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PoliticsNation, Thursday, February 2, 2012

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Guests: Bob Shrum; Mark Mckinnon, Barney Frank, Eric Schneiderman, Gwen Moore, Pat Hurd, Betsi Hurd

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation. I`m
Al Sharpton.

Today in the Republican presidential news, a billionaire endorsed a
multimillionaire for president. We`ll talk shortly about the Donald and
Willard who have a lot in common. They have a lot of money, and they like
to fire people.

But we begin with the old saying, to whom much is given, much is
required. That`s the message of fairness that President Obama has governed
by. And it`s what he talked about today at the national prayer breakfast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Treating others as you
want to be treated, requiring much from those who have been given so much,
living by the principle that we are our brother`s keeper, caring for the
poor and those in need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Caring for those in need. That`s the vision that will
shape this presidency. A vision from the other side couldn`t be more
different.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m in this race because I
care about Americans. I`m not concerned about the very poor. We have a
safety net there. If it needs repair, we`ll fix it. I`m not concerned
about the very rich. They`re doing just fine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You got one thing right, Willard. You aren`t concerned
about the very poor. If elected president, you said you`d raise taxes on
those in the bottom 20 percent while giving the top one percent an extra
$460,000 a year. Turns out you care about the very rich a lot, just not
the poor because they have a safety net.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I said I`m not concerned about the very poor that have a
safety net, but if it has holes in it, I will repair them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Willard, we disagree on the meaning of the word repair.
You support the Paul Ryan budget which cuts nearly $3 trillion from low-
income programs like Medicaid, food stamps and low-income housing. You`d
repeal the health care law that helps millions of poor Americans. Your
policies would not repair the holes in the safety net. You`d make them
bigger.

Today, the president laid out a very different vision.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: If I`m willing to give something up as somebody who has been
extraordinarily blessed, and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I
actually think that`s going to make economic sense.

For unto whom much is given, much shall be required.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A lot has been given to you, Mitt. Why don`t you expect
more from yourself?

Joining me now is Congressman Barney Frank, democrat from
Massachusetts. He`s also the top democrat on the financial services
committee. Mr. Chairman, thank you for joining me this evening.

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: You`re welcome, Al.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Mr. Chairman, how can Romney say that
the safety net helps poor people when he supports things like the Ryan plan
that would shred the safety net?

FRANK: Well, I thought the most revealing thing about that, I`m glad
you played it twice, was when Romney, who claims to be very well informed
and, in fact if you talk about the tax code, if you talk about corporate
tax breaks, if you talk about things that will help wealthier people, if
you talk about foreign policy, he prides himself on how well informed he
is. But listen to what he said about the safety net. If it`s broken, I`ll
repair it. Now, we`ve repeated that twice. In other words, he has no
idea.

He knows there`s one out there. I thought it`s very revealing. He
cares so little about this issue, as he`s acknowledged, that he tells us,
yes, there`s a safety net and if it`s broken, I`ll repair it. By this
time, after having been a governor of my state for four years and not a
very good one, having been a candidate for president twice, having run for
the Senate, you would think he`d know about that. And the answer is this.
We tend to know about things we care about.

So, of course, he`s supported things that would erode the safety net
further. But even more revealing to me is his acknowledgment that he knows
it`s out there and he doesn`t know what kind of shape it`s in.

And as the contention, if it`s broken, he`ll fix it. He doesn`t say
that about the tax code. He doesn`t say that about environmental policy.
He knows what he wants to do there. It`s only when the very poor - and by
the way, let`s be very clear. When we`re talking about the very poor we`re
talking about a large number of children.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

FRANK: You may not have much respect and I can tell you there some
are adults, I understand, who are the authors of their own misfortune. Not
all of them by any means. But how can you be indifferent to poor children.
How can you not care a lot about a 2-year-old, a 3-year-old, a 4-year-old
who is born into these terrible circumstances and that`s callousness that I
find appalling.

