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PoliticsNation, Friday, January 13, 2012

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Guests: E.J. Dionne, Bill Press; Bob Franken; Steve Kornacki, Jan Schakowsky, Mike Klink, Neil Swidey

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Is Willard suffering from a Bain
drain? Tonight, Mitt Romney tries to spin his record at Bain capital. But
the one percent candidate isn`t telling 100 percent of the truth.

Runaway Newt. He`s hammering Romney. And it might just be working.
The big news today out of South Carolina. And we`ve got a big reaction to
our story about the Romney dog. We`ll talk live with the reporter who
broke the pooch story.


climbed up there all by himself, enjoyed his ride. Whether you are in the
back of a pickup or in the rooftop carrier it was a good ride.


SHARPTON: Welcome to "Politics Nation. It`s I`m Al Sharpton.
Tonight`s lead, Willard pushes back. After weeks of blistering attacks
about his time at CEO in Bain capital, Willard Romney lays out his defense
in a new ad. Too bad this ad doesn`t add up.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE NARRATOR: This is a business Mitt Romney Helped
start, and this one, and this steel mill. Mitt Romney helped create and
ran a company that invested in struggling businesses. Grew new ones and
rebuilt old ones creating thousands of jobs. Those are the facts.


SHARPTON: Those are the facts? Well, let`s start with fact number
one, shall we.


IDENTIFIED FEMALE NARRATOR: This is a business Mitt Romney helped
start and this one and this steel mill.


SHARPTON: This steel mill. This steel mill is Willard`s big claim to
fame on jobs? Well, as the "L.A. Times" points out, that steel mill owes a
heck of a lot to government aid. In fact, it received $37 million in state
and county subsidies. That`s a big chunk of change, Willard, especially
from a guy who rails against government help.


ROMNEY: Fundamentally what happens in America that creates jobs is
not government. It has its role. But by and large it gets in the way of
creating jobs.


SHARPTON: That money didn`t get in your way. It made you rich. Bain
banked $85 million after investing in that company. Isn`t that something?
And then there`s Willard the job creator.


IDENTIFIED FEMALE NARRATOR: Mitt Romney helped create and ran a
company that invested in struggling businesses, grew new ones and rebuilt
old ones, creating thousands of jobs. Those are the facts.


SHARPTON: Thousands of jobs. It`s not so bad. But wait. Didn`t you
give a higher number recently?


ROMNEY: People here in the state know that in the work that I had, we
started a number of businesses, invested in many others and that, overall,
created tens of thousands of jobs.


SHARPTON: Tens of thousands. No, that must be the wrong clip, guys.
I think it was bigger. Like this.


ROMNEY: If you take those places where we`re able to add jobs and
subtract those that lost jobs, we added over 100,000 jobs.


SHARPTON: From 100,000 to tens of thousands, to thousands. What is
next, tens of jobs? Joining me now is E.J. Dionne, columnist for "the
Washington Post" and MSNBC contributor. And Steve Kornacki, political
columnist for the Thank you both for coming on the show

E.J DIONNE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: E.J., not the best defense, huh?

DIONNE: Well, you know, it`s -- I think we should only talk about
inequality in a quiet room, the way Mitt Romney suggested. We should
probably get to that quiet room before we go. He`s got a problem.

On the one side, he can brag if he wants, about staples and about
sports authority. The private equity business is a complicated business,
and he did help start some businesses that worked. So what`s wrong with
that ad is not that most of its assertions aren`t true. The assertions are
basically true.

What the problems are, one, as you point out, that the number on jobs
has been shifting since he first started talking about a number. And,
secondly, he, obviously, doesn`t want to talk about the other side of
private equity which involved companies that went out of business,
companies where people in private equity may strip out a lot of cash and
then the company dies.

And as soon as he opened this, he wants us to vote for him because he
is a job creator and a businessman. OK. Once you say that, you open the
whole rest of the record for scrutiny. And that`s what he is facing now.
And I think it`s going to go on for quite some time because he`s made it so
central a part of his own campaign.

SHARPTON: That`s the question, Steve. Is this a mistake for him to
make this the central part of his campaign? Is this devastating since he
has made the fact that he`s a businessman, knows the private sector, he has
made this a central part of his campaign. Isn`t this devastating because
this is the area that he`s offered the public?

