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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, January 11, 2012

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Guests: David Corn, Jim Clyburn, Michelle Cottle, Chad Connelly, Dick Harpootlian, Melissa Harris-Perry, Andrea Hough

AL SHARPTON, HOST: Republicans 2012, the politics of the 1 percent.
Tonight, Willard`s new talking point is the politics of envy. But I think
the only envy out there is his for President Obama`s job.

And Ron Paul has been getting a free pass on his ugly, offensive
views. Tonight, that free pass ends.

And dropping the Bain bomb. Newt`s supporters release the full movie
savaging Romney`s record as a job-killer at Bain Capital. These
Republicans really don`t like each other.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Worried that we weren`t going to have a job.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I stress about that all the time because I never
knew if I was going to have a job when I came in the next day.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney and Bain`s cash rampage would ultimately
slash jobs in nearly every state in the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton. Tonight`s
lead, the GOP candidates are going South. In more ways than one. The GOP
hopefuls are racing around South Carolina. We`ll see if the Bain bomb will
finally blow up in Willard`s face.

Ron Paul is trying to roll back 100 years of progress. You better
believe he`s going under the "Sharpton Microscope" tonight.

But let`s begin with what`s up in what is going to be the battle of
the 2012 race. On one side you have a president that`s fighting for
fairness. On the other side, the Republican front-runner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama wants to put
free enterprise on trial. And in the last few days, we`ve seen some
desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake for our
party and for our nation. The country already has a leader who divides us
with the bitter politics of envy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Politics of envy? Willard, there isn`t envy in this
country. There`s a divide. This is a country where the bottom 20 percent
has seen their income remain stagnant while the top has seen theirs
skyrocket.

Romney is absolutely tone deaf. This is his battle cry heading into
South Carolina, a state with unemployment nearly 10 percent? A state where
nearly one in every five people live in poverty? And he`s not apologizing.
He`s doubling down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: In the general election, I`ll be pointing out that the
president took the reins of General Motors and Chrysler, closed factories,
closed dealerships, laid off thousands and thousands of workers. He did it
to try and save the business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: In quiet rooms, that`s what he said, we should only talk
about this divide, this class warfare in quiet rooms. Maybe you mean
corporate boardrooms. No, Willard. We`re going to talk about this right
here, right now. And so is the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And that`s part of the
responsibility that comes with being a leader in America. A responsibility
not just to the shareholders or the stakeholders but to the country that
made all this incredible wealth and opportunity possible, because the more
Americans who succeed, the more America succeeds.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman Jim Clyburn, Democrat from
South Carolina and assistant Democratic leader.

Congressman Clyburn, thank you for coming on the show tonight and
Happy New Year.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D-SC), ASSISTANT DEMOCRATIC LEADER: Same to you,
Reverend Al. Thank you so much for having me.

SHARPTON: Now, Mr. Romney has said that he thinks that we are in
dealing with the politics of envy. When I heard him say that last night I
almost fell off the chair here in the studio because I don`t know anyone
that is fighting to close the gap, close the tax loopholes, protect Social
Security and Medicaid and Medicare.

I don`t know any of them that are jealous of those that are rich.
We`re saying, have a fair and even playing field. I mean, Romney has
three, four, five mansions. No one begrudges him having that. But why put
us in the position where we can`t pay the bill in working class people`s
homes?

CLYBURN: Well, you know, I heard that last night myself, and I`ve
been hearing the sound bites all day today. I think it`s a shame that
people will be so sophomoric about the questioning of activities with
wealth development.

I have no problem with Mitt Romney or anybody else making millions or
even billions. What my problem is, is that if you question things done in
the name of capitalism, then he calls it being envious.

I don`t think anybody was envious or fearful of being envious when
they failed to question what Bernard Madoff was doing. He did all of that
in the name of capitalism. We can question what people are doing and the
way they do it and to make sure that people adhere to fair play.

This whole issue is about fundamental fairness. Is it fair to go in
and invest $30 million, take $160 million out, bankrupt the company, and
put 160 people out of work? Where is the fairness there?

SHARPTON: Right.