SHARPTON: Now, I think that people ought to understand he always
says, well, it was taken out of context. But the second time we played it.
Was him explaining his context and he said exactly what you said.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Mr. Chairman, o SHARPTON: f him being taken out of
context. Things that he says he seems to have a pattern of things that he
just doesn`t --

FRANK: Can I tell you -- you and I have been in this business a long
time. I`ve not always said everything I wanted. It is very clear in most
cases, not in all cases because there some are deliberate misquotations,
but in almost every case when a politician says I was taken out of context,
he really means, I wish I hadn`t said that.

SHARPTON: That`s what he means. Let me show you some of that,
though, from Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I like being able to fire people that provide services to me.

ROMNEY: Rick, I`ll tell you what, 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?

ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend.

ROMNEY: Never get involved in politics if you have to win an election
to pay a mortgage.

ROMNEY: I get speakers fees from time to time but not very much.

ROMNEY: I`m also unemployed.

ROMNEY: I`m not concerned about the very poor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, I mean, there`s this litany of statements that he says
very affirmatively and then takes back later. Doesn`t understand, as you
said, the safety net of poor people. He does understand he wants to repeal
Dodd Franks, though.

FRANK: Yes, he does. He thinks we have been much too tough on
derivatives. He thinks apparently that you should be able to make loans
and then sell those loans and not care about whether or not the people are
going to pay it back as long as you make your profit. He wants to
dismantle an independent consumer bureau. He is very noisy about all of
that.

And again, he knows what he cares about. He has no particular concern
for the poor, including as I said, poor children. So he doesn`t know much
about it.

SHARPTON: Now his opponent, his main opponent, Newt Gingrich, had
this to say taking a shot at Willard and at President Obama at the same
time. Watch this, Mr. Chairman.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Both Governor Romney and
Barack Obama seem to believe that a, quote, "safety net is all the poor
need." I don`t believe that. What the poor need is a trampoline so they
can spring up.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: They don`t have the right to be given happiness by the
government, which is impossible despite Barack Obama. You know, Obama
believes - Obama believes he is so smart he could come here and take from
the overly happy to redistribute to the underly happy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Mr. Chairman, you talked about many -- a large amount
of what we have as poor people in this country are children. When you
listen to Newt Gingrich or for that matter Willard Mitt Romney, do you get
the feeling they understand what even comprises poor people and when they
are talking about children who themselves may be in poverty for any number
of reasons. They are talking about being in charge of how we govern this.

FRANK: Not at all, although I have to say preliminarily, Al. For
Newt Gingrich to make fun of Barack Obama because he says Obama thinks he`s
smarter than he really is. For Newt Gingrich to criticize anyone for
claiming to be smarter than he really is kind of like the three stooges
accusing you of being silly. That`s Newt himself to a tee.

Secondly he just distorts it. We -- Barack Obama yourself, myself, we
have been pushing for programs to help lower income people. The others
want to kill community colleges by cutting off funds for safety. They are
the ones who -- we had to fight to hard to increase tell grants, job
trainings, all of those things like child care, the women`s infant and
children`s program. This notion we want to keep them in poverty and give
them sustenance. Yes, we want to do that.

But if you look at the program, I will tell you what I said about
Ronald Reagan. I believe it`s true of Romney and Gingrich. Romney today
because he didn`t used to take this - it`s an abortion. They believe from
the standpoint of the federal government, life begins at conception but
ends at birth. You force these children to be born but once they are born,
the government signs off.

SHARPTON: Then the irony of all is today the house voted on a measure
and in the measure, they actually say in the measure that the Bush tax cuts
did not increase the deficit, but the facts are that, according to the CBO,
the Bush tax cuts from 2001 to 2010 added $2.6 trillion to the debt. I
mean, you can vote all you want. You can`t erase facts.

FRANK: No, I think today what you saw from the Republicans was their
own particular form of Marxism. I keep using I guess newly analysis. This
is Chico Marxism, when he said in the movie when he was caught with
something damaging, who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?

You look at the -- by the way, they didn`t just cut taxes. Because
they cut taxes while starting two wars, one of which was of course entirely
unnecessary. No sensible person doubts that the Bush tax cuts caused an
increase in the deficit. And I think it`s a sign of their understanding of
their vulnerability that they passed this stupid law that says green is
blue and red is pink and the world is upside down.