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: I think it`s problematic. My view is I
still look at the rest of the Republican candidates. Newt Gingrich and
Rick Perry and all the others and I say Mitt Romney is still probably the
best bet this party has, but that doesn`t mean he`s necessarily a good bet
for 2012.

We`re living in post meltdown America. We are living in the occupy
Wall Street America. And Democrats are really sort of -- and the Obama
campaign certainly is itching to point out to Americans to say, look. The
Republican Party is basically the party that wants to enable and pamper
this top 1 percent. It`s made all the money while the rest of the country
has struggled with this massive gap in income inequality.

The problem with Romney is his agenda is actually no different than
the other Republican candidates when you look at the economic policy. In
fact, he made a few efforts to make it a little more friendly to the middle
class in what he`s proposing, but he symbolizes he sort of typifies that
top one percent that the Democrats want to say, want people to think the
Republicans are out to protect. And Mitt Romney symbolizes it in his
actions, in his bearing in his history. That`s very difficult to get out

SHARPTON: You know, E.J., I think Steve is right. I spent a lot of
time last year moving around the country dealing with different issues and
hearing people from Ohio, on the radio show, with people from Wisconsin. I
don`t think that Willard and them get what the whole mood of this country
is toward those that have done these kinds of major company`s buyouts and
really didn`t look at what happened to people`s jobs.

DIONNE: No, I think that`s right, and I think that one of the
interesting things about the Newt Gingrich attack is you can see it as
having a strain of social conservativism in it because he talks about what
destroying companies does to local communities. When these companies
disappear, all the very fabric of a community can get torn up.

And I think Steve is right on this class issue. That the Democrats
had a big problem in 2010 with working class voters, especially white
working class voters. They were very upset about the state of the economy.
And they voted Republican in big numbers. I think the Obama campaign is
looking at this and saying, hey, wait a minute. We have a huge opportunity
now to cut those losses among white working class voters. Possibly even
winning them because Romney`s persona, I think, does not appeal to that
part of the Republican constituency which has been a very important part of
their winning elections. So I think this opens up new terrain for the
Obama campaign that they weren`t sure they were going to have.

SHARPTON: Now, Steve, today Willard Romney says he cares about the
poor. Let me let you listen to him say this.


ROMNEY: I`m concerned about our poor in this country. We have to
make sure that the safety net for our poor is always strong and able to
help those that can`t help themselves. I`m not terribly worried about the
very wealthiest in our society. They are doing just fine. I`m concerned
about the mass middle class of our nation, the 90 percent of Americans, 95
percent of Americans who are having tough times.


SHARPTON: He didn`t quite get to 99, but when you look at his tax
plan since he`s so concern, his tax plan would double the Bush tax cuts.
That makes me think you are pretty concerned about the wealthy.

Also, he`s endorsed Paul Ryan`s plan. That`s a pretty cold plan to
endorse for someone who is concerned about the poor because two-thirds of
the cuts come from low-income programs, Medicaid, Pell grants, food stamps,
low-income housing. That`s $2.9 trillion in cuts from the people he is
saying today he`s concerned about.

KORNACKI: Right. And he`s been -- clearly his campaign has been
aware of this vulnerability for a long time because he`s been talking that
way rhetorically for months now basically trying to position himself
preemptively I think as the champion of the middle class. You know kind of
putting it on the table. They`re going to say I`m protecting the wealthy
but you heard me I`m talking about all these middle class things.

But, that`s what my point is. When you look at the actual proposals,
everything you just mentioned there, I`m remembering a debate in December
when he mixed it up with Newt Gingrich over the capital gains tax. And
what it came down there was Gingrich basically wanted to get rid of it and
Romney wanted to target more for the middle class.

But when you look what that actually means, the saving for the average
the middle class person under his proposal would be minuscule. So you`re
not really talking about much there but there`s this conscious on the part
of his campaign that he has the image problem. And you better at least
talk about this middle class stuff because you have to get people to get
behind it somehow.

SHARPTON: Now, you are absolutely right. E.J., let me go back to
you. It seems that some in the party establishment are trying to circle
the wagons and help Willard out with all of these attacks around Bain. Let
me show you how they are starting to gang up on these attacks that Mitt
Romney`s been suffering from Newt Gingrich.