CLYBURN: Now they all went to the bank making millions of dollars,
and the people who are working in the industry went to the unemployment
line. I think we have a right to question that sort of thing. And I
understand in The Wall Journal Article.

SHARPTON: And to act as though the.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: And to act as though the people that went to the
unemployment line were just jealous of those that bought the company and
forced them out is absurd. But let me show you this. When confronted on
the "Today" show, Congressman Clyburn, this morning about this, let me show
you what his response was.

This is Willard Romney this morning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I think it`s about envy. I think it`s about class warfare.

MATT LAUER, HOST, "TODAY": Are there no fair questions about the
distribution of wealth, without it being seen as envy, though?

ROMNEY: You know, I think it`s fine to talk about those things in
quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like, but the
president has made this part of his campaign rally. Everywhere we go -- or
he goes, we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and
executives and Wall Street. It`s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented
approach, and I think it will fail.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So we should talk about it in quiet rooms like where? And
we should not have this in the campaign. If the nation bailed out major
banks, major insurance companies, we`re going to talk about that. And if
we talk about it, we`re jealous.

If people are dealing with unemployment at record numbers, you`re a
congressman from South Carolina. Almost 10 percent unemployment. If they
complain outside of a quiet room, they are just envious. I mean, this is
insulting, Congressman.

CLYBURN: It is very insulting. And am I to understand that people
who are asking that unemployment compensation be paid when they are out of
work, through no fault of their own, that they are being envious when they
question whether or not this should take place? When people are asking to
receive the same kind of tax considerations that the wealthy are getting?
Are they being envious?

They are just saying that if I make a fair salary, I should pay fair
taxes. They don`t believe it`s fair to be having a tax plan that will add
taxes to those people who are making under $40,000 a year and giving a
$300,000 tax break to someone who is making a million dollars a year.

That`s not envy. That is fundamental fairness, and I do believe for
Mitt Romney to be using that kind of intimidation tactics, that`s all it
is. They are trying to intimidate you and me to make sure we don`t discuss
these kinds of things.

But I`m not going to be intimidated. This is South Carolina. He had
better get ready for it because we are here to question his motives and his
actions.

SHARPTON: Well, I agree with you, and it is not envy. It`s injury.
That`s what it is. Congressman, stand by one second. I want to bring in
David Corn, MSNBC political analyst and Washington bureau chief for Mother
Jones.

David, thank you for joining us.

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Tell me, David, as Mr. Romney, when you look at the fact
that Citizens for Tax Justice says his tax plan is a complete handout to
the top 1 percent, while the poorest suffer, the bottom 20 percent would
only get a 1 percent tax cut while the top 1 percent would get a 38 percent
tax cut. That`s the analysis on the Citizens for Tax Justice.

Is that why Mr. Willard wants us to only talk about this in quiet
rooms, maybe so we`re so quiet no one knows what he`s really proposing?

CORN: Well, you know, this is an old and classic tactic that we`ve
seen from conservatives and people in the business community for decades.
I think actually the notion, the term "politics of envy" was coined by
Marie Antoinette. The "politiques du envy (ph)," or something like that
years ago.

Any time you start talking about these issues, they come in and they
say it`s class warfare, you are dividing us, and you are looking down at
American values of free enterprise. There`s a word that`s missing from
this debate that is actually a conservative word that conservatives often
try to embrace.

And that is the word "responsibility." Let`s just go back a couple of
years, back to 2006 or `07 or 2008. Who was responsible for the economic
crash that hit this country?

SHARPTON: Right.

CORN: It was Wall Street going wild in subprime mortgage lending that
was irresponsible and slicing and dicing, doing this in a musical chairs
fashion like -- run by pirates, to mix a metaphor, to basically line their
own pockets.

And they had everybody else in this country held hostage to their
machinations. And so when it all goes down, and we lose 8 million, 9
million, 10 million jobs because of this, because of the credit crunch that
follows, then they come around and say, wait a second, you want to talk
about Dodd-Frank, you want to talk about Wall Street people getting away?
Well, that`s just damn envious of you.

I think it`s a bad set-up for them. In the past, though, trying play
this line with American voters has often worked, going back to calling
people reds and anarchists 100 years ago.