SHARPTON: Well, I mean, it was amazing, irrational vote. I must say
maybe I`ll call you when we get off the air because I`m sure you saw some
blueberry pie on their face when they left the chamber.

Chairman Barney Frank, thank you as always for being with me tonight.

FRANK: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Donald Trump and Willard Mitt Romney, together
at last.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I like being able to fire people and provide services to me.

DONALD TRUMP, BILLIONAIRE BUSINESSMAN: You`re fired. You`re fired.
You`re all fired.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And what`s really behind the controversial decision to stop
funding Planned Parenthood? Surprise, it`s all about right wing politics.

Plus, protecting the dream, 40 years to the day Martin Luther King was
arrested for helping people vote. Republican lawmakers are trying to roll
back what he fought for.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The Republicans new odd couple, the Donald and Willard.
That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." Willard`s getting
hammered by the left and the right for his, "I`m not concerned about the
very poor," comment. Both sides can`t believe how out of teach he is. So
naturally, the best way to get away from that criticism is to show up in
Las Vegas right next to the king of bling, Mr. Birther himself, Donald
Trump.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It`s my honor, real honor and privilege to endorse Mitt
Romney. Mitt is tough. He`s smart. He`s sharp. He`s not going to allow
bad things to continue to happen to this country that we all love. So,
Governor Romney, go out and get them.

ROMNEY: There some are things you just can`t imagine happening in
your life. This is one of them. Being in Donald Trump`s magnificent hotel
and having his endorsement is a delight. I`m so honored and pleased to
have his endorsement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Honored and pleased. I don`t know. You don`t look too
comfortable there. Check out the handshake. No one looks comfortable in
this picture. In this case, what happens in Vegas definitely won`t stay in
Vegas.

Joining me now is Bob Shrum, democratic strategist and a professor at
NYU and Mark McKinnon, co-founder of the No Labels and a former adviser to
George W. Bush and John McCain. Thanks to both of you for being here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Happy to be here.

SHARPTON: Bob, let me start with you. Is Donald Trump`s endorsement
a blessing to Mitt Romney or a curse that will damage him even more
politically?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, the polling data shows it`s
actually even in Republican primaries a net negative. But he wasn`t going
to turn it down. Those guys look so stiff standing there together.

And the one thing I would say is that this is not a Trump card to fix
Romney`s problem which is through a series of gaffes and statements and
some attacks by his rivals. He looks likes the -- increasingly like the
face of unfairness in America. He looks out of touch and insensitive and
callous.

And I contrast this with the Bush campaign in 2000 which Mark was very
involved in where the frustration of those of us who were working for Al
Gore but very effectively for Bush, he was identifying himself as a
compassionate conservative. He was talking about the struggles of the
waitress making $22,000 a year.

All of that`s anathema in today`s Republican Party. Somehow or other,
they are going to have to get Romney turned. They`re going to have to deal
with this image problem and Donald Trump`s endorsement doesn`t help with
that.

SHARPTON: Well, I don`t know if they can. But Mark, let me go to
you. Even the right wing "Wall Street Journal" today writes in their
editorial, if Mr. Romney came across as less than compassionate
conservative, he has himself to blame. This is "the Wall Street Journal"
now saying that he is to blame for him coming off less than the
compassionate conservative George Bush ran as.

And he responds to that by going to Las Vegas with the king of bling.
You can`t get anyone that personifies opulence and over the top more than
Donald Trump. That`s his response when even the right wing guys are
attacking him.

MARK MCKINNON, FORMER BUSH MEDIA ADVISOR: Yes, reverend. It`s a real
irony that he would go from a really bad day yesterday where he expressed
he had -- wasn`t concerned for the poor but he is concerned enough about a
billionaire real estate huckster that he grovels his way to Las Vegas to
stand up with a guy and be endorsed.

And for the life of me, I do not understand why the Republican Party
continues to hold up Donald Trump as a symbol of anybody that`s worth
anything in terms of reaching out for an endorsement. I mean, this guy
doesn`t carry a single vote. I think he`s a net negative.

