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PoliticsNation, Friday, January 6, 2012

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Guests: Jared Bernstein, Hilda Solis; Bob Franken; Perry Bacon Jr., Richard Wolffe, Maria Teresa Kumar, Sandy Justice-Savage

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Getting the job done. Tonight,
President Obama`s fight for jobs is paying off. But wait until you hear
how Republicans are spinning strong job numbers.

Santorum surging, but so is Romney. Can anyone catch Willard in this
campaign? And Newt oh Newt, he`s at it again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you in fact talk openly
and honest by about the failure of liberal institutions and the way they
hurt the poor, there comes a sudden frenzied herd of people running racism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m Al Sharpton.

Rick Santorum says we need a, quote, "Jesus candidate." I`m not
buying what he`s preaching. I`ll get to him later.

But, let`s begin tonight with the news that President Obama`s jobs
crusade is working. Let`s take a look at this graph. It shows private
sector job growth. These blue lines represent job growth during President
Obama`s time in office. He took over as the economy was shedding thousands
of jobs.

Now, look, for 22 straight months, we have seen positive private
sector job growth. That`s 3.2 million jobs. Yes, despite this, speaker
Boehner has the nerve to say, both parties must come together and do more.
Both parties, this from a GOP that refuses to even accepts the word
compromise?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your idol, as I`ve read, was Ronald Reagan, and
he compromised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never compromised his principles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So did you compromise?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We found common ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why won`t you say -- you`re afraid of the word.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I reject the word.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You reject compromise. You`re about is unserious as your
party`s tray for the week, Rick Santorum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m very gratified to see
in spite of the policies, that the job market is beginning to pick up a
bit, I think there might be some optimism that maybe Republicans are going
to take the without and maybe that`s spurring people to start taking some
risks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Rick later said he was joking. I`m not laughing. But Mitt
Romney`s response is even more of a joke, calling it no cause for
celebration. Yes, right. And Newt Gingrich, here`s his take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: The jobs numbers today offer a very stark contrast between
timid and bold, and I think giving this president, it`s very unlikely he`s
going to solve it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Sorry, Newt. It looked like he`s already on his way,
despite the opposition from your party.

Joining me now is Hilda Solis, U.S. secretary of labor, secretary
Solis, thanks for joining me.

HILDA SOLIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR: Thank you, reverend. It`s good
to be with you, and happy New Year.

SHARPTON: Happy New Year to you. Mitt Romney says this report is not
a cause for celebration. Do they not get it?

SOLIS: Nothing could be further from the truth. We know that this
has been a long hard road, but we know in the last year alone, we created
more than 2 million jobs, and this job report for December shows that we`ve
actually seen a kick down of the unemployment rate, and we`ve actually seen
200,000 private sector jobs created. And all the remedies that the
president put forward when he took office are showing the results. And we
have to continue on that trajectory. Because we still need for the
Congress to work with us so we see the extension of unemployment insurance
as well as the payroll tax. Those two alone will help to create and
encourage more job growth. It`s about private sector job growth. It`s
about entrepreneurship. It`s not about us telling people where the jobs
are going to be. It`s about allowing for that marketplace to work with
good incentives and leadership, what I like --

SHARPTON: With all of this politics and I`ll get to the politics and
there`s big debate this weekend in New Hampshire. I`m going to get to
that. But all of it should be about really helping provide some kind of
security and jobs for it is American people. So I wanted to start with
that. 200,000 new manufacturing jobs and the lowest unemployment figure
since when?

SOLIS: I would say we haven`t seen this in a few years. And what`s
really good about this is what we`re seeing is there are good jobs that are
being created. They are permanent jobs. And we know that the investments
that the president made - I mean, we`re not even talking about what
investments and sacrifices that so many people have made in the automobile
industry alone, we`re seeing people feeling more confident. They`re buying
cars. They are buying appliances. They`re actually considering spending
out more money. So consumer confidence is a big part of this, and part of
it is, you know, in spite of what happens with the gridlock in congress,
that people are seeing that there is strong leadership on the part of the
administration to continue it move forward for the middle class.