So I think they`ve probably focus-grouped this and have poll-tested
this line of attack, and it will be up to Democrats and others not to let
them get away with it this time.

SHARPTON: But, Congressman Clyburn, they are going to have a problem
this time because this is not just one segment of society. Because of what
they did to the economy, because of what President Obama inherited, let me
show you this graph of how Americans across party lines feels about whether
or not there`s a class conflict between the rich and poor in this country.

Pew Research poll raised the question, is there class conflict between
rich and poor? Fifty-five percent of Republicans said yes, 68 percent of
independents, 73 percent of Democrats. The majority of their own party is
saying there`s a class conflict.

This is not about envy. People are not silly. When they understand
that they are not living in a way that is secure, they kind of understand
that there is a question of fairness. They`re not jealous of anybody,
Congressman.

CLYBURN: You are absolutely right. People know if you are making
your money off of your parents` income or whatever they may have left you,
you pay 18 percent on that. If you make your money going to work every
day, trying to make ends meet for your children, you are paying 28 and 29
percent taxes.

People know that that is unfair to work every day in hard labor and
then have to pay 29 percent of your income in taxes. And if you earned
your money off interest that you have inherited, you only pay 18 percent.
Something is wrong with that.

And we see instances -- I was on the super committee. And we saw all
the loopholes there inspect and all those loopholes, some people paying
zero in taxes. That`s why when you hear all this stuff about we want a
flat tax and the flatter tax, you ask them why don`t you apply to all
income, rather than earned income?

And so that`s the kind of unfairness that`s in our tax system. People
now know it. They`re now talking about it. And you and I are going to
make sure that they never -- it never leaves their mind as we go out and
try to select the next president of the United States.

SHARPTON: Well, you and I are together on that.

David, let me ask you something. The politics of this is what? Who
are they trying to hope to energize with this? And will they inadvertently
energize those that maybe were kind of apathetic and say, wait a minute, I
had better get out here because these guys are too extreme?

CORN: Well, I think when Mitt Romney says things like, we should only
discuss this in a quiet room, it comes pretty close to saying, let them eat
cake. Maybe there`s cake in that quiet room. I don`t know what they serve
there. I`ve never been in that quiet room.

But that is not enough of a gaffe to, I think, do him in, but it shows
that he has the propensity to talk about this in a way that can be really
awkward and that may trip him up down the road.

When they use this language, politics of division and envy, what they
are really doing is to try to divide people up, and say, listen, do you
want to be with those grubbing folks out there who want to take from us
rather than work for themselves? It`s a lot of coded language meaning
welfare recipients and those lazy slackers.

And so the people if, you are in the middle class, who may not be as
hard-working as you, and who are trying to leapfrog over you and just grab
it from us. So they are trying to take people out there who might be
feeling anxiety, economic stress, and saying, you know, we have more in
common than you do with others who are clamoring for our millions.

And as I`ve said in the past, historically, by raising the notion that
this is a foreign idea, how many -- here`s a little quiz, if you haven`t
done this already on the show. How many times last night did Mitt Romney
say the word "Europe"? Three times. How many times did he say the word
"jobs"? Just once.

So this whole notion of "politics of envy" is also coming from a
president who is more European, who doesn`t understand American values. So
it`s all about wrapping this together into something that is un-American.

SHARPTON: Congressman Clyburn and David Corn, thank you both for
joining me tonight.

CORN: Thanks.

CLYBURN: Thank you so much for having us.

SHARPTON: Ahead, it`s the story ripping the Republican Party apart.
The Bain bomb drops, and now they are taking sides. You know it`s bad when
Senator DeMint, Rush, and Hannity are sticking up for Willard.

And, I think Ron Paul is getting a free pass. I`m talking about civil
rights. The free pass stops here tonight. You`re watching POLITICS NATION
on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Candidates are in South
Carolina, but the topic is the Bain bomb. A pro-Gingrich super PAC
unleashed a 28-minute film that hammers Romney`s job-killing record at Bain
Capital. It`s chock full of everyday Americans talking about how Romney`s
company ruined their lives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No matter how much they already had, they just
couldn`t ever get enough money.