And as Bob Shrum says, he compounds the image problem that Mitt Romney has.
He is becoming a caricature of the worst kind of candidate that Republicans
can put up in this environment where President Obama is starting to get a
lot of traction with the middle class message. We`re beginning to nominate
a guy who is doing his very best to claw his way to the bottom and portray
himself as a guy who is completely out of touch. And he only compounds
that problem by going to Las Vegas for God sake and standing up with Donald
Trump.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this, Mark. And I want to come back to
you, Bob, on one Trump point.

But let me ask you since you raised this, Mark. And you`ve done a lot
of image fixing, a lot of image projecting and working with Republicans.

I mean, when you read Goldberg`s piece in "National Review" today, he
says the underemphasized dynamic this race isn`t that Romney isn`t
conservative enough. It`s that he`s simply not a good enough politician.
He may be the most electable on paper. Every time he seems to get into his
groove and pull away, he says things that make people think he doesn`t know
how to play the game. Is it possible to build an image around this guy?
Is he just so bad and just so tone deaf there`s nothing you can do with
him?

MCKINNON: Well, I think part of the problem is that the Obama
campaign has gotten into his head a little bit and he realizes and his team
does that the Democrats are getting a lot of traction on this middle class
message and the middle class squeeze. And I think the problem is that
strategically he`s not going to a place very natural for him.

And authenticity is critical in any candidate running for president.
And so, that`s the problem when Romney tries to express himself as
authentically concerned about the middle class. It`s just not a natural
position for him. I mean, he should be who he is. He`s a successful
governor, a successful business guy. And he just gets himself into trouble
when he tries to project himself as somebody he`s not. That`s playing
Obama`s game. He needs to play his own game.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, let me ask you this. You are standing there.
You look a little stiff with Donald Trump and your advisers, for whatever
reason, have not stopped you from doing this on the day after you make this
statement. And you are standing with a guy that said this about you as a
job killer. Watch this, Bob.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Mitt Romney is a basically small business guy, if you really
think about it. He was a hedge fund. He was a fund guy. He walked away
with some money from a very good company that he didn`t create. He worked
there. He didn`t create.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: He did create companies, though.

TRUMP: But, look. He would buy companies. He`d close companies.
He`d get rid of jobs. I built a great company.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`d get rid of the jobs. I mean, he attacked this guy
last April. Now he says today he`s a tough guy and will make sure nothing
bad will happen to the country. I guess it wasn`t bad when he was letting
jobs go in his private business.

SHRUM: Yes. Well, look. The Donald knows when the deal is done. He
believes that Romney is going to be the nominee, wants to be with him.

But, you know, as you were talking and as Mark was talking about the
way they looked at the stage and the tableau this presented to the country.
I thought, you know, it looked like a ken doll standing next to Gordon
Gekko.

So, you really reinforce both of Romney`s problems, his stiffness and
his awkwardness. And as Mark suggests, the notion that he`s out of touch.
And I agree that he can`t become the champion of the middle class, but he
can`t look like a guy who doesn`t care about the middle class, doesn`t care
about the poor and thinks only in these very large terms about firing
people, about reorganizing companies.

I mean, he`s going to have to defend that business record and he is
still going to have to put out the 2008 and 2009 taxes in which I suspect
he played little or nothing which is why we haven`t seen them yet.

SHARPTON: Mark. Wouldn`t you, if you are a candidate, a day after he
had this big win in Florida and this gaffe about poor people, if you are
going to do anything today, wouldn`t you get some people that represented
the middle class to come out and endorse your candidate?

I mean, if you had to go and get somebody from anywhere that at least
looked like a blue collar worker or related to working for poor people if
you are going to do any endorsement. That would be the next move today,
wouldn`t it?

MCKINNON: Well, either that or pull a Sister Souljah and just say,
thanks no thanks Mr. Trump. I don`t need your endorsement and I don`t want
it.

SHARPTON: That would have made a headline but that would have been
inauthentic.

MCKINNON: Well, that would have shown he was bold, that would have
shown on his brash, would have shown some leadership. And I guarantee, I
don`t think there`s going to be any Trump bump for Mitt Romney.

