Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Monday, December 19th, 2011

Read the transcript from the Monday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Guests: Jim McDermott, Jared Bernstein, Randi Weingarten, Bob Shrum, Perry
Bacon, Don King, Tamika Mallory


REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Republicans have found a tax cut they don`t
like. The bad news -- there goes your tax cut.

Tonight, Tea Party revolts. So will taxes now go up on the middle
class?

And did you know Willard Mitt Romney makes as much as $13 million a
year for a job he doesn`t even have anymore? Hey, I`ll vote for him if
everyone can get that deal.

And forget flavor of the month. Republicans are about to have a Ron
Paul moment. Are they ready for it?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON PAUL (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think gold is a good
insurance policy, and I personally buy my gold to protect my family.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: I`m for seat belts, but against seat belt laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL: As far as I`m concerned, I don`t think we need a Department of
Education.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, it looks like a Christmas miracle, Republicans
actually backing a plan to help the middle class. But not so fast, folks.
The Tea Party is holding the conversation hostage once again.

Later tonight, House Republicans are expected to vote down a bill that
would keep money in the pockets of 160 million Americans and extend
unemployment benefits for all those struggling to find work in this
country. This was supposed to be easy. In fact, 89 members of the Senate
voted in favor of it, including 39 Republicans.

This weekend, Speaker Boehner even called it "a good deal" and "a
victory." But apparently the Tea Party has changed the Speaker`s mind,
because suddenly, helping the middle class isn`t a good deal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: We oppose the Senate bill
because doing a two-month extension instead of a full-year extension causes
uncertainty for job creators. A two-month extension creates uncertainty
and will cause problems for people who are trying to create jobs in the
private sector.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Do you know what causes a lot more uncertainty? Raising
taxes at a time when 146 million Americans are living in poverty or low
income.

Do you know what else raises uncertainty? Telling six million people
out of work that they might lose unemployment insurance six days before
Christmas.

Speaker Boehner, 160 million Americans are depending on you. Will you
ignore them because of 60 Tea Partiers in your caucus?

Joining me now is Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington,
and Jared Bernstein, an MSNBC contributor and former chief economist for
Vice President Biden.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Sure.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: A pleasure.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me start with you.

So many Americans are hurting. How can you explain to them -- let`s
forget the beltway talk -- to the American people, how do you explain
what`s happening in Congress right now?

MCDERMOTT: Well, Reverend Sharpton, I discovered the motto of the
Republican Party. They are giving the American people a lump of coal for
Christmas.

There is no excuse whatsoever that they can give for why they are not
passing the bill that passed the Senate. It was McConnell -- it`s
McConnell/Reid. Republicans voted for it. There`s nothing wrong with it.

It`s got the oil pipeline in it. It`s got everything they want. But
they just want to stop the government from working.

They want everybody to get a lump of coal when they go there. Whether
they`re unemployed, or whether they`re getting a paycheck and they`re going
to have a tax increase, they`re going to get a lump of coal for this
Christmas.

SHARPTON: Now, that is frightening. I mean, that`s not a prop,
that`s a reality.

Jared, what is confusing to me is that Speaker Boehner originally
thought this was all right, a good deal. Then, today, he flipped back,
it`s a bad deal.

Let me show you what he said then and what he said today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: If the Senate acts, I`m committed to bringing the House back
-- and we can do it within 24 hours -- to deal with whatever the Senate
does.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You initially supported moving forward with the
two-month plan. What changed in your mind?

BOEHNER: That`s not true. What I was outlining was the fact that
having the Keystone pipeline in here was a success. But I raised concerns
about the two-month process from the moment that I heard about it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Jared, I guess he`s playing, "Don`t believe your lying
eyes and don`t trust your ears." We heard him say what he said. There`s
even reports of, on a conference call, he said it was a good deal.

What happened to change his mind?

BERNSTEIN: Well, what happened is the Tea Partiers really define
dysfunction. If Congressman McDermott`s image here is a lump of coal --
and that`s a strong one -- my analysis really hovers around this issue of
dysfunction.

I mean, the reason why the American people simply don`t believe the
performance of this institution right now is because even when they hammer
out a compromise that both sides obviously and explicitly agree -- you
heard the clips you just played from Speaker Boehner. I mean, this was a
done deal. You have a group of obstructionists who are standing between
the American people and $1,000 on average boost to their paycheck in 2012
and hundreds of thousands of people suffering from unemployment who will
lose their coverage.

