast track legislation with majority support and eight other significant
measures that we think make common sense, they`re not ideological, they`re
not partisan, they`re not political. Both sides of the aisle can agree on
these, get them done, campaign on them next year and pass them all next
December.

SHARPTON: Well, Mark, I`m going to have you back and you can help lay
it out. Just tell all your republican friends I do allow them to lay out
their programs on POLITICS NATION.

MCKINNON: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Bob Shrum and Mark McKinnon. Thank you for your time.

SHRUM: Thank you, Reverend. I would have voted to confirm him.

(LAUGHTER)

MCKINNON: Thank you, Bob.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Donald Trump pulls out of the GOP debate, and he`s
trying to spin his way out of the embarrassment. Jonathan Capehart talked
to the Donald yesterday, and you won`t believe what Trump told him.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Do Republicans have a plan to chase away Hispanic voters?
Sure seems like that to me. Last night, GOP senators blocked President
Obama`s choice to stay on as ambassador of El Salvador Mari Carmen Aponte.
They opposed her not because they thought she was doing a bad job but in
large part because she wrote an op-ed in support of gay rights, is really
outrageous, and it`s just the latest anti-Hispanic move from the GOP. At a
debate, Rick Perry got clobbered when he said, he didn`t want to punish
kids brought here illegally by their parents.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: But if you say that
we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other
reason than they have been brought there by no fault of their own. I don`t
think you have a heart.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Why they should be given
preferential treatment as an illegal in this country? That`s what we`re
saying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, all the top candidates told a party line, and there`s
this. The Supreme Court is set to rule on Arizona`s extreme anti-
immigration law by next summer guaranteeing that the Republicans`
discriminatory agenda will be front and center in the 2012 elections. And
a new poll shows 73 percent of Latino voters view the Republican Party as
either ignoring them or outright hostile. Hispanics are a powerful and
growing bloc of voters in this country. They are part of the future of
America, but Republicans are stuck in the past.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We have breaking news. By a vote of 234 to 193, House
Republicans have just passed their far right republican payroll tax bill.

Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart. Opinion writer for the
Washington Post and an MSNBC contributor. Jonathan, what about that?

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, what about that is we`re
about to see a showdown between the President and Congress. It doesn`t
stand a chance of passage in the Senate but let`s say it does. The
President has made it very clear that he would not sign any bill that had
any kind of other attachments to it, and what attached to this, the
pipeline from Canada to Mexico that the President has said that he doesn`t
want to do right now.

SHARPTON: And some other things that we`ve been discussing tonight
that I think is a war on the unemployed. So, now it goes to the Senate,
and you say it`s not like to pass but if it does, the President is likely
to veto it.

CAPEHART: Right. No. The President has said, he will veto this
bill. He`s made that very clear many times.

SHARPTON: All right. No surprise the House passed this Bill. OK.
Let`s talk about Donald Trump. He`s cast a big shadow on the republican
race and today the GOP king-maker has officially trumped the shock. Eleven
days after announcing he would moderate the Newsmax GOP debate. Trump is
out, done, fired. But here`s how he`s spinning it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: They want me to announce that I won`t run
as an independent candidate, and I won`t do that because if the Republicans
pick the wrong person, I would in fact seriously consider running, but
because of the fact that the Republicans are upset and because of the fact
that I refuse to give up the possibility of running as an independent
candidate, I`ve decided to cancel the debate. I don`t want to waste a lot
of Newt`s time or Rick Santorum`s time or Donald Trump`s time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Really. Really? You don`t want to waste time. I`ve got
two words for you, Donald.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: You`re fired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Jonathan, you just talked to Donald Trump yesterday.

CAPEHART: Yes, yesterday.

SHARPTON: What did he tell you about the debate then?

CAPEHART: Well, then he told me, because I -- as I wrote today, I
felt a tremor in the force. Something told me that Donald Trump could
possibly pull out of the debate given all of the criticism that he was
getting and Newsmax was getting that also because there was no one showing
up except Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, so I called and asked and he
said, their folks in the Republican Party who want me -- who said that if I
no longer did the debate, that the candidates would go and do the debate
because why would they want to give a platform to someone who could
possibly run against them as an independent. And he told them he refused
to do that and then we talked about what kind of debate he was going to do
with those two candidates and he said, well, maybe we`ll do it as a chat.

SHARPTON: So yesterday, he is still doing it.

CAPEHART: Oh, yes. He told me that maybe Gingrich and I will sit
there and do it as a chat. So, I was very surprised this afternoon to find
out that Donald Trump -- not surprised but he changed his mind and decided
not to do this debate.

SHARPTON: What changed his mind? He`s just so embarrassed that he
can`t get with two candidates?

CAPEHART: Well, look, I don`t know if it`s embarrassment because as
we both know Donald Trump I think is incapable of embarrassment, but I do
think that what we see is Donald Trump being very aggressive in protecting
the one thing we know he holds most dear, and that`s Trump.

SHARPTON: Well, I think no matter how he cuts it though this brings
him down as a perceived power broker. How much power do you have when you
can`t get the leading contenders to come to your forum?

CAPEHART: Well, he would argue that he did get the leading contender
to come to the forum. Newt Gingrich said yes right away.

SHARPTON: Newt, the leading contenders.

CAPEHART: Well, true.

SHARPTON: You`ve got to have Willard, you`ve got to have Bachmann,
you have to have Perry. I mean, Michele Bachmann was seen four times and
says, I`m not coming to his forum.

CAPEHART: Right. You`re right. This does take some of the luster
off of Donald Trump`s brand, and I think a lot of people look at Donald
Trump in what he`s doing inserting himself into the republican primary
process is a bit bothersome and a bit meddlesome, but you and I both know
that if they do not choose a candidate who he thinks, who Donald Trump
thinks can lead the Republicans to take over the White House, he will jump
into the race or at least make enough noise to bullocks up the race, the
campaign between the republican nominee and President Obama.

SHARPTON: Well, Jonathan, you know, he`s going to be missed in this
race. He`s been great for comedians as well as those of us in politics.
Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Donald Trump has been saying that he`ll run for
president as a republican which is surprising since I just assumed he was
running as a joke.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: No one is happier, no one is
prouder to put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald. And
that`s because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that
matter, like did we fake the moon landing?

(APPLAUSE)

What really happened in Roswell? And where are Biggie and Tupac?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Based on how you eat pizza, Don, I want to see your
long form birth certificate. I don`t think you were really born in New
York.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Actually, the President did release his birth
certificate.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Really? All I saw was a notarized form from the
state of Hawaii showing the date he was born, the names of his parents, his
Social Security number and listing the hospital in Honolulu where the birth
took place signed by the nurse and attending physician. If that`s your
idea of a birth certificate.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The guy is a clown. Only with more makeup. Now I
can say that because Donald`s a friend, tremendous guy. He`s great. We
have the world`s number one rated friendship. Having said that, he`s a
joke.

(LAUGHTER)

A big cuckoo lunatic. I wouldn`t trust him with a burnt match.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But Donald, all is not lost. You may run as an independent
if the Republicans don`t have the right candidate and you`ll be back, and
I`m sure the comedians will be waiting for you. They usually need a good
joke at night.

Jonathan Capehart, thanks for your time tonight, and thank you for
watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

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

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