And we`re talking about relief for them by providing tax breaks for
them, not for the millionaires and billionaires, but it`s for the working-
class people. That message was loud and clear, Reverend, in December, when
there was the deal to extend these two provisions, the UIB and payroll tax
in December. And now, the public has spoken. And they said we want to see
a continuance of these efforts.

SHARPTON: UIB, the unemployment insurance benefits. Secretary, stand
by one moment. I`d like to bring in Jared Bernstein, an MSNBC Contributor
and a former chief economist for vice president Biden. Jared, thanks for
coming on the show.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: My pleasure. Thanks for inviting
me.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you direct. Where would we be if both parties
were focused on turns this economy around rather than just focused on the
election?

BERNSTEIN: The president has proposed many more important jobs
measures than we`ve been able to implement. The American jobs act was
scored as creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. Now, even in the absence
of that act, there`s some momentum in the economy, as you just heard the
labor secretary say, and she`s exactly right. But we`re not done, by any
stretch of the imagination, and there are some down-side threats out there.
There`s Europe. There`s oil, and there`s the fading of some of this fiscal
stimulus. So it`s very important to try to do more to implement the kinds
of ideas that the president presented in the American jobs act.

SHARPTON: Now, secretary Solis, we still have to go back to the
congress. We have a two-month extension on the payroll tax cut, and on
unemployment insurance benefits.

SOLIS: Right.

SHARPTON: Will we see a spirit of cooperation in the Congress to
extend this for a year? Because we are hearing already today that there`s
some lack of cooperation despite the fact that we`re seeing manufacturing
jobs coming about, and that people still need the help as we see the
economy continue toward recoveries.

SOLIS: Well, all I can tell you is if we don`t extension the
unemployment insurance benefits, then you are going to see the unemployment
rate go in the opposite direction. Instead of going down, it will go up.
And we will actually put ourselves in that category that I don`t think any
of us want to go into.

We need to see a continued attempt to make sure that we repair the
economy by doing everything we can. We`ve even reformatted some of our own
programs in workforce training and are looking at ideas to help to create
new opportunities, even through the UI program, by incentivized people who
want to start up their own jobs by using that unemployment benefit to that.

We have a lot of great things that we haven`t even had a chance to
implement yet, because there have been road blocks by the congress, but the
public spoke, reverend. You know that.

SHARPTON: Right.

SOLIS: Right before Christmas, they said we want people to get
together. And the support out there that we saw was incredible, and people
called their Congress people and senators. Well, they need to do the same
thing again, to remind these members to do that.

SHARPTON: Jared, let me ask you this, though. Look at this graph.
The jobs are coming from the private sector, 1.9 million jobs. But the
public sector is down, 280,000, which is why we need the congress to
cooperate, because we are seeing the administration successful in getting
the private sector up. But the public sector, where a lot of people that
are working and need to work that live in these cities that are suffering,
working the public sector, that is actually, going down.

BERNSTEIN: Exactly. We`ve had month after month of private -- sorry
-- of public sector job loss. An, you know, I think these words public
sector sometimes are too broad. Let`s talk about the folks who actually
work in that sector. Police men and women, schoolteachers, sanitation
workers, I mean, these are the folks that really keep our communities
livable, keep them running. And you can -- you can cut all the public
schoolteachers you want, but watch your class sizes double and triple.

Now, states have to balance their budget. That`s the law. The
federal government obviously can run a budget deficit. Now, we want to
make sure that over the medium and long term that fiscal deficit begins to
come down, but right now to starve the states and to avoid -- and to not
provide them with the fiscal relief that could help, to pull back on the
very hurtful layoffs, is actually a big economic mistake.

SHARPTON: Alright. Hilda Solis, secretary of labor, and Jared
Bernstein, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

SOLIS: Thank you, reverend.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, we`ll kick off our special series "here are the
jobs," a campaign to put real people in touch with real jobs, right here on
the show.

But first, Rick Santorum is surging in new polls, mentioning me on the
stump, and saying we need a Jesus candidate. What? How would Jesus feel
about your extreme views?

Plus, Newt Gingrich is digging himself into a deeper hole. Now he`s
saying liberals hurt the poor. I`m responding.

And a big week for President Obama; why the choice has never been more
clear?