SHARPTON: Yes, but it might be a bump down. Bob Shrum and Mark
Mckinnon, thanks for your time.

SHRUM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, justice for homeowners hurt by the Wall Street
crash. We`ll talk with New York attorney general Eric Snyderman heading up
President Obama`s new financial crimes unit.

But first, a Republican politician makes a big mistake on a bill. And
reveals the GOP`s dirty little secret.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: In school when you pass off someone else`s work as your
own, it`s called cheating. But what do you call it when right wingers do
it trying to pass laws? We`ve told you all about the secretive corporate
funded group called ALEC. They write model legislation to promote their
far right agenda and then get lawmakers in states around the country to
present the bills as their own.

It`s been effective, and it`s an effective way to pass similar right
wing laws, different states from anti-abortion to pro-guns.

Well it was only a matter of time, but someone finally got caught.
Florida state representative Rachel Burgin introduced an anti-tax bill last
fall but she forgot to remove ALEC`s mission statement from the top of the
bill which she had apparently copied word for word from ALEC`s model bill.

Common cause reports that the very next day, she took that bill down
and put up the new bill with a new number without the ALEC header. I guess
she was hoping that nobody would notice here what they were doing.

But let me give you some advice, representative. You were elected by
your constituents. You answer to them and not a corporate-backed right
wing group. You are not cheating on homework. You are cheating on
Americans. Next time, hand in your own work.

Nice try. But we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Millions of people who
lost their homes because of dishonest banks and lenders may finally see the
justice they`ve been demanding for years. President Obama has formed a new
unit to look into potential criminal charges in the mortgage mess. And
today he explained why it`s a top item on his agenda.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: And so, when I talk about our
financial institutions playing by the same rules as folks on Main Street or
making sure that unscrupulous lenders aren`t taking advantage of the most
vulnerable among us, I do so because I genuinely believe that it will make
the economy stronger for everybody, but I also do it because I know that
far too many neighbors in our country have been hurt and treated unfairly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Since the market began collapsing in 2007, more than 11
million property owners have been served with foreclosure notices. And in
December, another 205,000 homeowners found out they could, too, soon be on
the streets. Is it fair to let those people lose everything they`ve worked
for while bankers who caused the crisis walk away with millions?

Joining me is New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Thank you
for being here tonight. You said the housing crisis was not a natural
disaster. It was a man-made disaster. So why haven`t people been held
accountable and in your new position is that what you are going after?

ERIC SCHNEIDERMAN, NY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Yes, this is -- as the
President said, this is a very fundamental issue. Our task force is
created under the basic American proposition that there has to be one set
of rules for everybody. That you have to be held accountable no matter how
rich or powerful you are and that the same rules that apply to homeowners
to apply to financial institutions. It`s amazing that anyone would treat
this at all controversial because this is so fundamentally American. The
idea of equal justice under law, you know, is at the heart of this venture
to make America what it`s supposed to be.

So, the President when he created our task force and elevated it in
the state of the union basically threw down the gauntlet saying, whatever
else you may say on the other side, I`m saying this is a country where
there`s one set of rules for everybody and the jurisdiction and the
resources that we have in this task force really are unprecedented. And we
have the ability to go after every aspect of the misconduct that blew up
the American economy, as you said. Millions of people foreclosed on, and
even more remarkably, $7.4 trillion of home equity lost. You want to know
why the gap between the rich and the middle class is so big now?

The wealth of the American working class, the wealthy American middle
class was in their homes. And that`s been lost over the last five years.
$7.4 trillion. So this is about accountability for those who violated the
law. This is about getting relief for those who have suffered. And it`s
also about getting the facts out so they cannot rewrite history. Because
you listen to some of this dialogue going on, particularly in the
republican presidential primary, they are pushing the same sort of
deregulation and let everyone play by their own set of rules stuff that
blew up the economy in the first place.

SHARPTON: I want to ask you about that. But what bothers me when you
look at someone like Mozilo, who was the head of Countywide calling
subprime mortgages the most toxic product he`d ever seen while pocketing
$661 million in profits. I mean, some of these people that just criminally
defrauded people and should be headed to jail.