We know that there are four unemployed people per job out there. This
is a demand side problem. The economy actually has a little bit of
momentum now, Reverend. Not enough, not a lot, but a little bit.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: But, Jared, let me ask you this, because I want to ask the
congressman something about what`s going on the Hill, but let me ask you
this.

BERNSTEIN: Sure.

SHARPTON: As we talked about the unemployed, as we talk about those
in poverty, is this bill helpful to the economy? Because we`re not talking
about charity here. Will this bill actually help the economy? And if so,
why?

BERNSTEIN: Well, that`s my whole point. It will unquestionably help
the economy. And, by the way, if you listen to the rhetoric of all the
folks up there, it`s not that they`re arguing against these bills, it`s
that they -- in the Republican case, they want to put a whole bunch of
poison pills to poison the negotiations. Last week we thought we got
around that.

Unquestionably an economy that`s just beginning to get a little bit
momentum. You don`t want to pull the rug out of it by taking out the
payroll tax cut and the unemployment insurance. Remember, both of these
programs are currently active, they`re currently in place in the 2011
economy. We need them to be in place for the 2012 economy as well.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman McDermott, let me show you this. Scott
Brown, a Senate Republican, actually lectured the House Republicans.
Here`s a man, Republican in the Senate, that`s up for reelection, and he
says this: "The House Republicans` plan to scuttle the deal to help middle
class families is irresponsible and wrong. A two-month extension is a good
deal when it means we avoid jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of
American families."

Here`s a Republican facing reelection, chastising people in his own
party in the House. What`s going on here?

MCDERMOTT: Well, basically, the House of Representatives is without a
leader. Mr. Boehner is not the leader. He`s a puppet run by the Tea
Party, and he`s like a weathervane.

Whoever he talks to, he then agrees with them. And then he goes and
talks to the second person and he agrees with them. So, he`s spinning
around in so many directions, nobody knows where they`re going over there.
And behind him stands Mr. Cantor, who is really pulling the strings on all
of this, using the Tea Party votes to really destroy the Speaker. I really
--

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Congressman, are you saying here tonight on POLITICS NATION
that the Speaker, in your opinion, is a puppet, and that Eric Cantor is the
puppeteer that is pulling the strings, and that`s what we`re watching here?

MCDERMOTT: Well, it`s what it looks like. He goes out and makes a
statement, and then he goes back in his office, receives a phone call, and
then he comes out and says something else. I mean, it`s as though he can`t
speak for himself, or what he believes.

He always has to check with somebody behind him, and they tell him,
no, that`s not what we`re doing. So he`s out there tonight -- I don`t know
what he`s going to say on the floor when this thing goes down, if it does.
I think it`s an evidence that, really, his speakership is done.

SHARPTON: Now, Jared, people are suffering. This is beyond
Republican or Democrat.

I was in Harlem today, National Action Network, and I gave away
hundreds of turkeys Don King sponsored all over the country. I`m looking
at people`s faces, and it`s really, really compelling. I`m going to show
some of the footage later in the show.

And that is why the publics of this doesn`t make sense, because you
can spin all you want, people know they`re hurting. If they need a turkey
for Christmas, imagine what $1,000 would do, imagine what the threat of
canceling your unemployment insurance would do. Look at the polls on where
the president is. The politics of this makes no sense for Republicans.

BERNSTEIN: I think that`s right. And by the way, those Scott Brown
comments you just heard, I would give Elizabeth Warren a lot of credit for
those comments. I think it`s her pressure that`s leading him in that
direction.

Look, you`re absolutely right, Reverend, in terms of the politics.
One of the things I read this weekend was a statement by one of the Tea
Partiers that said the following. He said, "We`re not going to let the
Senate push us around this way."

OK. By the way, 39 Republicans in the Senate voted for this. We`re
not going to let the Senate -- these Tea Partiers are not listening to the
American people.

They`re not reflecting on an 8.6 percent unemployment rate and a 16
percent underemployment rate. They`re not reflecting on real wage trends
that are negative. They`re not reflecting on four unemployed people per
job opening.

What they want to do is pick a political fight to signal their base.
That has nothing to do with what this economy needs right now, and it`s
pure dereliction of duty.