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on manage NBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The candidate who says child labor laws are stupid is snow
blaming liberal institutions for hurting the poor. What? You better
believe I`m responding, Newt. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." Just four days before
the next Republican primary, and Rick Santorum is trying to turn the race
upside down. His numbers are up in New Hampshire, where today he was met
by overflow crowds, and his supporters also up in South Carolina. That`s
where Willard Romney`s numbers climb to number one, with 37 percent.
Santorum has climbed 15 points, up to claim second place. But the rest of
the field is falling fast. Santorum is hoping to overtake Willard by
appealing to conservatives and evangelicals.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: I was on a radio show today in Boston. The guy asked a
question, he said don`t we need -- he said, we don`t need a Jesus
candidate, we need an economic candidate.

And my answer to that was -- we always need a Jesus candidate, someone
who believes in this. Right?

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You want to be the Jesus candidate with statements like
this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: I don`t want to make people`s lives better by giving them
somebody else`s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out earn
the money and provide for themselves and their families.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This racially charged rhetoric has become a growing theme
of the GOP. We talked yesterday about the growing outrage over race-
baiting comments that Newt Gingrich made.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: If the NAACP invites me, I`ll go to their convention and
talk about why the African-American community should demand paycheck and
not be satisfied with food stamps.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Today a reporter asked Newt if he was appealing to
prejudices and stereotypes. Here`s what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: If you in fact talk openly and honestly about the failure
of liberal institutions and the way they hurt the poor, there comes a
sudden frenzied heard of people screaming racism, racism. It`s a fact that
liberal institutions in the inner cities have failed the poor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Liberal institutions have failed the poor. Tell that to
the 40 million poor people who are able to put meals on the dinner table
thanks to food stamps, or 9 million people served by women, infant and
children food programs. Or the 900,000 poor kids enrolled in pre-school by
head start programs.

All of us want them to be able to earn a living by themselves. All of
us want them to have equal opportunity. That`s what we marched and fought
to. But it has been policies that have robbed them of that and caused them
inequality in the economy that makes a safety net necessary. And you want
to remove the safety net because the policies have not worked?

Let`s count who`s been in charge of the White House the last 20 years,
and we see that it was mostly people from your party, Newt, and Mr.
Santorum. These are the policies that made safety nets even more
necessary.

Doesn`t remove people`s ability to take care of their families and
then preach to them about they should do what they really want to do. Most
people don`t want help, they want to stand up. But they need help when
they`re not able to stand up.

Joining me now is Bob Franken, a king feature syndicated columnist and
Perry Bacon Jr. politics editor for the grio.com. Thank you both for being
here tonight.

Bob, this ugly rhetoric because again, all of us want Americans to
stand up but acting like blacks are the ones on food stamps when
numerically, that is clearly not true. I mean, why does rhetoric - is it
helping politicians?

BOB FRANKEN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, let me use the term
intentionally that you used last night and whether you meant it or not. I
do mean it when I say that this seems to be appeals to the extreme right
wing of the Republican party. That is to say that there continues to be
among many conservatives a real resentment against blacks. And this is a
way of pandering to that. In addition to which you then have Rick Santorum
representing the theocrats and the Republican party, which is also part of
the base, theocracy, of course, like perhaps the one in Iran, they would
like to see that created here. This is really an appeal to the base
instincts in the Republican party, and the base instincts of the Republican
base.

SHARPTON: Well, let me say this, Bob, to be clear. I said extreme
white branch of the party. I meant what I said. Somebody said it was a
gap. The gap was who thought t I didn`t mean what I said. I repeated it
last night that it was in line with the angry white male vote that we heard
before. It was in line with the distortion. So, clearly let me show you
some of the confusion on this rhetoric.

Rick Santorum mentioned a conversation he had with me last night. Let
me show you what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: I had this discussion with Al Sharpton the other day on
MSNBC, and I was talking about, you know, the family said, you know an
importance of the family and the importance of the two-apparently family.
He said what are you going to do with the federal government to make that
happen? I said that`s the difference between you and me, Al. You think
the federal government has to do everything. I don`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now Perry, before you, I respond, let me show you what he
and I talked about on that morning show that morning that he called a
discussion.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: I`m not saying we need federal system of education, in fact
just the opposite. Then I`m not saying we need federal programs
necessarily to --

SHARPTON: How do you do it?