SCHNEIDERMAN: Well, we just started the joint investigation last
week. And I can`t comment on the details of specific cases. But there are
three possibilities that we`re pursuing. One is that there was conduct
that was legal, but shouldn`t have been legal. And it was market abuse and
we have to make sure that the laws are changed or regulations issued under
Dodd/Frank to make that illegal. The second is that there was unlawful
conduct that doesn`t rise to the level of criminality in which case we
should be going after the profits that were obtained and trying to get
relief for the homeowners and investors. The third is that, there`s some
stuff that may well have been criminal. We`re looking at all of it. My
co-chairs on the working group include the head of the criminal division of
the Justice Department as well as the civil division. So, we`re going to
be looking at everything and looking at all three areas of misconduct.

SHARPTON: All right. We`ll be watching. Now let`s talk a little
about the republican. Let`s talk a little about the republican, let`s go a
little on the political side. Willard Mitt Romney said in an interview
with the "Las Vegas Review" editorial board last fall that foreclosures
should, quote, "hit the bottom." Watch this so people won`t think you and
I are exaggerating this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Foreclosure process, let it
run its course and hit the bottom. Allow investors to buy homes. Put
renters in them, fix the homes up and let turn around and come back up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, how do you respond to something like that?

SCHNEIDERMAN: I think that he is advocating the same kind of
deregulatory madness that`s what blew up the economy in the first place.
You know, the point of our financial markets is to have a well regulated
market so that people play within the boundaries. It`s not a street fight.
It`s a football game. The idea is that you have some rules and people know
what they are. You can`t have a situation in which the message is some
institutions are too big to fail. They will be protected. They get to
keep the profits but put the risk back on the public while regular
homeowners, you`re on your own. That`s the message he`s delivering, that
there 24 sets of rules in this country. One set for the very, very
powerful and another set for the average man and woman on the street.

SHARPTON: Now, Republicans think it`s OK for people to lose their
home. Here`s House Speaker John Boehner just yesterday talking about the
President`s proposal for a new mortgage refinancing plan. This is Boehner.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And all they`ve done
is delay the clearing of the market. The sooner the market clears and we
understand where the prices really are will be the most important thing we
can do in order to improve home values around the country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SCHNEIDERMAN: Clearing of the market means putting all these people
out on the street. You know, you can use euphemisms, but the President
made an important point in the clip you just showed. Even the federal
reserve, which is not some radical housing activist group, said that it is
very important for the banks to write down some of this principle, reduce
some of the debt because if you have a bad loan, the right thing to do in a
business is write down some of the debt. That`s responsible accounting.
You reduce the principal so people can be making their payments so you
don`t have a $250,000 mortgage on a $200,000 home. That family is not
spending any money on other products. They aren`t going out to a
restaurant. They are not helping the economy go. They are doing
everything they can do to pay a loan that`s just too big.

Even the Federal Reserve said it`s time to write down the principal.
Keep more people in their homes. Let them get back to spending and being
productive members of society. The social cost of foreclosure, throwing
people out, kids missing school. What happens to the community around the
empty homes. It`s a disaster. And I think that this -- let the market
bottom out. Let people get out in the streets approach. It`s bad for the
economy. It`s not true to the American principle of equal justice under
law and it`s just inhumane.

SHARPTON: New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. Thanks
for your time tonight. And good luck on your national assignment.

Ahead -- the national outrage over the Komen foundation pulling its
funding from Planned Parenthood. Experts are now saying the health of
thousands of women is being put at risk. Turns out it`s all about right
wing politics. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Outrage is growing against the world`s leading breast
cancer charity group, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Charity. After
pulling funds from Planned Parenthood for breast cancer exams. The
decisions igniting a controversy about the charity putting politics ahead
of people. This picture showing a cut ribbon is popping up all over the
internet. Komen`s Founder and CEO Nancy Brinker responded in this YouTube
video released last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NANCY BRINKER, FOUNDER AND CEO, KOMEN: Recently we implemented new
granting strategies and criteria that some have regrettably
mischaracterized. We will never bow to political pressure.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She says they are not bowing to political pressure, but
we`re getting a closer look into the charity and the picture is very
disturbing. Brinker founded the organization in her sister`s name 30 years
ago. She`s a prominent republican who served as ambassador under former
President George W. Bush. Brinker and her late husband gave over $600,000
to republican. Then there`s Karen Handel, Komen`s senior vice president
for Public Policy. She joined Komen just last April after running for
Governor of Georgia in 2010 on an anti-abortion platform. She describes
herself as a pro-life Christian and said, quote, "I do not support the
mission of Planned Parenthood."