SHARPTON: You know, Congressman, let me say to you before I go, while
I`m dealing with fighting to get the unemployment insurance extended, while
you`re fighting on the floor, I was stunned when I heard what the Speaker`s
priority is. In the middle of all of this, let me show you what the
Speaker went to the floor on behalf of today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: This resolution will honor the former British prime minister
by placing a bust of him in the United States Capitol. Winston Churchill
was the best friend America ever had. And I ask my colleagues to join me
in honoring his legacy of persistence, determination and resolve.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A hundred and sixty million Americans living in poverty,
needing unemployment, and he`s up saying, we, five days before Christmas,
need to put a bust of Winston Churchill in the Capitol. This is either
amazing insensitivity or contempt for the American people. If it wasn`t
Boehner-like, I would cry.

MCDERMOTT: He really wants to also make sure that the -- he`s worried
more about the tax cut for the job creators, as he says in one of his
quips. He said, "I`m worried about maintaining their tax break at
Christmastime." He never talks about the people or the unemployed or the
near poor or the people that are struggling in this society. It`s just a
plain old lump of coal.

BERNSTEIN: It was Winston Churchill who said, "The American political
system will ultimately do the right thing after trying everything else
first." I sure hope he`s right, because it looks like House Republicans
are trying to prove him wrong.

SHARPTON: I don`t even think Mr. Churchill could estimate how much --
everything else the Tea Party crowd could come up with.

Congressman McDermott and Jared Bernstein, thank you for your time
tonight.

MCDERMOTT: We`ll see you.

BERNSTEIN: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Newt Gingrich wants poor kids to be janitors, and
Willard says cutting billions in welfare won`t hurt the poor. Wow.

Plus, Newt`s free-falling in the polls. So he wants to arrest federal
judges? You can`t make this stuff up.

And we`ll tell you why Scott Walker just added more fuel to the recall
fire. He`s going after women in a very dangerous way.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: During the campaign, Willard Mitt Romney has tried to make
voters believe he`s a regular guy just like us -- just like us. He`s
tweeting about eating Subway. And he`s just like us. He loves Carl`s Jr.
sandwiches. And just like us, he flies Southwest Airlines in coach.

And just like so many Americans, he`s unemployed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I should also tell my story.
I`m also unemployed.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But he`s not just like your typical unemployed American.
"The New York Times" reporting today, Willard`s still receiving millions
from Bain Capital, the private equity firm he used to run. The retirement
deal brings in more than $13 million a year.

Meantime, he`s campaigning to cut taxes for the rich and for the
radical Paul Ryan plan which would cut Medicaid by $700 billion, food
stamps by $127 billion, and Pell grants for low-income college students in
half. But Willard doesn`t think it will hurt anyone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": You don`t think if you cut $700
billion in aid to the states that some people are going to get hurt?

ROMNEY: In the same way that by cutting welfare spending
dramatically, I don`t think we hurt the poor. In the same way I think
cutting Medicaid spending by having it go to the states run more
efficiently, with less fraud, I don`t think it will hurt the people that
depend on that program for their health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Cutting welfare won`t hurt the poor? This coming from a
guy who makes $13 million a year doing nothing?

Cutting $127 billion from food stamps won`t hurt the poor. This is
just the latest Republican with the war on the poor as his motto and
philosophy.

Joining me now is someone who knows how to fight for the middle class,
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. She is
also co-chair of our National Action Network March for Jobs and Justice.

And Randi, thank you for joining me tonight.

How do you plan to fight these kinds of agendas?

RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Well,
first, it`s a little -- the hypocrisy is a little shocking. As you were
going through that clip, Reverend, I started thinking about the big news
out of last week, which is that half the country -- half the country is
within 200 percent of the poverty rate. Half the country right now is
poor, or just scraping by.

And so when you say to people who, even when they have a job, they`re
living paycheck to paycheck, that God forbid they have some emergency
surgery like my father just had this week, what are they going to do if
they`re living paycheck to paycheck? What happens? Do they make the
choice about not having emergency surgery?

That`s the questions that normally happen right now that grip most
people who live in America. And so this kind of dissonance between someone
-- and I don`t begrudge him. Look, I think that there should be kind of
deferred compensation for lots of people. That`s what pensions are.