SANTORUM: We need a president who can talk about those things.

SHARPTON: But when you get through talking, how do you do it if the
federal government is not going to do it? I might remind you you`re
running to be the head of the federal government. So, how are you against
something that you`re running to be in charge of? Isn`t that a little skit
so?

SANTORUM: That`s the difference between you and me, Al.

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So Perry, I realize that Mr. Santorum said, he said blah
people, not black people. Now, he said he and I were talking about family
and the federal government and he told me the difference between us was it
I wanted the federal government to do family. I just played the tape. We
were talking about education. And when I said to him what would you do in
education federal government is when he said everything doesn`t have to be
federal government. I said if you`re running to be the head of a federal
government, that a new skit so, he said that`s where the difference is
between you and I.

Does he have a problem of recall, or is he purposely trying to play
this irresponsible family synonymous with blacks, this whole race card
game? Because clearly what he told the people last night is not what he
and I discussed on "Morning Joe."

PERRY BACON JUNIOR, POLITICS EDITOR, GRIO.COM: It sounds like from
what both, he and speaker Gingrich, and their comments that, one, if you
listen to the records and their careers, they are interested in issues of
poverty, issues of race, issues like that.

I think that the problem is they don`t really know how to speak about
them. And that`s why he`s talking about food stamps as if blacks only get
food stamps. I think they don`t necessarily know how to talk about them or
really having like credibility on them. I think that`s the challenge right
now for both those men.

SHARPTON: But Bob, let me say this, and I want to get into the kind
of race that`s going on in newspaper New Hampshire, South Carolina. But,
wouldn`t it better if you`re running for president, even if ear going to
say that, because all of us wanted to see people provided with job. That
nobody can barely make it getting the welfare system or food stamps. They
act like that`s money that somebody can really use to get rich. It`s very
little money.

But, wouldn`t it be better if you were outlining and this is how I
would have provide jobs, this is how I would have people stand up? What`s
missing here is you attack poor people, but you don`t show how you`ll
provide the opportunities that you claim they need. How are you going to
that, isn`t it?

FRANKEN: Well, I hate to disagree with you, but I think that they
have outlined it. What they would happen is that the rich get richer. And
somehow that would help the poor. You see a tax plan by Mitt Romney, for
instance, which sees to it there`s a huge cut for people at the top of
things.

By the way, I also wanted to disagree with my friend Perry Bacon, when
he says they don`t know how to talk about race. Yes, they do. I think
this is very intentional, it is pandering, there`s sort of a wink/wink that
this base should be reminded that Barack Obama, president of the United
States is one of them, an African-American.

Yes, I think this is very intentional. I think it is part of a
hateful campaign that is being very methodically run in the hope it`s going
to appeal to voters who would love to see us return to the good old days of
Jim Crow.

SHARPTON: Well, let me show you had something, Perry. You`re a
little younger than Bob and I.

FRANKEN: How can you say that, Al?

(LAUGHTER)

SHARPTON: Ronald Reagan, he used to talk about the Chicago welfare
queen who said had 80 names, 36 addresses, 12 social security cards,
collective veteran benefits, getting food stamps, collecting welfare.
George Curry told me today, and I looked it up, the Washington star proved
the welfare queen was a myth 36 years ago, the person didn`t exist.

So this whole demonizing poor people, trying to make innocent voters
feel that they`re getting ripped off by the poor, not the corporate guys
that our getting, corporate bailouts, corporate welfare. Not the guys that
give in mock money senator Santorum took care of and people he looked out
for. But some fictitious welfare queen that did all of this, so now, we
are having a 21st century version of that.

BACON: My sense is, and I agree with Bob about what he said as well,
this is an attack on President Obama. That notion that you remember Romney
was saying the same thing too in some way is that Obama favors an
entitlement society. I favor an opportunity society. The notion they`re
trying to create to their audience is President Obama wants to lead a
different kind of America where everyone gets food stamps instead of
working for their ways. These are an attack on President Obama in a view
of him that I think doesn`t really reflect reality. That`s what they`re
trying to appeal to tea partiers who really hate Obama. And that`s the way
they are choosing to do that while by saying he wants to have an
alternative America almost.