ROMNEY: For an economy to thrive, there are a lot of people who will
suffer as a result of that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He destroyed a lot of people`s lives out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain reaped millions from companies that sent jobs
overseas, closed factories, or plunged into bankruptcy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s what they do. Is it right? No. But
it`s the way it`s done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mitt Romney is doing everything he can to deflect the line
of attack, even accusing his rivals of helping President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: It`s something we expected to come from President Obama, but
we didn`t expect that Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry would become the
witnesses for his prosecution, if you will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Michelle Cottle, reporter for The Daily
Beast.

Michelle, thank you for joining me tonight.

MICHELLE COTTLE, REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST: It`s my pleasure.

SHARPTON: Now how much will these Bain attacks hurt Romney in South
Carolina and beyond?

COTTLE: Well, look, South Carolina voters have a high tolerance for
negative ads. So whereas maybe these ads would backlash against Gingrich
in Iowa, you know, South Carolina voters expect them to mix it up.

You know, that said, I think you do have to kind of look at whether or
not people are going to look at these and buy into the whole class warfare
business. The Republican Party has always been the party that says class
warfare is terrible. So, you know, Romney will benefit to a certain extent
from that.

Now the interesting thing is what it`s doing to kind of the major
players themselves and the party has some fissures coming up in the
establishment where you have the financial fiscal conservatives really kind
of ticked off about some of this stuff. You are seeing some interesting
riffs coming up among the elites.

SHARPTON: Now let me show you where they began circling the wagons
today, some of the major talk show, radio people, and even Jim DeMint. Let
me show you this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, HOST, "HANNITY": They say they are vultures and they
are unethical. I mean, that`s about as severe a charge as you can make.
And, frankly, you`re right, it`s one that I would expect from Barack Obama.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, HOST, "THE RUSH LIMBAUGH SHOW": Newt and Perry blew it
the last two days. I don`t care what you think, folks. The attacks that
they mounted on Romney are not defensible. You just can`t put your name to
them.

SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: And I certainly don`t like to
hear Republicans criticizing one of our own and sounding like Democrats.
It really worries me when some Republicans start sounding like Democrats.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No, I mean, it seems, Michelle, like they are really
screeching there. You know, since we are headed to South Carolina, I am
from Brooklyn, my mother is from Alabama, she used to tell me if you throw
a brick in a pile of hogs, because I didn`t know anything about hogs, she
said, the one that hollers is the one you hit.

Everybody is hollering, so I guess this is hitting somebody.

COTTLE: Look, the Republican Party has long held this very uneasy
coalition between kind of the wealthy interests who like low taxes and kind
of the more populist interests who, you know, don`t like the idea of big
government but are also interested in more social issues.

And this is one of those fault lines that the Bain ads and Mitt Romney
just make really difficult to kind of hold everything together. Mitt
Romney looks like the ultimate rich Republican kind of corporate raider,
whether he sees himself like that or whether these ads stick.

I mean, he does have kind of an image problem that the party is not
eager for Newt Gingrich to point out or anybody else because it kind of
threatens this long-standing coalition they`ve used to hold power.

SHARPTON: Well, Michelle, thank you for your time tonight. Sorry I
couldn`t find a quiet room to talk about this.

COTTLE: It is a shame. Maybe next time.

SHARPTON: Maybe.

Ahead, Willard`s touting things and Ron Paul`s ugly talk. We`re going
to examine it here. All here tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. It`s do or die time in
the GOP race. And despite a rough night for some last night, they are all
heading to South Carolina where every republican primary winner has gone on
to win the nomination since 1980. The latest poll has Willard clearly in
front. Eighteen points ahead of Rick Santorum. But they are all gearing
up to take down Willard, and he knows it`s coming. He`s already getting
ripped for his not so conservative stances in the past. This Gingrich ad
dropped today in South Carolina.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Romney appointed a pro-abortion judge, expanded
access to abortion pills, put Planned Parenthood on a state medical board
but failed to put a pro-life group on the same board. And Romney signed
government mandated health care with taxpayer funded abortions.
Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney, he can`t be trusted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He can`t be trusted? The question is, will South Carolina
voters trust him enough to send him on the way to the GOP nomination?

Joining me now is Chad Connelly, chairman of the South Carolina
Republican Party. First, Mr. Connelly, thank you for being here tonight.