Mitt Romney`s 2012 thousand clues Mike Huckabee, Rudy Giuliani, John
McCain, all of them defending him. And then McCain even went way over.
Let me let you hear what John McCain said in defending Willard`s time at


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, SOUTH CAROLINA: Attacking him on Bain capital,
which has created thousands of jobs, I don`t think, is going to work.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Now you came out this morning and
suggested there`s an alternative to the way Bain does business and it is
called communism, you know, where everybody gets a fair share.

MCCAIN: Everybody in business. Keep every industry, no matter how
bad it is. And that`s what communism is. And unfortunately, it doesn`t


SHARPTON: Now, but that is not what Mr. McCain was saying in 2008.
He seemed to have a problem, E.J., with Bain then. Well, don`t believe me.
Let me let John McCain speak for himself in 2008.


MCCAIN: I think he managed companies and he bought and he sold and
sometimes people lost their jobs. That`s the nature of that business.


SHARPTON: So in 2008, he bought and sold companies. People lost
their jobs. 2012, we want communism to raise the issue of Bain.

DIONNE: Well, first of all, I never thought I`d live long enough to
hear anyone even suggest that Newt Gingrich is a communist. There is
something new for the books. And I think it`s true that McCain has a
problem when he was running against Mitt Romney. He didn`t go quite as far
as Newt has. But he did raise the same kinds of issues that Gingrich and
Perry are raising out there.

But I think Republicans understand, I mean, a lot of Republicans are
now assuming that Romney is going to be the nominee, and they realize how
damaging this is. And they are trying to push back against it. They want
to put this issue back in the closet. But I don`t think it`s -- they can
do that now. I think this issue is going to be with us for the whole
campaign and Democrats are going to be quoting Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry
right through till November.

SHARPTON: Does the Bain pain ease up any or is it going to be hurting
all the way through the primary process?

KORNACKI: Yes, I mean, the primaries, there`s a good case to be made
that maybe the Republicans will get their message straight on this and
defend Romney in the primaries. I`m looking ahead and sort like E.J. said
there is September, October, you know right before the election. I`m
thinking the ad the Obama campaign is going to run and all it`s going to be
is Newt Gingrich, you know, talking about how terrible Mitt Romney was at
Bain. How heartless he was and how he wasn`t a job creator at all or Rick
Perry talking about vulture capitalism. I mean, the ads write themselves.
And they are powerful when you can quote the other guys supposed allies,
the people in his party making the case you want to make.

SHARPTON: I don`t think they should just run Newt Gingrich. They
need to run the John McCain ad on the ad, the one I just played where in
2008, when they were running against McCain, this is what McCain --

KORNACKI: Huckabee had the perfect line. He reminds you of the guy
that fired you. That was the Huckabee line in `08.

SHARPTON: Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Have a great weekend,

DIONNE: You, too reverend.

SHARPTON: And you, too, Steve. Thanks for joining me tonight.

Ahead -- Newt is at it again. He`s hammering Willard on Bain. And it
may be working.

Plus -- President Obama continued his relentless fight for jobs and
justice today. We`ll show you why his plan to win is all about fairness.

And we had a huge response to our story last night on Willard`s dog
riding on the roof of his car. You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: A new poll from South Carolina shows that Gingrich is
moving up. Is that the sound of Bain Willard is hearing? That`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." Call is the Newt-ron
bomb. He doesn`t care what anyone says. Newt Gingrich refuses to stop
hammering Willard Romney for killing jobs as CEO of Bain capital. Here he
is today.


not prepared to release any documents from Bain to prove anything. So I
think we have no idea what his net-job creation was. This is a big part of
his campaign. He should meet the same test as the rest of us and give us
the facts, not just keep making claims.


SHARPTON: Now, all week long he`s been unleashing attacks on Willard,
none bigger than the devastating 28-minute movie released by his super PAC
ripping Willard`s past at Bain.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE NARRATOR: Mitt Romney became CEO of Bain capital
the day the company was formed, his mission, to reap massive rewards for
himself and his investors. For tens of thousands of Americans, the
suffering began when Mitt Romney came to town.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They never could get enough, no matter how much
they -- no matter how much they already had, they just could never get
enough money.