SHARPTON: Yes. And they don`t mind polarizing and dividing and in
many ways trying to distort the image of people. Many white, mostly white
with food stamps at the - so they can try to win a political office.

But Bob, let`s go to the race a minute. This weekend, we have two
debates. And Newt Gingrich is on the attack. Today was slamming Romney
pretty hard. The latest New Hampshire poll, we have Romney at 40, Paul at
17, Santorum at 11, Gingrich down at nine, Huntsman at eight. What you do
you expect will happen this weekend? And how does Santorum or Gingrich try
to come up when they have at least credible numbers at the end of this?

FRANKEN: Well, I think they`ll trying to do is to rattle mitt
Romney`s cage. He`s probably get anger management sessions it`s going to
be interesting to watch all this. It looks like he in fact will meet
expectations in New Hampshire. Obviously he has to. If he does anything
but spectacularly in New Hampshire, he`s kind of lost.

So, really, what they really doing is aiming toward South Carolina
which is next on the line and where politics are really, really
conservative. It`s always interesting to me that they say that the South
Carolina has what`s called the low country. When it comes to the entire
state is a low country.

SHARPTON: Now Perry, it seems that the right-wing columnist with a
great amount of influence, probably the most amount of influence, George
Will and Charles Krauthammer, both seemed delight Santorum which is
interesting because they have been kind critical of the other candidates.
But when I read what they`re saying, he`s the first challenger to be
plausibly presidential knowledgeable, articulate, experienced, of stable
character and authentic ideology.

Will is saying who is more apt to energize them. Santorum, who is
from them, or Romney, who is desperately seeking enthusiasm? Are we seeing
the anointing of Santorum?

BACON: Maybe from George Will and Charles Krauthammer, I don`t think
for the rest of the Republican party that`s going to happen. Santorum is
not going to do that great in New Hampshire. I think what you`ll see in
this weekend in this debate is that Santorum is going to attack Mitt
Romney. Rick Perry is going to attack Santorum. Newt Gingrich will attack
Mitt Romney, too. I don`t think this is going to be a very complicated
weekend to figure out who is doing what for which reason. This race is
going to have a lot of counters left. This weekend can be a big moment I
think for what is going to unfold.

SHARPTON: Well, stay tuned because I`m - we`ll have some advice for
all of them as that state of myself.

Perry Bacon Jr. and Bob Franken, thanks. Have a great weekend.

FRANKEN: Thanks Al.

BACON: Thanks Al.

SHARPTON: And a quick programming notes. Stay with MSNBC for
"Hardball" tonight. Chris has a must-see interview with Newt Gingrich.
That`s tonight at 7:00.

Ahead, President Obama is starting the year off with a bang. Another
day, another big win for progressives. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The war on workers is reaching a fever pitch in Indiana.
Moments ago, the Indiana Senate Labor Committee voted to send the
controversial right to work bill to republican-led Senate. Look. This is
flat-out another war on workers. This bill reduces wages by 1500 a year,
it makes it less likely for employers, employees to get health care or
pensions, and it has no impact on job growth, but the fight is on.
Hundreds of protesters hit the streets today, a third straight day of
protest in Indianapolis and they`re getting a major player to back them up.
The NFL Players Association releasing a statement today saying, the
upcoming Super Bowl in Indianapolis should, quote, "highlight the hard-
working families that make Indiana run instead of launching political
attacks on their basic rights." I couldn`t agree more. We`ve seen the
progressive wave take over in Wisconsin and Ohio, and now it hit Indiana.
We won`t stop fighting.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Let`s be honest,
progressives have had a rocky relationship with this President. Look, I
haven`t always agreed with everything he`s done, but there`s a clear choice
in this country, and that clear choice is shaping up. It`s going to be him
or one of the six people still fighting to challenge him. And make no
mistake about it. He`s running as a progressive. Just look at the week
he`s just had. Today, he unveiled a plan that would ease green card
restrictions and reunite hundreds of thousands of people with their
families. Yesterday, he went to the Pentagon calling for dramatic defense
cuts that would save a trillion dollars in over ten years. And one of the
defining moments came this week, telling the GOP he won`t take "no" for an
answer, protecting Americans by appointing Richard Cordray, the chief
consumer watchdog. 2012 will be about a choice, and it`s pretty clear to
me whose side Americans should be on.