CHAD CONNELLY, SOUTH CAROLINA GOP CHAIRMAN: How are you doing, sir?
I`ll tell you, Mr. Sharpton. I`m impressed. I knew that a lot of the
talking heads nationwide had my talking points, but for you to have them,
I`m especially impressed.

SHARPTON: We do a little research here, you know? But let me ask you
this Mr. Connelly. First of all, you are neutral in the race as chairman
of the party. So I`m asking you this from that position. Can Willard be
taken down in your opinion in South Carolina, or is this a foregone
conclusion?

CONNELLY: I don`t think there are any foregone conclusions. South
Carolina has got a rich history. Thirty years of picking the nominee. And
look, there are ten days to go. We`re the center of the political
universe. Everybody is watching. Like I mentioned, you and everybody else
on television, on every network is talking about South Carolina. And the
important role that we play. And so this is going to be determined by the
candidate that gets out there, meets our people, connects with them and
makes the most -- and creates the most buzz in the next ten days. That`s
going to tell the tale.

SHARPTON: Mr. Connelly, let me show you this graph about South
Carolina.

CONNELLY: OK.

SHARPTON: It`s a little different than Iowa and New Hampshire. In
fact, very different. Sixty eight percent of it is conservative. This is
how they label themselves. Sixty percent evangelical. Ninety six percent
white. Seventy two percent earn $50,000 or more. Twenty five percent
military veterans. These, of course, are the Republicans in South
Carolina. And South Carolina in general has twice more unemployment than
Iowa or New Hampshire. So could a more grassroot kind of guy with a
different image appeal to a different voter here that may not have worked
in New Hampshire or Iowa?

CONNELLY: Yes, sir. This is a totally different electorate, I think.
South Carolina is a carve out early state in the RNC`s session because we
do have a blend of the republican base that`s different. We have the
conservative fiscal conservative side. We`ve got the social conservatives
and of course the military conservatives, like you mentioned. And so our
blend brings in a little bit of a different mix than you see in the other
early states. And I really think, quite frankly, that`s one of the reasons
that we`ve been so successful in picking the eventual nominee.

SHARPTON: Now "The Washington Post" today said that there are
conservatives scrambling to get rid of Romney, and they`re saying he`s not
conservative enough. The subject of consolidating conservative opposition
to the former Massachusetts governor is expected to be a major point of
discussion among 500 attendees at a Tea Party convention set this weekend
in Myrtle Beach. They are meeting in Myrtle Beach, a very beautiful part
of your state. How strong is the Tea Party element in your party in the
state, Mr. Chairman?

CONNELLY: I got to tell you, Mr. Sharpton. You`ve even promoted
Myrtle Beach for me. Thank you, sir. You know, the Tea Party element is
strong here. You know, when you look around South Carolina, the Tea Party
has really folded into the party in some places. In fact, they`ve even
worked themselves into the leadership in several of the counties and the
GOP leadership. So they are very influential. You know, people say they
are fractured. But I don`t see that. I`ve got friends who are
quote/unquote establishment Republicans in every one of these six camps.
I`ve got friends who are Tea Party Republicans in every one of the six
camps. I don`t think that`s unusual for a primary fight at all.

SHARPTON: Now, Rick Perry, does he have a chance? He did very poorly
in New Hampshire. Didn`t do that impressive in Iowa. Is really do or die
for him in South Carolina. Does he have a chance? Is there a potential
constituency for him there, or does he get ready to go home?

CONNELLY: Well, I think that this is a place that Governor Perry is
really well received. There`s no question about it. But I honestly think
this is do or die for anybody. You know, for 30 years, we picked the
eventual nominee. So whoever wants to win this thing has got to win it
here. They have to get out and meet our voters and they got to connect
with them and make their story meaningful and real to all the electorate.

SHARPTON: Well, Chad Connelly, thank you for your time. And see, we
didn`t fight tonight. But when you come back, I`ve got a few rough ones
for you. I`m just trying to get a handicap on the race tonight. You come
back now, you hear?

CONNELLY: Have a great night. Glad to be here.