But the average public worker pension in this country after 20, 25, 30
years of service is $24,000 a year versus Mr. Romney`s pension, which is
$13 million a year. There`s some dissonance there.

SHARPTON: And let me show you this, Randi. He says just a couple of
months ago -- Willard was calling the president`s payroll tax cut plan that
would save millions of Americans $1,000 a year a Band-Aid. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If the payroll tax cut is not extended, that
would mean a tax increase for all Americans. What would be the
consequences of that?

ROMNEY: What it takes to create jobs is more than just a temporary
shift in a tax stimulus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So you would be OK with seeing the payroll tax
cut --

ROMNEY: Look, I don`t like temporary little Band-Aids.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But if you think that`s a Band-Aid, $1,000 is a Band-Aid,
how much would your tax plan get us, Willard?

Well, he answered that. Let me show you what his capital gains taxes,
what it would give a family, whether that is a lot more than what he called
the Band-Aid.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Well, first of all, $167 is not zero. Look, I recognize it`s
not a huge tax cut. It is a tax reduction, and it allows middle income
folks to participate in making a brighter future for themselves and for
saving.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Randi, $1,000 is a Band-Aid, but $167 is a great
savings. You talk about hypocritical --

WEINGARTEN: Look, maybe -- most of our school teachers would teach
you $1,000 is more than $167. But the bottom line is this: there`s a lot
of things that we have to do in America.

Number one is we have to help people who want to work work. There are
26 million people that are out of jobs that want to work.

The better a job is, the more it has a middle class wage, the more a
person can feed, clothe, house and educate his or her family. And so
that`s why the big question is, how come Mr. Romney is not supporting the
president`s Jobs Act which would get people back to work, get them a real
job, create income in terms of communities?

So this notion of trickle-down economics, of a minor tax cut here
versus an immediate payroll tax cut here, I just don`t understand the
Republican Party these days. If they`re about creating jobs, then create
real jobs for people who want to work right now. And don`t cut the social
net that people really need right now.

People who are not working need unemployment insurance. People need
Medicare and Medicaid. People need food stamps. That`s a safety net that
people have when they`re not working.

SHARPTON: Now, I want to ask you about something that you and the AFT
is doing in West Virginia. But before I do that, I need to just -- so
people understand that we`re not just beating up on Willard, Newt Gingrich
suggested that we make some of the students in poor neighborhoods janitors.

Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is tragic what we do in
the poorest neighborhoods in trapping children -- first of all, in child
laws which are truly stupid. Most of these schools ought to get rid of the
unionized janitors, have one master janitor, and pay local students to take
care of the school.

The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they`d have
pride in the schools. They`d begin the process of rising.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, as a union leader, one of the biggest union leaders in
the country, how do you think about openly advocating changing child labor
laws? And as the head of the teachers in the country`s union, I mean, your
teachers work with janitors every day. I mean, how`s the reaction to this?

WEINGARTEN: Well, let me do this -- there are so many things that are
wrong with that statement.

Number one, what are we going to do? We`re going to -- when we have a
jobs crisis in America, we`re going to take people out of jobs, good-paying
jobs in schools where people who are in the neighborhoods working these
jobs? So we`re going to ask poor kids to clean the floors in a school and
get rid of their parents who may be cleaning the floors in a school? That
doesn`t make any sense.

Number two, would Mr. Gingrich actually make that proposal for kids
that were in private schools or would he only make that proposal for poor
kids?

SHARPTON: Wow.

WEINGARTEN: Number three, exploitation -- kids should be in glee
club. They should be in debate society. They should be doing the kinds of
things to create knowledge and excitement and engagement. That`s what we
should be doing in communities that are underserved, not asking poor kids
to actually be janitors.

SHARPTON: Now, Randi, I`ve run out of time, but I want you to tell us
about this partnership in West Virginia. I`m going to have you back again
where we can talk about it extensively, but tell us what this does.

WEINGARTEN: Great.

SHARPTON: Because I think this is very important.

WEINGARTEN: So this is -- you know, as the Republican candidates are
talking about how we actually fray the social safety net, what we`re trying
to do is, it`s an unprecedented partnership of business, health care,
unions, educators, not-for-profits that are saying the economy and
education are interrelated. And in a place like McDowell County, which was
a big coal producer 100 years ago, and has seen -- it`s seen its better
days, let`s create a new chapter there.