Joining me now, MSNBC analyst Richard Wolffe, he the author of
"Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside the Obama White House." And
Maria Teresa Kumar, executive director of Voto Latino, and an MSNBC
contributor. Richard, how good a week was this for the President?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC ANALYST: Well, you have to look at both sides
of the coin here. And for the President, he looked active, he looked like
he was being pragmatic and realistic, and he was taking his agenda forward.
When people said that he couldn`t do anything, the other side of the coin
is what we saw on the republican side. And it`s interesting seeing how his
opponents stack up against those measures. Because they don`t want to see
the consumer protection board comes into effect. They are very ready to go
into another war with Iran, on reading a very low level of provocation, and
so it also leads you to question whether or not they`re serious about
deficits. If you don`t want to touch deficits, defense budget, then what
are you talking about the deficits for? So, I think you put those two
together, and President who has defined things pretty well for himself.
Whether people hear it or not with all the noise going on about Iowa in New
Hampshire, I don`t know.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you what you think Maria Teresa, you like I
have had to deal with the progressive community with a lot of people that
have said a lot of things and even gotten angry with us, because we said,
let`s look at our choices.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO: Right.

SHARPTON: How much do some of things he`s doing now begin to make
some of the people that call themselves progressive or independent,
moderate, in the middle, begin understanding that it`s going to be one of
these six or President Obama -- does the President and maybe they`re giving
him too rough of a time?

KUMAR: I think that, you know, Reverend, you`ve said, you hit the
nail on the head, is that there`s a lot of policies that a lot of the
progressive movement have basically said, you know, we`re just not happy
with. We could point to that most recently over the -- unfortunately he
signed that Americans can be detained indefinitely. Progressives aren`t
going to like that. They could also cite the fact that unfortunately we`re
still having record foreclosures and he`s trying to provide relief and not
fasten it. But really, when you step back and you start hearing candidates
saying that the poor should work harder, that there should be food stamps,
that they should receive work instead of food stamps, you start realizing
not only the insensitivities, but also the basic contradiction between the
Republican Party -- family values and what it really means to be a family.

The fact that he appointed someone to go ahead and protect consumers.
It`s because we understand that there`s a lot of Americans out there.
Today is Friday, they`re cashing their check, and where are they going for
the most part? They`re going to payday lenders and these payday lenders
have been exploiting the American public unbelievably and the Republicans
keep saying, you know, what? It doesn`t matter. Let`s continue making
sure that they`re fat cat. They keep getting unregulated. And it`s these
examples that I think the President is really showing. I would caution him
though with the whole idea of cutting and trimming the military. He
definitely has to. There`s definitely fiscal responsibility to do so, but
he`s also going into an election year where all of a sudden, Syria, Iraq,
Iran, and North Korea can blow up at any moment. And that`s why I think he
went to the Pentagon to say, look, I`m tough, I`m the commander in chief, I
have to cuts into my belt, but this is how I need to move forward.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you something in terms of immigration.
Something you`re very active in that particular areas. Look at Willard`s
position on immigration and contrast that with the actions the president
has begun taking light today. Look at Willard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve got to stop illegal
immigration. That means turning off the magnets of amnesty, in-state
tuition for illegal aliens, employers that knowingly hire people that have
come here illegally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, if you look at the poll by pew Hispanic Center,
President Obama is being supported by 68 percent of his founding voters.
Willard by only 23. Is that because of the positions that the President is
taking?