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


SHARPTON: And they`ve pounded the messages all over the TV airways,
bombarding South Carolina with $1.8 million worth of ads. Like this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE NARRATOR: A group of corporate raiders, led by Mitt
Romney, the company was Bain capital, more ruthless than Wall Street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pulled the rug out from under our plant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody was fired.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney and them guys, they don`t care who I

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I feel that is a man that destroyed us.


SHARPTON: And guess what? All these attacks are working. According
to a new poll, he`s just four points behind Willard in South Carolina. And
in last week, Romney`s favorability slipped seven points while Newt`s
climbed four points up. If you are Willard, are you starting to sweat?

Joining me now is Bill Press, host of the "Bill Press show" on Sirius
XM radio and Bob Franken, acclaimed featured syndicated columnist. Thanks
to both of you for being here.



SHARPTON: Bob, you`ve covered Newt for a long time. Was there ever
any question that he was going to go negative on Mitt?

FRANKEN: Certainly not in my mind. When he said that he was going to
be running a positive campaign, I have to admit to a chuckle or two. What
ran through my mind is you`re going to run a positive campaign, how many
seconds is that going to last? Of course, it didn`t last long.

SHARPTON: Well, I felt he was going to run a positively negative
campaign myself. But let me ask you, Bill, when you look at this new poll,
it says that 58 percent of primary voters, Republicans in South Carolina --
58 percent -- don`t want Romney to be their nominee. So these ads are
hitting a pretty fertile ground. The question is, I suppose, if the
opposition to Romney is so split up that they can`t win.

PRESS: No, exactly. By the way, in response to your first question,
I wonder sometimes whether Newt Gingrich is actually on Obama`s payroll
because he certainly is doing a lot of the work of the Obama campaign right

But, you know these attacks on Bain capital, they are working -- I
think they are working reverend Al, because they are true. I mean, they
cannot deny that was who Mitt Romney was. And they created an indelible
impression. The words that are going to haunt Mitt Romney through the
primary and into the general are, what, corporate raider, corporate
predator, vulture, liar. I mean, this is who Mitt Romney is.

So, I think he survives South Carolina for the reason you stated
because the opposition is so splintered. But he certainly is going to come
out of it a battered and a weakened Republican party nominee.

SHARPTON: Now, Bill, when you hear the sound of the king of Bain is -
- in this ad. They focus on workers laid off and emotional stories. I
mean, when you see people saying they fired all of us. They destroyed us.
It`s emotional. So even if it doesn`t stop him in the South Carolina
primary, this has a riveting effect, I think, among the American public
that if he`s the nominee, he`s going to have to face.

PRESS: Exactly. Particularly right now with unemployment at 8.5
percent, 13 million Americans out of work, jobs is the number one issue.
And we all know that Mitt Romney`s job at Bain, if you want, was not job
creation. It was wealth creation. And he did a pretty good job at that
but it didn`t create many jobs.

By the way, I do think, Bob, we could point out that however few jobs
that Mitt Romney created, he created a hell of a lot more than Newt
Gingrich ever did.

SHARPTON: Oh, don`t clutter the issue up with facts now.

FRANKEN: Well, let`s be fair to Newt Gingrich. I mean, this is a man
who really was able to take advantage of the synergy, shall we put it,
between the government and the corporate world. This is a man who made
millions upon millions of dollars, for instance, being a historian to
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. So this is not a man who, perhaps, should be -
- what is it? I think Dana Milbank talked about this is a man who lives in
a glass mansion. He shouldn`t be throwing stones.

SHARPTON: Well. But, Bob, let`s be fair. Mitt Willard Romney bought
out companies and shut them down. Newt Gingrich shut down the whole U.S.
government, so don`t play him light now. He knows how to shut stuff down.
But they were trying to get Newt to back away from his position saying that
isn`t it over the top, and, let me show you what he said today about trying
to tell the truth in these ads.

FRANKEN: Yes, because there`s something very interesting about that.

SHARPTON: Yes. Let me show you what he said.

He says, and I`m quoting him, I am trying to get on full screen. He
says, "I am calling for the winning our future super PAC supporting me to
either edit its "king of Bain" advertisement and movie to remove any
inaccuracies or pull it off the air and off the Internet entirely." Do you
believe this, Bob?