After the explosion of outrage, Handel re-tweeted this quote. "Just
like a pro-abortion group to turn a cancer organization`s decision into a
political bomb to throw. Cry me a freaking river," end of quote. She has
since deleted that tweet. But take a look at her twitter bio. It says
lifelong conservative republican. Brinker says, they`re not bowing to
political pressure but the Atlantic reports three sources with direct
knowledge of the Komen decision-making process told me that the rules were
adopted in order to create an excuse to cut off Planned Parenthood. The
case building against them is strong and is disturbing.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Gwen Moore of Wisconsin.
Congresswoman, thanks for your time tonight.

REP. GWEN MOORE, WISCONSIN: Oh, so good to be with you here, Reverend
Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Komen says, this was not a political decision. What do you
think, Congresswoman?

MOORE: You know, it is really tragic because it does appear to fold
into so many other political efforts to defund Planned Parenthood. In
recent -- this particular Congress when Republicans have been in charge of
the House of Representatives. And just let me say, 200,000 women will be
diagnosed with cancer this year. Forty thousand of them will die which is
one of the reasons that it was so important to have this relationship
between Komen and Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood does four million
breast exams each year.

Hundred and seventy thousand of them were made possible through the
Komen Foundation. And I tell you, three quarters of the million women
every year sort of hesitate and are sent to seek further treatment so that
they -- because they might have breast cancer. This is a life-saving exam.
Let me tell you, breast cancer is second only to skin cancer in women. And
this is a very, very dangerous partisan political play that will harm so
many women, especially low income women, Reverend Sharpton.

Now, Congresswoman, for people around the country, they ought to know
the truth about Planned Parenthood and what they do. Ninety seven percent
of their treatments are cancer screenings, birth control, STD treatments,
sexual health education. Only three percent are abortions. Clearly the
people that you`ve laid out the numbers that were getting treatment and
screenings for cancer, all of this has been at jeopardized in the name of
something that is not even factored in here.

MOORE: And let me tell you, Reverend Sharpton, not a penny of these
Komen dollars went toward abortions. Not a penny of government money goes
toward abortions. And as you`ve mentioned, the majority of the services
are for STD treatments for men and women, exams and I tell you, African-
Americans and people at or below 150 percent of the poverty level depend on
Planned Parenthood for their primary health care. And so this is going to
put many, many poor women at risk, particularly as we see the Republican
Party trying their best to jettison all kinds of universal health care
strategies. Trying to kill Medicaid. We are going -- we are facing really
unhealthy future for Americans, particularly women, and particularly women
who are poor.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you to stand by one minute, Congresswoman.
Because I`d like to bring in Patrick Hurd and his wife Betsy. Pat is the
CEO of Planned Parenthood of southeastern Virginia and Betsi is currently
battling breast cancer and has run in the Komen fund-raising races in the
past. Thank you both for joining me this evening.

PAT HURD, CEO, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: Thanks for having us, Reverend.

BETSI HURD, BATTLING BREAST CANCER: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Pat, what is your reaction to this decision?

PAT HURD: I`m disappointed. I`m saddened. I`m frustrated. And I`m
fearful. I`m especially fearful for the women that are not going to be
able to have the life-saving screening, the life-saving breast education
that these Komen funds provide. I am hopeful that our supporters stand up
and help us in this so that we can continue to serve the communities here
in Hampton Rhodes. We are especially concerned because the incidents of
breast cancer is one out of six women versus one out of eight nationally.
It`s a crying need. And as the congresswoman said, it`s especially a
crying need among women of color. So, I hope Komen changes its mind.