SHARPTON: Ron Paul surging on his anti-war message. And has the
beltway media been paying attention to him? But the dark truth that they
won`t pay attention to about his views on America that is offensive and
very ugly. My commentary is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We have some good news to report. Our here are the job
series to get Americans working is off to a great start. We`ve been
flooded with calls and e-mails. And we`re reporting real progress. And
featuring 700 new jobs tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: A lot of the talk about Ron Paul has missed the mark, and
managed to obscure his offensive views. In the name of state`s rights,
Paul has attacked the civil rights act of 1964 which made discrimination
illegal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN ANCHOR: Do you think country would have been
better off in terms of race relations without the civil rights act of 1964?

RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, if you try to improve
relationships by forcing and telling people what they can`t do and you
ignore and undermine the principles of liberty, then the government can
come into our bedrooms.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But now his state`s rights agenda has gone mainstream with
republican candidates talking about the tenth amendment, state`s rights.

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve got a great
union. There`s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington
continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may
come out of that.

We`ve got to have somebody that understands what the tenth amendment
means. And that means these states or compete against each other and that
Washington D.C. needs to be limited.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: A campaign for returning
power to the states through the tenth amendment.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like the tenth amendment
in particular.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But let`s not forget this state`s rights ideology has a
long and ugly history. Especially in the South. And especially in the
side of the next primary, South Carolina. Slave owners used state`s rights
as a rallying cry when confederate troops fired on Ft. Sumter to start the
civil war. Strom Thurmond ran for president in 1948 as a member of the
state`s rights party supporting segregation. And now, South Carolina
officials say they are suing the federal government to defend their
discriminatory voter ID law. A move right in line with this state`s right
tradition.

Joining me now is Dick Harpootlian, South Carolina Democratic Party
chair and MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Perry, a professor of political
Science at Tulane. And columnist for "The Nation," soon to be host of a
show at MSNBC going from contributor to host. Thanks to both of you for
joining me tonight. Let me go to you, Dick, first. Is it a coincidence
that this state`s rights issue is so big now right before the South
Carolina GOP primary?

DICK HARPOOTLIAN, S.C. DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: No, I think that
the South Carolina GOP primary typifies all -- you are going to hear all
the issues that are going to horrify the rest of the country. That`s what
so great about it. You can`t come down here and talk to the Republicans
without talking about state`s rights. Rick Santorum was in Greenville last
weekend and he told a crowd up there, this is the most important election
this country has faced since 1860. Now 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected
and signed the emancipation proclamation. I don`t know, Rick. You know it
may be an important election, but, really? Abraham Lincoln`s election?
The most important one since then? And you hear Mitt Romney, all these
folks very subtly infusing race. And by the way, the Republicans have
scheduled their big debate for Monday, Martin Luther King Day, without any
regard whatsoever to the civil rights issues that this state has faced.
These are the same Republicans, by the way.

SHARPTON: They are having their debate Monday, Martin Luther King
Day.

HARPOOTLIAN: Yes.

SHARPTON: Now let me, Melissa, so you know that Dick is not being
partisan. Let me show you what both Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Santorum said
about 1860, the year Abe Lincoln ran for president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: This is a very important time for America. This may be the
most important election since 1860.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s up to you that the
most critical election in the history -- well, maybe since the election of
1860 but certainly in your lifetime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now why would they go back to 1860? We`re in economic
times. They didn`t go back to 1932 when Roosevelt had to come out of the
depression.

HARPOOTLIAN: Right.

SHARPTON: Why 1860? Especially headed into South Carolina where
their first South Carolina debate is on Martin Luther King`s birthday, a
day that as a federal holiday that Ron Paul voted against.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think there`s lots
of things they like about 1860. Obviously, part of it is a clear kind of
racial discourse. This is about state`s rights and state`s rights now are
all kind of different discriminatory possibilities. One is certainly about
African-Americans, about voting rights. But the other piece of it has been
this profound anti-immigration legislation the states have passed. These
issues around marriage equality. State`s rights becomes a cover for
talking about the ability to remove the rights of some American citizens
because those citizen rights exist in the states, rather than as national
rights. Something we keep getting reminded of in every tenth amendment
conversation. But I think they also like 1860 because, remember that back
then it was the Republican Party who were the champions of the union.