FRANKEN: I think there`s an interesting question here. Does that
become coordination, which, by the way, since he was talking about a super
PAC here? The PAC, if it`s going to be legal, should not listen to Newt
Gingrich. What I think he was doing is, let me just say this in polite
language. He was trying to protect his back side.

SHARPTON: Well, let me also tell you what I think he was doing, Bill,
and you chime in. It`s almost word for word what Willard Mitt Romney said
about his super PAC in Iowa, any alleged inaccuracy that they were doing to
Newt Gingrich just a couple of weeks ago because I distinctly remember him
saying the same thing. If the super PACs are wrong, they ought to pull it
down. And it`s almost word for word.

So, maybe Mr. Gingrich is being a little cute here and quoting Mr.
Romney, what Mr. Romney said when the shoe was on the other foot.

PRESS: Yes, a couple of points. Number one it does prove that both
Willard, if you will, and Newt are coordinate with their PACs. They know
who gives the money. They raise the money. And then they are controlling
what their ads say. And not they are asking them to pull their ads down.

Secondly, Newt Gingrich puts up his own super PAC ad which "the
Washington Post" said merits four Pinocchio`s because it`s so full of lies.
And final point, you know, reverend Al, what I think Newt Gingrich is in
this race, he`s the suicide bomber of the Republican party. He knows he`s
not going to win. He knows he`s not -- he`s not in it to win it anymore.
He`s in it to take down as many people as he can, as he goes down. And he
has that same silly grin on his face when he pulls the plug as a suicide

FRANKEN: But I think --

SHARPTON: Why can`t he win? Wait a minute. Why can`t he win?
There`s no way you think Newt Gingrich could do this?

PRESS: No, absolutely not. I don`t think the Republican party will -
- they know who he is. He`s been nothing but a destructive, negative force
as Bob pointed out his entire career. They`re not going to let him become
the nominee.


FRANKEN: But I think there`s an important point all of us have been
missing here which is the context here. We`re talking about South
Carolina, and the kind of stuff that we`re seeing in South Carolina in that
state, qualifies as positive campaigning.


PRESS: Compared to previous years.

SHARPTON: It is an interesting state. It`s a very conservative
state. How do you make -- very quickly. What do you make, I should say,
of the meeting of the evangelicals this weekend? Could something come out
of there that could change this primary one way or another?

PRESS: Let me just go first. Here`s what I make of it. The idea
that they would include as one of their options endorsing -- this is the
social conservative evangelicals, endorsing Newt Gingrich is unbelievable.
It proves to me that they don`t believe in anything.


FRANKEN: And short answer to your question is, yes, I think it could
make a difference. South Carolina, particularly the Republicans, just
loaded with evangelical Christians.

SHARPTON: Bob Franken and Bill Press. Thanks for your time tonight.
Have a great weekend.

PRESS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead -- President Obama`s case for jobs and justice. It`s
his plan to win 2012.

Plus, big oil, big money and a very big problem for millions of
Americans, how people are fighting t o stop what could be the most
dangerous project in America?


SHARPTON: We`ve heard a lot from the Republicans in this show. How
about a few words from the man they are hoping to replace? He is the


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We won`t give up, not now.
You`ve got to send a message we are going to keep pushing and fighting for
the change that we believe in. I will spend every ounce of energy that I
have fighting for you.



SHARPTON: The Obama re-election strategy. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. President Obama has made
it clear the year ahead will be about fighting for jobs and justice. And
he took another step in that direction today. He asked Congress for the
power to merge six federal agencies in order to make government friendlier
to small businesses.


OBAMA: This is an area that should receive bipartisan support because
making our government more responsive and strategic and leaner, it
shouldn`t be a partisan issue. With or without Congress, I`m going to keep
at it.


SHARPTON: Now anyone think the GOP volunteered to help out? Don`t
think so? Say no has been the GOP game plan ever since the President took
office. And yet he`s been able to move ahead on the jobs and fairness
agenda. And those issues will be the backbone of his re-election. He has
kept those promises.