KUMAR: Well, I think that most Latinos and most folks that are
actually battling immigration, un-recognize to this President, we`ve had
record deportations, and I think that the Obama campaign is finding is that
they`re going from state to state, they realize that they have an
enthusiasm gap among the Latino community and they need to do a quick fix.
So, I applaud the administration with making sure that they`re reunited
families not separating them, but I also think that they have to talk more
directly at the local level, dominate that media market at the local level
when you`re talking about immigration, when you`re talking about American
issues, whether it`s in North Carolina, whether it`s in Florida, Texas,
where are the Latino votes are going to make a difference, and talk about
health care jobs, but also the importance of recognizing these individual
are American and that the families are suffering as a result of the lack of
immigration reforms.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Richard. When you look at the
republican candidates, Gingrich, Huntsman, Paul, Perry, Romney, Santorum,
they all support tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, new tax cuts for
corporations, support ending Medicare, support cutting Social Security,
oppose the Buffett rule, yet they attack poor people. I`ve been around a
long time. I`ve never met anyone that said my ambition in life is to be on
food stamps, so my ambition in life is to be on welfare. I`m going to
really live a comfortable life, but that`s what they`re trying to project.
As this becomes clearer and clearer, don`t middle-class Americans that are
now struggling themselves begin looking at them and it begin to politically
backfire on them?

WOLFFE: Yes. I think what these candidates are doing very badly is
trying to get their arms around President Bush when he was a candidate
talked about compassionate conservatism. There`s no compassion in this
stuff. I mean, it`s just the hard talk of choosing people who are in the
worst possible situation and blaming them for their problems. That`s
actually what Bush ran against in 2000. When he said it was a different
kind of republican, that was exactly the different kind of sentiment from
people like Gingrich and Santorum that he was trying to say he was
different about. I don`t know that, you know, Republicans are very quick
to say Democrats are playing class warfare. That`s exactly what this is.
And the real target block for these politicians should be the middle class,
not people at the top or the bottom.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, that`s really a harsh statement Richard
just made, Maria. It`s one thing to tell people you`re not a Ronald
Reagan, but he`s saying they`re not even a George Bush.

KUMAR: And I think he`s absolutely right. And what`s interesting,
when you start talking about even class warfare, when you start looking at
the Iowa polls really closely and see who voted for Santorum and who voted
for Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney, who actually looks like the lead candidate
that are going to be the GOP nominee did well overwhelmingly over folks who
earned over $100,000. But again, in Iowa, he was completely out of touch,
now imagine if he is the GOP nominee and he`s going to talk about the idea
of not having resources and then being poor in America. No one is going to
be able to identify and for the most part, when you have one out of two
Americans living in poverty now. So, I think it`s a recognition that
they`re completely out of touch, the measures that the Obama administration
are putting forth, they`re coming down slowly, but the fact that again, he
saw a climb in the 200,000 jobs in December, that`s giving people
motivation that, you know, that the sun is rising, that there`s hope on the
horizon, and the Republicans are going to have to change their tune.

SHARPTON: Richard Wolffe, Maria Teresa Kumar, thank you both.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.

KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, get ready for some fireworks. Two huge debates this
weekend. Not so long ago it was me on that stage. My survival tips for
Willard and the rest of them are coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: No question about it, the job number today is something to
smile about, but there is still 13 million people who can`t find a job.
We`re taking action to help them tonight. Our series, "Here are the jobs"
kicks off next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. The new jobs numbers are
cause for celebration? Yes. But there`s still a long way to go. Thirteen
million people are looking for a job and can`t find one. Even though there
are at least three million openings right now that employees -- employers
can`t fill. Think about it. Thirteen million people looking, yet there
are three million openings. Why? Well, many unfilled jobs require special
training, like jobs and health care, engineering, and information
technology. Geography also plays a role, and in some cases, the
information just isn`t get out there.

We here at POLITICS NATION want to try to do something about that.
We`re starting a new series. Here are the jobs. The gold is simple -- get
Americans back to work. We`ll feature companies hiring right now and make
sure people know exactly how to apply. We hope to spread the word and help
some people find work. And we kick it off with a Massachusetts-based
company Agero (ph) which provides auto companies roadside assistance
programs. Agero has offices all over the world. More than 75 million
customers, 2500 employees, and now they`re expanding, adding hundreds of
new jobs.

Joining me now, Sandy Justice-Savage, vice president of Human
Resources at Agero. A-gee-ro, I think is the right way, A-gee-ro. Thank
you for your time tonight. Now, is Agero, because we`ve been arguing
about, it`s Agero, right Sandy?

SANDY JUSTICE-SAVAGE, VP OF HUMAN RESOURCES, AGERO: It is Agero,
right. You have it correct now.

SHARPTON: All right. I won the argument this time.