And if we`re going to actually help kids, we`re going to have to help
by doing everything. We`re going to have to focus on the economy. We`re
going to have to focus on social safety net. We`re going to have to focus
on health care. And we`re going to have to focus on education.

And that is what we`re all doing under the tutelage of the governor
and Senator Manchin`s wife, Gayle Manchin, and 40 other groups. This is
unprecedented, and I am honored that the AFT is leading this effort with
these other groups in terms of trying to help give McDowell County and the
kids there a new chapter so they cannot simply dream their dreams, but
achieve them.

SHARPTON: We`re going to do a whole piece with you on it and deal
with it.

WEINGARTEN: It`s great.

SHARPTON: People can go to ReconnectingMcDowell.com, the AFT`s new
Web site on it.

Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of
Teachers.

Thanks for being here tonight.

WEINGARTEN: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Don King, the legendary boxing promoter and
activist, joins me to talk about why he`s giving away so many turkeys
during the holiday season and the burden on the poor.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Governor Scott Walker`s fighting for his political life in
Wisconsin. But that`s not stopping him. He has a new target -- Planned
Parenthood. His administration is cutting Planned Parenthood`s contract
from a program to coordinate free breast cancer and cervical cancer
screenings for low income women in four Wisconsin counties. Last year, the
program served more than 1,200 women in those counties and its screenings
detected cancer in 15 women. So, 15 women`s lives might have been saved by
this program. But to Walker, it`s all about politics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There are many clinics that aren`t as controversial
as Planned Parenthood. And our goal was to make sure that low income women
had access to those sorts of screenings and so we`ve got other providers
around the state who don`t carry the controversy that you get from a
Planned Parenthood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Walker`s office claims women expecting to go to Planned
Parenthood would get cancer screenings elsewhere. But we reached out to
Planned Parenthood today for a comment and they told us, quote, "The state
has yet to communicate to Planned Parenthood or the area service providers
and patients who will be assuming this critical cancer care coordination."
So, apparently there`s no plan to take care of these women, keep on running
to the right, Governor, and we`ll keep working toward your recall.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. I`m getting used to
hearing this music. Tom Petty, "Free Falling." I`ve actually heard it six
times now for every republican front-runner falling from the top spot in
Iowa. And now it`s Newton Leroy`s turn to drop. A new poll shows his
unfavorability plummeting over the last two weeks. He went from a 31
rating to 12 and then down to minus one. Minus one. I guess the attacks
are working.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Unidentified Ethics complaints while he was
speaker, driven out of the speakership in disgrace.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Having to pay $300,000 for lying, for complete
fraud.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I have lots of things to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Newt Gingrich is also the latest example of how the
corrupt revolving door drives Washington.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Newt has a ton of baggage, like the fact that
Gingrich was fined $300,000 for ethics violations, or that he took at least
$1.6 million from Freddie-Mac just before it helped cause the economic
meltdown.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wow. Corrupt, baggage, ethics violation, no wonder he`s
dropping. New Iowa polls have Ron Paul skyrocketing to number one.
Gingrich is third. Another poll even has him in fourth behind Rick Perry.
Once again, Ron Paul is in the lead and Paul`s campaign announced today
he`s raised $4 million since Friday. Nationally, the Newt is no better for
Newt and Newt Leroy has now dropped to where he`s tied in the lead with
Willard. I guess Sir Isaac Newton`s law of gravity is alive in the GOP.
What goes up, must come down.

Joining me now is Bob Shrum, democratic strategist and a professor at
NYU and the newest member of the MSNBC family, Perry Bacon, Jr., the
politics editor at thegrio.com and MSNBC contributor. Congratulations,
Perry. We`re very glad that you joined the family.

PERRY BACON, JR., MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, Al. I appreciate it.

SHARPTON: Bob, let`s start with you. Big question -- is Newt Leroy
done?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, yes, probably. Look, I
thought there was a chance here that he was impervious to these attacks and
would be Teflon. But three things have happen. First, he`s had a ton of
negative dropped on him. And it`s much more effective than the usual
negative because Romney doesn`t have to get on there and say, I`m Mitt
Romney and I approve this message. So, he`s not getting blame by any of
the voters for it. Number two, you have a whole lot of conservative
evangelical ministers who have gone out and attacked Newt. They don`t like
Romney, but he`s the un-Gingrich. They`ve gone after Newt and they`re
helping Romney. Three, I think Ron Paul right now is Mitt Romney`s best
friend in Iowa, put aside whether he may run as an independent at the end
of this whole thing. He`s helping Romney right now. And with a lot of
these Gingrich voters saying Romney is our second choice, I think there`s a
chance he could win Iowa, then win New Hampshire and then maybe roll the
whole process.