OBAMA: Change is the decision we made. That was unpopular at the
time to go in and help the auto industry retool. Change is finally after a
century of talking about it passing health care reform. And change is
keeping the -- one of the first promises I made back in 2008, and that is
ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home. If you stick with me,
we`re going to finish what we started in 2008.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, democrat from
Illinois. Thank you for joining us tonight, Congresswoman.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thanks for having me, Reverend

SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman, the President is running on jobs,
justice and real change. How is that for a 2012 agenda, in your opinion?

SCHAKOWSKY: I think that`s what the American people want to hear. I
actually was in the audience for that speech in Chicago, and people were
really fired up. Those who think there may be an enthusiasm gap, I would
declare them wrong. People are ready to fight for that basic American
values agenda.

SHARPTON: Now, what are you hearing from your constituents?

SCHAKOWSKY: Oh, we have phone banks going already. Recruiting
volunteers. People are ready to go. They understand, you know, one thing
I agree with Mitt Romney on and the president does, too, that this election
really is about the very soul of our country. Whether or not the
fundamental American bargain that if you work hard, no matter who you are,
or where you start, that you are going to be able to make it in America.
And that really has been eroding over time, and the Republicans don`t want
to do anything about it. So this really -- this election isn`t so much
about the individuals. It`s about whether or not this country is going to
be true to its values. That this is a land of opportunity for everyone and
not just a few.

SHARPTON: But isn`t it hard to say that to people that are
unemployed? We have 8.6 unemployment. How do we give that message to
those that are hurting and those that feel that it`s going to get worse
before it gets better?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, first of all, what the Republicans are doing with
impunity right now is showing contempt for those who are struggling right
now. Don`t have a job? Take a shower and go out and get one. Not
recognizing that there really are about five applicants for every job
that`s available. Newt Gingrich saying that children in poor neighborhoods
where nobody works, he says, should be janitors. And Mitt Romney casually
making $10,000 bets and saying, you know, we don`t want to be for food
stamps, as Santorum said. I mean, you know, their view -- I really wonder
what kind of world they live in.

What they see with Barack Obama is someone who really understands what
needs to be done and Republicans who have been obstructionists the whole
time. He has a jobs bill to put people to work. And of course, we`ve seen
22 months now of private sector growth. Now, what we need. And no thanks
to the Republicans. So, I think when you see the difference of who is
really trying to make a difference and is making a difference, though
slower than we want, I think that`s who the American people will choose.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, you mentioned Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney says
that the President hasn`t kept his promises. Listen to this.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve been looking at some of
the videos of the then candidate Obama as he spoke last time during his
campaign and promised what he was going to do with America. And the gap
between what he promised and what he has done is about as big as you can


SHARPTON: How would you respond to that?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, first of all you certainly don`t want to put your
money on promises made by Mitt Romney who has this consistent habit of
taking a 180-degree turn away from what he said yesterday or last year and
saying whatever anybody wants to hear. So, I don`t have a lot of
confidence in any promise he might make. But it`s also simply not true
that President Obama has not kept his promises. After 100 years, we now
have a health care bill where health care for all Americans is established
as a right regardless of pre-existing conditions, regardless of ability to
pay. We passed -- he got rid of "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell." He put money
into alternative energy. He fully funded the veterans` administration and
the violence against women act. He stopped discrimination in the workplace
with a Lilly Ledbetter act. And he expanded the children`s health
insurance program. I mean, we could go on and on and on with the.

SHARPTON: And you haven`t even left the country. You haven`t even
left the country Congresswoman and dealt with Bin Laden and.

SCHAKOWSKY: Ended the war in Iraq. Ended the war in Iraq. How is

SHARPTON: How about specifics rather than just slogans on ads.
Congresswoman Janet Schakowsky, thank you for your time.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you so much Reverend Al, I appreciate it.

SHARPTON: And thank you for being specific about what`s going on with
the president.

Still ahead, pipeline to nowhere. We`ll talk to a whistleblower
engineer who says the keystone pipeline is a disaster waiting to happen.
And shouldn`t get built.


SHARPTON: Romney dog story coming, next.