SAVAGE: OK.

SHARPTON: What kind of jobs do you have available?

SAVAGE: Thanks, Al for having us on tonight. You know, Agero is a
fast-growing company, we have been in business for over 40 years, we have
offices in Florida, Texas, Arizona, Ontario, and we have over 2,300
employees. And we continue to grow. So, we`re looking to open a new call
center. We haven`t decided on our selection yet. We are doing a job fair
next week in Florence, South Carolina, and the following week we`ll be in
Clarksville, Tennessee. So, we`re looking for 500 call center agents,
which we actually call our heroes.

SHARPTON: Looking for 500 call center agents.

SAVAGE: Five hundred.

SHARPTON: And what is the salary range?

SAVAGE: Well, we offer competitive wages. And, you know, it will be
starting wage of about $10, plus we pay for a experience and we also pay
bonuses.

SHARPTON: And what are the qualifications?

SAVAGE: Well, we look for people who have customer service
experience, people who have empathy while they`re talking to those who have
broken down on the side of the road. High School education and some
computer skills. And we`ll do the training and we offer four weeks of
training, they`re getting paid while they`re in the training program and we
provide all the programs and once they`ve graduated from our training
program, we move them on to the flour, so they can start taking calls.

SHARPTON: Where are these jobs? Where are these jobs?

SAVAGE: Well, right now we`re looking to make a final site selection
either in Florence, South Carolina or Clarksville, Tennessee. But we`re
also, we have job opening in all of our locations.

SHARPTON: Really, so, how do, if I`m sitting there now needing a job
and maybe interested, how do I apply?

SAVAGE: You go to www.agero.com and you look at our job opportunities
and we`ve list them for every office that we have across the United States
and Ontario.

SHARPTON: All right. Go ahead.

SAVAGE: And if you`re in Florence, South Carolina or Clarksville,
Tennessee, we`ll be happy to receive your resume and once we make a
selection, we`ll get back to people.

SHARPTON: Well, we`re going to stay in touch and we`ll going to
follow this up. Thank you Sandy Savage from Agero, one day, there are
still problems, they are going to listen to me, I know how to say it right.

SAVAGE: You got it. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Tonight. We`ll going to keep checking back with you.
Thank you for your time tonight. To find out more about jobs in Agero and
to earn more about our series, "Here are the jobs." Check out our Web
site. Politicsnation.msnbc.com.

And if you`re hiring, drop us a line on our Website. We`ll be right
back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We wrap up tonight with a special New Hampshire edition of
Reverend Al`s debate tips. This weekend, the republican presidential
candidates will have not one, but two separate debates. What do the
candidates need to do? Well, Rick Santorum needs to punch and punch hard.
But look presidential while doing it. He`s got to finesse it, and it won`t
be easy. Newt Gingrich, he has nothing to lose. He`s lost already. If
vengeance is what you want, you better get it this weekend.

Back in 2004 campaign, I went after fellow Democrats when I felt it
was called for.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s better to be a new democrat that`s a real democrat
than a lot of old Democrats up here that have been acting like Republicans
all along. We need to win by not imitating our position, but by standing
up being real Democrats. And I`m the one that can mobilize and energize
that that kind of movement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: As for Jon Huntsman. It`s all or nothing for him in New
Hampshire. If he has any special policy tricks, but he has to stick to his
guns, even if his views hurt him with the far right base. Ron Paul simply
needs to drive his message. Just keep driving your message, you`re not in
to win. Drive your message. You have a lot of people watching to hear you
this weekend. And Willard, Romney just needs to start running all night.
Run all night like a boxer. He needs to dance around the ring and not get
knocked out. One more thing. Whatever you do, try not to lose sight of
your ultimate goal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: While we go to the debates and we should show our
differences, rather than trying to pin the donkey on each other, we ought
to slap the donkey and get it ready to defeat George Bush next November.
Nobody fights with Dean more than I do. Nobody fights with Gephardt more
than I do, but all of them in their worst night`s sleep is better than
George Bush.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Don`t attack each other. That wasn`t for you guys. I want
you to attack. That`s one piece of advice, I don`t want you to take. And
I`ll bet you won`t. I`ll be here Monday night to give a blow by blow.

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

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