SHARPTON: Now, Perry, when you look at "The Huffington Post," they
did an article today explaining how his opponents` attack ads have really
worked. They say, quote, if Iowa voters are thinking about Newt Gingrich
these days, there`s a good chance that one word in particular is coming to
mind, baggage. Baggage came up frequently in conversations with Iowa
voters. Several repeated the line or some form of it. So this negative ad
campaign by people that may not identify themselves as with Willard or Ron
Paul but they seem to be working.

BACON: There`s so many things he`s been attacked on. He`s been
attacked about Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, he`s being attacked about his
marriages and the -- of three marriages. He`s being attacked on a lot of
different fronts and therefore, it`s really helping Romney and to some
extent Ron Paul. I don`t think he`s done yet. Because the core of it
remains the fact that a lot of Republicans don`t like Romney and don`t like
Ron Paul and would never vote for those people. So, there are still big
group of Iowa voters who are open in Iowa, in South Carolina, in Florida.
So, I think Newt still has a chance. But he`s definitely peaked in the
polls right now.

SHARPTON: Well, he`s trying to appeal to the far right and maybe a
lot of those that will never go at Romney because they consider him too
moderate or never go with Ron Paul because they consider him too unusual.
So he went on TV this weekend -- he being Newton Leroy and actually started
talking about arresting federal judges. I mean, talking about really going
for the extreme right wing, watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB SCHIEFFER, CBS NEWS: One of the things you say is that if you
don`t like what a court has done, the Congress should subpoena the judge
and bring him before Congress and hold a Congressional hearing. How would
you enforce that? Would you send the capitol police down to arrest him?

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you had to. Or you`d
instruct the Justice Department to send the U.S. marshal. Are judges above
the rest of the constitution? Or are judges one of the three co-equal
branches?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let me get this right, Bob. If a judge does something you
don`t like, that`s what Schieffer asked him, you send the marshals to get
him? I mean, what is he talking about?

SHRUM: Well, listen, the whole thing is absurd. It`s been attacked
by people like Michael Mukasey who was the attorney general under Bush,
Alberto Gonzalez. But the telling thing about it in terms of the
Republican Party is when he said that in one of the debates last week, he
got huge cheers. This is, as Perry says, a very conservative party, very
unhappy with Romney. I think one of the interesting things in some of that
polling data you put up at the beginning is that Perry is actually nudging
up. I know we find it hard to believe. But it`s clear that conservatives
are still looking for some alternative and they could decide that they`re
going to try and coalesce around someone other than Gingrich. It could be
Perry. I`d be surprised if it happened. But in this crazy era, I wouldn`t
rule anything out.

SHARPTON: Talking about crazy world, Perry, is Ron Paul for real? I
mean, did you really think that Ron Paul could do serious damage and become
the nominee?

BACON: No, I don`t think he can become the nominee. There`s not
enough Republicans who are libertarians. That said, he could win Iowa. If
he won Iowa, that kills Gingrich and I think that kills Rick Perry in some
ways as well. Ron Paul winning would really take away from their vote and
their appeal. And in some ways, I think Ron Paul winning Iowa would
guarantee Romney wins the primary.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, walk through quickly for me. Ron Paul wins in
Iowa, what does that do to Willard and where do we calculate that from New
Hampshire in and to South Carolina and the nest two or three primaries?

SHRUM: Well, I think Romney`s second best wish is for Ron Paul to win
Iowa. He`d obviously like to win it himself. But exactly for the reasons
Perry just stated, he`ll be fine if Paul wins. They`ll go on to New
Hampshire, Romney will win New Hampshire going away. I think in South
Carolina, people will begin to come around, he`ll probably be able to win
South Carolina, although there`s going to be more resistance there than a
lot of other places. And then I think you`d see Florida move much as it
did with McCain in 2008. He begins to look like the nominee and so people
go to him even though they`re not entirely happy with him. Ron Paul as I
said it last week on this program -- is Mitt Romney`s best friend right
now?