SHARPTON: Now, this is personal for you, too, because Betsi your wife
is sitting next to you. Betsy, tell us what you are going through now with
your health.

BETSI HURD: Yes. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May and had
my surgery in June. I have completed my chemotherapy treatments in
December and today I just had my very first radiation treatment. It`s very
difficult to go through this, and you need to be examined and to catch it
as soon as possible so your treatments aren`t the most extreme as such as
what I`m having to go through.

SHARPTON: You went through radiation today for the first time?

BETSI HURD: Yes, sir, I did.

SHARPTON: So, when you look at this, Patrick, you are looking at
something that you actually are living with, so you absolutely have even
more of identifying and empathy with those that you want to continue to
serve in your capacity.

PAT HURD: Absolutely. Cancer is nonpartisan. It doesn`t care
whether you are republican or democrat, progressive or conservative, it
doesn`t care what religion you are. I sit there when Betsi was doing the
chemo and politics didn`t come up. All the people around us, the family
and friends that were there to support the cancer patients, all they were
concerned about was living to tomorrow, to next week, to next month and to
next year. And to bring politics into this, to bring that kind of debate
into this is shameful. It really is shameful.

SHARPTON: Betsi, if you could talk to some of those that are making
this decision about funding, as a woman, as a wife of one working in the
vineyard and as one that has this health challenge, what would you say to
them?

BETSI HURD: I would say, reconsider this decision. The monies that
came from Komen went to educating women about breast cancer and breast
exams and went to the exams themselves that are taking -- that are done
there at Planned Parenthood. Without this funding, some of that might need
to end. I hope our -- the people who go along with Planned Parenthood will
continue their funding to us so that we can do this. But it really is, you
know, I thought Komen stood for helping women get diagnosed and prevention,
actually. And with taking these funds away from one of the organizations
that does this for the underserved and underinsured population, I think
it`s just a travesty.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Moore, you`ve heard this couple. It`s very
moving. Can Congress stop this, Congresswoman Moore?

MOORE: Let me tell you something. First of all, I want to say that I
just -- peace and blessings upon you, Pat and Betsi and hopefully your
treatments will work well for you. They`ve made great strides in cancer
treatment and Komen Foundation, Planned Parenthood, both of these
organizations were at the forefront of early detection and getting women
into treatment. You know, today Planned Parenthood advocates for all over
the country, Planned Parenthood was able to raise about the same amount of
money that they are going to lose from Komen. But it`s not just about the
money. It`s about the camaraderie that people had on the nonpartisan basis
to be able to walk together, to end this plague for women.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to butt in. I have a hard break. But
you`re absolutely right, Congresswoman. And I hope people continue to
stand up in the Congress and correct this. Congresswoman Moore, thank you
for your passion on this and being there. Mr. and Mrs. Hurd, bless you the
both of you, and thank you for your time tonight.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The republican attack on voting rights is ramping up in
2012. With the one first major blow coming in the crucial swing state of
Virginia. The Virginia House has passed a harsh new bill requiring a valid
ID in order to vote. It`s expected to be passed in the state Senate and
signed into law by Governor Bob McDonald. Just in time to affect the
election in November. In 2008, President Obama beat John McCain by only
235,000 votes. Out of nearly 3.7 million cast.

Republicans wouldn`t have to do much to flip this state red. And
they`ve apparently decided that suppressing the vote is the way to do it.
But these attacks have been going on for decades. On this day, 1965,
Martin Luther King, Jr. and hundreds of others were arrested in Selma,
Alabama, after conducting a voter registration drive. Back then only one
percent of African-Americans in the city were registered to vote. Civil
rights hero John Lewis marched with King to fight this kind of injustice.
I talked to the congressman recently about the new fight to protect voting
rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: The vote is precious. It is almost
sacred. And to be able to participate in the democratic process, to be
able to cast a vote should be very simple. Almost like getting a glass of
water.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That generation with Dr. King in 1965 marched and fought to
protect and get us the right to vote. In March of this year, this
generation is going to fight what`s going on in Virginia. We`re going back
to Selma, and we`re going to bring national attention to the big fight
about maintaining the right that was fought and gotten for us to use our
vote.

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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