SHARPTON: Congressional Republicans are trying to ram through what
could be the most controversial construction project in America. Trans-
Canada`s $7 billion keystone excel pipeline, the project would build nearly
2,000 miles of pipeline through the middle of the country. It would carry
tar sands, a sludge that`s even more toxic than crude oil. It would run
from Canada to refineries in Texas. It would cross the largest source of
freshwater in the United States. Water that supports $20 billion in
agriculture and provides millions of Americans with drinking water. A
spill of this toxic sludge would be an economic and environmental disaster
which is why people across the Midwest are fighting to stop the pipeline.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We need to think about the people of Nebraska and
not just the big interest groups.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The oil company can come in and basically do what
they want to do. And we have hardly any say so at all.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: My parents in Hastings drink that water from that
aquifer. If it`s polluted, we will have no water to drink.


SHARPTON: Even Nebraska`s republican governor thinks it`s a bad idea.
He asked President Obama to stop the project saying, quote, "Do not allow
TransCanada to build a pipeline and risk the potential damage to Nebraska`s
water." People are worried, and they should be. Part of the pipeline
already built has had 14 leaks since 2010. Just last year, it dumped
21,000 gallons of oil in North Dakota. This project is a mess. But don`t
take my word for it. Just listen to my next guest.

Mike Klink is an engineer who worked on the keystone pipeline in North
Dakota and South Dakota and saw firsthand the dangers in this project. He
reported what he saw to federal agencies and he`s here to tell his story.
Mike, thanks for joining me tonight on this important story. You are
blowing the whistle. This pipeline -- why is.

MIKE KLINK, KEYSTONE INSPECTOR: Thank you. Thank you, Reverend

SHARPTON: Thank you again. You are blowing the whistle on this
pipeline. Why is this story so important?

KLINK: It`s extremely important to me because of the health and the
welfare of many, many people that don`t even have a clue what`s going on.
Having lived it, this pipeline is nothing more than a toxic man-made river
being built across our country. Without the water in -- the people are
going to die. And it also, you said, it crosses the largest aquifer. It
also crosses another one in Texas that supplies water for 12 million
Texans. This project is nothing but a -- tar sands. Tar sands is what you
would call a black peanut butter that has to be cut with all kinds of
chemicals and hydrocarbons and its chemical makeup is some of the most
toxic substances known on this earth.

SHARPTON: Explain to the people because many of us don`t understand a
lot of the terms that you would. What is this, and is this what is being
sent to Texas?

KLINK: Yes. This is what`s being sent to Texas. They mine it out of
the ground, and they have to heat it, super heat it, and they have to put
it under 1700 pounds of pressure and send it down the pipeline. And to
keep it going down there, it`s -- can you imagine pumping peanut butter
with sand on the inside of foreign made steel with all kinds of anomalies
in it, impurities? And it`s going to be like pumping sand paper down it.
It`s 16 times more corrosive and abrasive than what normal crude is.

SHARPTON: Sixteen times more than normal crude?

KLINK: Yes, sir.

SHARPTON: Now about these spillovers, the fact that it could
contaminate water that is used both for agriculture and for citizens.
We`re talking about risking a lot -- a lot of people here if we have any

KLINK: You are risking a lot of people. And matter of fact there was
a spill from the tar sands pipeline in Michigan, and it`s nearly two years
and no one knows how to clean it up. That`s one of the biggest safety
concerns that`s going. This product needs to be studied so that we can
figure out how to clean it up, when there`s going to be a spill. These
people deserve better and deserve more protection. Matter of fact, just
for a quick instance is, if you were following this truck down the road it
would -- still under the Department of Transportation, you would have to
have plaques on the trucks telling you what hazard waste it is. That`s
still under the Department of Transportation. Why doesn`t the pipelines --
why didn`t the pumping stations have these same warnings to protect
possible first responders. Protect the people, protect the neighbors that
would happen to get into it. This is what is a very large shame. Not only
that. It`s just a poor, poor construction. There`s no reason to hurry a
project like this. It should be studied. It should be looked at. And the
most of all, the safety of the American people should be put forefront over
a foreign entity and over big oil.