SHARPTON: Yes.

PERRY: I mean, for so many years, the south was a solid democratic
space because our good friend Abraham Lincoln was a republican. So they
can say.

SHARPTON: And Frederick Douglass and others.

PERRY: That`s right. The 1960s or the 1980s, then it is the new-
fangled Republican Party. But if they go back to the 1860s, they can lay
claim to the segregationist past but claim that they were, of course, above
the fray.

SHARPTON: Well, but, Dick, let me ask you this. When you look at the
fact, and I like a lot of Ron Paul`s anti-war stuff, but what has drove me
a little -- gotten me a little annoyed is how people are trying to act like
because he`s right on the war we ought to forget about states` rights and
forget about what he`s saying about Israel and a lot of other things. And
I think that it is dangerous for us to allow this kind of precedent to be
set. And you are there as chair of the Democratic Party fighting, voter ID
laws. Let`s show what will affect in your states of the voter ID laws in
South Carolina affects 239,000 voters, hitting black precincts in the state
the hardest, according to the advancement project. This is serious. This
is not just rhetoric. They are, in fact, enacting laws that could really
impact upon people in your state, particularly black people in your state.

HARPOOTLIAN: There`s no question. Al, the focus here was not to come
up with programs or to come up with positions that would entice African-
Americans to vote for Republicans. They simply decided to not let them
vote. This is Jim Crow, this is where we`re going backwards in this state,
not forwards. And that`s because of Nikki Haley and the Tea Party folks
that don`t want to try to convince folks of color to vote for their
candidates. I want to make one other point here. Where`s Mitt Romney on
all of this, the Gordon Gekko of the 21st century, greed is good. Where is
he? What`s his position on returning to the election of 1860? Where is he
on voter ID? Where is he on these racial issues?

Because when he was governor of Massachusetts, he was very liberal on
all these issues. Especially states` rights. And now he`s very silent.
So, I think it`s important to note that when he had a chance to speak up,
no, I don`t want to have a debate on Martin Luther King`s birthday. That`s
a day we need to celebrate a great American leader. You know, I don`t
think 1860 is the most important election. Where is he? He`s quiet. He`s
a meek, meek man about these issues because he`s always concerned about
winning, not moving this country forward.

SHARPTON: Now, Melissa, I am sure some of our twitter -- twitter
folks are tweeting, oh, there goes Sharpton bringing up race. Well, let me
show you who brought up race in this campaign. Mr. Santorum and Mr.
Gingrich. Watch this. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, let me get this right. We`re supposed to hear him
directly say, Newt Gingrich, why African-Americans, like we`re the majority
of the people getting food stamps, what he would say to us. Mr. Santorum
talking about blah people that clearly don`t exist and he went on without
skipping a beat continuing the sentence so it doesn`t sound like a stutter
to me. We can hear people talk about 1860. We hear people using voter ID
that disproportionately affect our voters but we`re not supposed to say
anything otherwise we`re playing the race card. They can say whatever they
want to say.

PERRY: Look, we could just play the historical accuracy card. No
need to play the race card. So, let`s take for example, Newt Gingrich`s
statement about paychecks versus food stamps. Well, when he was Speaker of
the House, he made an alliance with the Clinton administration that assured
that African-American, White, Latino, basically poor people in this
country, particularly poor women with young children would not have access
to many of these social safety net programs like aid to family with
dependent children and welfare. He already took care of that. Let`s go to
historical accuracy on states` rights.

States` rights wasn`t just an idea. States` rights was always at its
core about slavery. It was about how to keep the union together, despite
the fact that some states would be free states and others would be slave
states. So, if they don`t want to talk about race, first of all, they
ought to not bring up the blah people, they are not to assume the people at
the NAACP convention who are really quite middle class or at all in food
stamps and certainly, certainly, if they want to play this 1860 race cards,
we`re going to correct them on the accurate history.

SHARPTON: Dick Harpootlian and Melissa, thank you both for joining
me. Dick, don`t worry, I read somebody say, I have a dream about a
governors who lips-drips with words of interposition and nullification,
they have a federal holiday for that speaker on Monday. Thanks for joining
me tonight.