SHARPTON: Perry, if Ron Paul wins Iowa, is it over for everybody but
Willard and him? Is it a Willard/Ron Paul race? Does that kill the rest
of the conservative options?

BACON: I think it does. I think there`s a South Carolina option
where Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, not very popular in South Carolina. You could
have a Gingrich or maybe -- there`s not any debates right now, so Perry is
doing pretty well. Republicans have forgotten in some ways, Perry to the
debate. So, Perry could do his sneak up as well. But I still think Ron
Paul wins Iowa. Mitt Romney wins the nomination and that`s pretty much it.

SHARPTON: If you were advising Newt or Ron Paul, Bob, what would you
tell them to do now in the last couple of weeks they have left?

SHRUM: Well, it`s a really improbable thought that I would ever be
doing that, Reverend. But on the other hand, you know, he`s been attacked
for the fact that he spent some time with you and it appears to be hurting
him. So, it`s one more good thing he did for the country. Look, I think
that Newt Gingrich in some ways doesn`t understand how he got where he got,
doesn`t understand how to stay there. He`s not in Iowa. He should be in
Iowa every day campaigning very, very hard. I`m not sure that would make a
difference. I`m not sure he can overcome what`s already happened to him.
And I think these polls are kind of a leading indicator that conservatives
are looking and Tea Party types are looking somewhere else.

SHARPTON: Bob Shrum, Perry Bacon, Jr., thanks for joining me tonight.

SHRUM: Thank you.

BACON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, North Korea`s dictator Kim Jong-il died this
weekend. But you won`t believe how some are remembering him. That`s next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il died over the weekend
from a heart attack. He was 69 years old. No doubt Kim Jong-il was a very
dangerous dictator, responsible for terrible acts against his people,
including a major famine. But in this country, comedians found him, well,
funny.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Give me a woop, woop! Hey, that guy not woop,
woop. Good one, my friend.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So, let me warn the gun-slinging buccaneer George
Bush and his henchmen Jimmy Carter and Wolf Blitzer. I am extremely
unstable and highly irrational, and for your information, quite completely
insane.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: North Korea, everything is sunny, all the time.
Always good time, beach party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And there`s also a lot we`re learning about him. He loved
Hollywood movies. He had a collection of more than 20,000 films. He once
arranged the kidnapping of a South Korean director and his wife to remake
"Godzilla" one of his all-time favorites and according to his own press
reports, he might have been the Tiger Woods of North Korea. In 1994, North
Korea media reported he shot 38 under par on his first try at golf. Just
five years ago, Kim had the idea to solve North Korea`s widespread hunger
problem by breeding giant rabbits. We`ll be right back.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, we all know these are hard times for many
Americans, one out of every two Americans is poor or barely scraping by.
That`s 146 million people and 5.9 million of them are children. Earlier
today, we gave out hundreds of free turkeys outside of the National Action
Network headquarters in Harlem, a national drive by boxing promoter Don
King done in Cleveland, in New York, New Jersey, Westchester all over the
country, to try and give something to people that really need it. I was
struck by how people lined up for hours waiting for what might be the main
part of the meal that they were trying to scrap together.

Joining me now is the legendary boxing promoter Don King. Thanks for
joining me tonight, Don.

DON KING, LEGENDARY BOXING PROMOTER: It`s a pleasure to be able to
join you, Reverend Al Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Now, you`ve been doing this all over the country for how
many years?

KING: Over 50 years I started the program. It wasn`t going over the
country, it started in Cleveland, Ohio, at a night club there. And I was
in another business of promotion then. And that it`s always giving back to
the community has been a part of my life because the people are the most
important. And so that is why I`m -- I guess, you know, I`m a promoter of
the people, for the people and by the people. And my magic lies in my
people ties. So, I deal with the people and that`s what I try to do and
helping them, the needy, the downtrodden, the denied and those who would
not get an opportunity in the land of opportunity to give them one.

SHARPTON: Now, Don, you and your wife Henrietta and this is the first
Christmas you and your family spending without her have been committed to
this. And no matter what, you worked with Republicans and Democrats, you
and I have debated over George Bush and others. But at Holiday, you said,
put politics aside, let`s stand up for the people and people all over the
country today you did alone what you and Henrietta have done for years. Do
you appeal to other people in business that there ought to be a time we put
politics and our disagreements aside and really look out for the American
people?