SHARPTON: A foreign entity. Now they are saying it will provide
jobs. But let me show you this. A study, according to TransCanada study -
- well, a study that they sponsored, it estimated about 20,000 jobs. But
then a study by Cornell University says it would only provide 6,500 jobs.
So all of this about the Republicans that are pushing this hard saying it
will provide tens of thousands of jobs, it would not, but it would more
importantly risk so many American people in terms of their water and the
agricultural business in many of those states that it would be running

KLINK: I don`t understand why they would be willing to risk human
lives for the right to -- for big oil and to push it on through. I don`t
see what the hurry is for our congressmen and senators. There is no hurry
for this project at all because it`s landlocked and the most important
thing is Canada cannot get a pipeline across their country to get it
anywhere else. The only reason for the big push on this is big oil is
sponsoring our people -- our representatives who are there to represent and
protect American citizens. And that`s why I feel like I have to speak out.

SHARPTON: They are landlocked. Canada can`t do it. There`s no
reason to rush without every concern answered. And you say maybe the only
reason they are rushing Mike Klink is because of big oil. Thanks for
joining me tonight. I`ll leave it right there.

KLINK: Thank you, Mr. Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Up next -- we`ll talk to a reporter who first broke the
sad story of Seamus, the dog and his very bad road trip with the Romney`s.
Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We got a huge response to our story last night about
Willard Romney`s dog Seamus. On a family trip in 1983, Willard tied his
Irish setter`s kennel to the roof of the car for a 12-hour drive. The
story`s hounded Willard ever since.


ROMNEY: Seamus, as his name is, climbed up there all by himself.
Enjoyed his ride. Whether you are in the back of a pickup truck or in a
rooftop carrier it was a good ride.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Neil Swidey, a staff writer for the
Boston Globe Magazine. He broke the Seamus story in 2007. Neil, tell us
briefly what happened.

NEIL SWIDEY, BOSTON GLOBE MAGAZINE: Well, back in 1983, the Romneys,
as you say, packed the five boys into the car. Were driving up for a
family reunion with Mitt`s parents in Canada. And put the dog in a
carrier, strapped it to the roof of the car and there was no room in the
station wagon with all the boys in there. And they sort of powered on
along the highway. And about midway through the trip is when trouble

SHARPTON: Trouble began like what?

SWIDEY: Like the -- a brown liquid was dripping down the back
windshield which was a sign of Seamus` gastric distress that was -- his
perhaps payback for being in the wind for many hours up on the roof.

SHARPTON: And how did Willard respond to seeing the brown liquid?

SWIDEY: So this is -- I mean, this is why I originally wrote about
the story back in 2007. And for me, it`s why the story is interesting.
There`s been a lot of exaggeration around it and a lot of human cries about
it, but it was kind of how he handled it. He pulled off the highway into a
gas station, borrowed a hose. Washed down the dog and the car and ushered
Seamus back into the carrier and got back behind the wheel and kept on
going. And it was sort of that.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. I`m running out of time. But he just
hosed the dog down, the car down and got back in the car and kept going?

SWIDEY: That`s right. Yes. And that was sort of the insight into
Mitt Romney`s operating system. It`s based on logic, not emotion. And
this was sort of an emotion-free approach to a problem. And a tiny window
into that operating system.

SHARPTON: So he, in your opinion, is just a guy, no emotion. Just
keep on going.

SWIDEY: Well, I think, you know, you can draw lines connecting his
behavior or approach to solving this problem here with how he`s worked in
business and how he worked in government. As a businessman in private
equity, Mitt Romney`s job running Bain Capital was to be the cold water on
deals. When other partners would come in heated with the excitement of a
big deal, he would be the guy saying, wait, wait, we`re getting ahead of
ourselves. That sort of approach of sort of stripping out emotion
completely for good or bad is the approach. And it`s how he`s operating.
And I think that`s what the approach you`ll see in government.

SHARPTON: Did you ever question Willard or any of the Romney family
to verify any of this?

SWIDEY: Oh, yes. Absolutely. I know, as soon as I got this story.
I originally got it after doing a lot of deep reporting about the family
with family friends and kind of came across this. I was really interested
in sort of penetrating this airbrush quality to the family that they sort
of present because they are a real family. They`re big family. A lot of
kids. I know that there must be sort of real stories. And after getting
it from the family friend, I went back to the family themselves and got all
the details right because I wanted to make sure.

SHARPTON: So, the family told you the story. Well, I`m trying to get
an interview with Seamus. Neil, thank you for joining us tonight.

SWIDEY: Good luck.

SHARPTON: Have a great weekend. Thanks for watching. I`m Al
Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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