HARPOOTLIAN: Well, Al. Let me mention, let me tell you that race is
the elephant in the room in South Carolina right now. And it`s the
republican elephant.

SHARPTON: And it`s a small room with a big elephant. Thank you very
much for joining me tonight.

HARPOOTLIAN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Melissa, your new show starts?

PERRY: February 4th. February 4th.

SHARPTON: At?

PERRY: At 10:00 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. We`ll go from 10:00 to
noon starting February 4th.

SHARPTON: Right after Chris Hayes.

PERRY: Right after Chris Hayes, up with Chris Hayes and then
something with me.

SHARPTON: All right. Straight ahead, our effort to get Americans
back to work. Seven hundred jobs available now. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Back now with the latest in our ongoing series, here are
the jobs. Our goal is simple. Help Americans get back to work. Since
last week`s segment, the response on Twitter, Facebook and posts and e-mail
has been great. Two thousand people flooded the job fair on Monday hosted
by auto services company Agero. Many people said they found out about it
right here on POLITICS NATION. That`s great news. So tonight, we are
featuring service master. A company adding 700 jobs right now. The
Memphis-based company is one of the country`s biggest service providers for
homes and businesses with franchises all over the country and brands that
include Terminix, Merry Maids and American Home Shield.

Joining me now from Memphis is Andrea Hough. She`s the chief
recruiter and vice president of Talent Acquisition at Servicemaster.
Andrea, great to have you with us tonight.

ANDREA HOUGH, TALENT ACQUISITION, SERVICEMASTER: Thank you Reverend,
for having me. Happy to be here.

SHARPTON: Now, 700 jobs. What positions are you looking to fill?

HOUGH: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Tell me what you are looking to fill.

HOUGH: Sure. So, those 700 are really made up of two categories.
The first being call center positions. We have call centers in Memphis,
Atlanta, Dallas, Tampa, Carroll, Iowa, and those are supporting our
businesses for American Home Shield, Terminix and TruGreen. The other 100
of that 600 are in our corporate office here in Memphis. And those are the
jobs such as IT, finance, accounting, HR and legal.

SHARPTON: Now -- and you have other jobs you are planning to fill.
Seven hundred is right away. How many is the total that you are planning?

HOUGH: So, 700 this quarter. But we have 6,000 -- we are so excited.
Six thousand new and seasonal jobs that we`ll be hiring supporting TruGreen
and several of other businesses this year.

SHARPTON: Now, I understand that the cities where you are hiring is
sort of a mixed bag. Let me show you. Talking about when the unemployment
rate nationwide is 8.6, you are in Memphis which is 9.2. Tampa which is
10.3. Dallas, 7.4. Atlanta, 9.2. I mean, it`s a lot of areas that really
needs jobs.

HOUGH: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Now let me ask you about -- you also are helping people
start their own businesses. I was part of the kickoff of this program.
And, in fact, when National Action Network, a group I`m president of,
celebrated Dr. King`s 40th anniversary, you and I worked together -- not
you, but the company, supported us in doing that National Action Network.
So, I was at the kick off. Tell us about this program.

HOUGH: Yes, and I`m delighted that you were there with us. So in
addition to this 24,000 associates that Servicemaster has, we have 6,000
franchise locations that employ another 31,000 employees. What we`ve
discovered is that it`s very important that our franchise organization
include diversity. And so we partnered with Shane Battier, and as you
mentioned, you were at that event, to identify scholarship recipients that
are of diverse status. So women or people of color that apply to a
Servicemaster clean janitorial franchise, and if they are qualified, we
give them a scholarship with the equivalent value of $32,000. We support
them with training. And it`s been a fantastic program.

SHARPTON: I`ve got it. I`ve got actually quickly because we`re
running out of time. How do people watching right now apply?

HOUGH: Apply for jobs? Please visit us at Servicemaster.com. Click
on the careers tab. You can search by brand, by job, by proximity. And if
you are interested in learning about the Shane Battier program --

SHARPTON: We lost her sound, but we have -- we had it up. We lost
the sound. We had up where you can go to Servicemaster and let us also for
the Shane Battier Franchise Scholarship. Let me thank Andrea Hough so much
and keep us posted. 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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