KING: I think so. I think the time is now. It`s almost like a new
beginning. A nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition
that all men are created equal. The only thing that left out of that was
not the words, it was the mental subordination of people, inclusiveness.
You know, those were the words that were left out that keep us and that put
us in a position that we have to start a new again right now. Most
certainly everyone should consider giving back to the people of this great
nation, a nation that`s conceived in liberty and dedicated to the
proposition that all men are created equal. And then deal with it as a set
one land and invisible with liberty and justice vote. That`s we say that
we boast that, that we boast the self-evident truth, we live the self-
evident lie.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you something. Let me ask you something
quickly, what happened in Florida? I understand something happened with
one of the trucks with the poor people down there.

KING: Yes, the trucks down here -- we had trouble with the truck.
They said it was hijacked. Then they say it disappeared, the driver
abandoned it. And finally with many of the stories that they have brought
to us, the reason I`m not there with you live is because I have to stay
here to make certain that the people in Florida get their turkeys. And I
wrote a letter to Costco and I made a deal with. And it was wonderful.
Thank you so very much. And I`m still waiting on a reply. I have not
received a reply as to when these turkeys will be there. I have some
verbalization that they`ll be here on Thursday. Well, if they don`t get
here on Thursday, the Christmas holiday is over.

SHARPTON: Well, I hope they respond to your letter. And we just put
it up. Let me hold one minute, Don. I want to bring in Tamika Mallory,
executive director of National Action Network, my civil rights group.
Earlier today, you helped me give out turkeys outside of our headquarters
in Harlem. What does this mean to the people of the Harlem, of the country
when people like Don King care about them?

TAMIKA MALLORY, EXEC. DIR., NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Well, you know,
Reverend, it`s obvious that people are hurting. I mean, we had people by
the hundreds lined up outside of our headquarters all day. They were lined
up for hours before we even told them to get there because they needed
turkeys. We had seniors, people who are really hurting. And while we`re
in the middle of all the different political debates, you have people who
are struggling. And National Action Network is really trying to do the job
of bringing people what they need.

SHARPTON: If Don King has done this, others could do it. What is
amazing to me is every year no matter what, he does it. And I don`t see a
lot of other people reaching out. Some do. But I think that people in
Harlem and Cleveland and Newark and other places today want to thank Don,
which is why you came down to the show tonight.

MALLORY: Absolutely. It`s a great partnership all the time that I`ve
been at National Action Network, Mr. King has been donating these turkeys
to us and helping us to really bring people what they need. And we really
appreciate you, Mr. King, for doing that for National Action Network.

SHARPTON: Mr. Don King, I hope that Costco responds. He`s waving the
flags. You`re going to come back another night when we can debate politics
between republic-crat and a democrat but tonight we are here to give thank
to you.

KING: You just said it, Rev. You just said it. I`m a republic-crat
but let me tell you something. Take a trip back in history. Thomas
Jefferson said many years ago that our liberties are more dangerously
imperiled by the banking institution than standing armies. And so, you
must understand, it causes unemployment, he says, homelessness, joblessness
and this is like 200 years ago and it`s all coming to bear fruit right now
where people are homeless and jobless and their houses are being foreclosed
on. And in Cleveland, they`re tearing down houses that were good houses
because the house -- the mortgage is double what the people would owe.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

KING: Or what the house is worth. So, it`s a sad commentary for us
in America, the greatest nation in the world and to be able to suffer this
type of situation where our people are starving and not having jobs, we
should just create a job.

SHARPTON: We got to do it. We`re going to bring you back on and talk
at length and go through the points. Don King, Tamika Mallory, thanks both
of you for joining us. Thank you, Don.

KING: Only in America! Only in America!

SHARPTON: Let me say this, as you see these people lined up in Harlem
today, and it happened all over the country. How can people stand in line
for a turkey and others act like $1,000 wouldn`t mean something? I want
you to see graphically what this $1,000 would mean if a turkey would mean
seniors would stand in line that long. Think about it. This is not about
a party. This is about the people, American people.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

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

<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2011 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2011 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of
litigation.>





Sponsored links

Resource guide