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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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Guests: Ed Rendell, Chip Saltsman, Randi Weingarten, Jan Schakowsky, Bill Press, Perry Bacon, Brian Silva

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead: Boston, we have a problem.

Mitt Romney is stumbling. The Republican Party is deeply divided and
could be on the verge of civil war.

Willard first saw signs of trouble in Florida. He won big there, but
38 percent of voters said they still wanted someone else to run.

Last night proved that point. Willard lost all three battles:
Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.

At this point in the race, he`s won fewer states than Rick Santorum.
Rick Santorum, the man who appeals to conservatives by saying things like
this --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t want to make black
people`s lives better by giving them somebody else`s money.

You know, contraception is OK. It`s not OK. It`s a license to do
things in the sexual -- in the sexual realm.

You`ve been conditioned to thinking that health care is something that
you should get and not have to pay for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Him? Really, Republicans?

And because Romney doesn`t appeal to the far right, last night he
didn`t just lose, he lost badly. In Colorado, Romney got 46 percent less
of the vote than he did when he ran in 2008. In Missouri, he got over
100,000 less votes than he did four years ago. That`s 63 percent less.
And in Minnesota, he got nearly 70 percent less votes than he did the last
time around.

This, despite the fact that he had the backing of former Minnesota
governor Tim Pawlenty.

So what does Willard have to say about all of this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think we expected a
long process, as you`ve heard me say over some months now. As you know, we
didn`t devote a lot of money and time to the states yesterday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Willard, money can`t buy love. And all the money in the
world isn`t buying the Republican conservative base for you.

Joining me now, former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC
political analyst, and Chip Saltsman, who is a Republican strategist and
who was Mike Huckabee`s campaign manager in 2008.

It`s great to have both of you on this evening.

CHIP SALTSMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Good to be with you.

ED RENDELL, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be with you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, let me start with you. Are we looking at
a Republican civil war here?

RENDELL: Well, possibly, but I think what we`re looking at is -- and
for the first time, I`m beginning to think there`s a possibility. I still
believe Mitt Romney will win enough states as the only candidate with the
money to compete across the board, that he probably will have enough
delegates to be the nominee. But I think we`re looking at the possibility
of the Republicans going (INAUDIBLE) without someone having 50 percent of
the delegates.

SHARPTON: Let me get your audio a little straight, Governor, because
something is with your audio. Let me go to Chip while they straighten you
out.

Chip, let me ask you something. You have said, I believe, that this
all comes down to Super Tuesday.

Why are you saying that, if you said it, and what happens if Super
Tuesday, Romney doesn`t clear the deck and do a clean sweep?

SALTSMAN: Well, first, Reverend Sharpton, I`m not sure you can ever
get Governor Rendell straightened out, but you all should try. And I also
think --

SHARPTON: That wasn`t fair, but go ahead.

RENDELL: That`s OK.

SALTSMAN: Hey, I said give it a shot and do the best you can.

RENDELL: I sort of agree with him.

(LAUGHTER)

SALTSMAN: My mother probably would agree with you about me.

But Super Tuesday is going to be so important because you`ve got so
many states on the board. You`re going to have to have money,
organization.

Look, Senator Santorum did a great job last night. He put three big
wins on the board. He shows he has passion. He talks about the issues
very well. People respond to him.

Governor Romney is going to have to come back now and say, what`s my
case to be the best candidate to Barack Obama? I don`t see this as a
Republican civil war, I see this as a Republican primary that`s going to
make us stronger in November to beat Barack Obama.

SHARPTON: Well, you ran against him. You ran Mike Huckabee`s
campaign against Romney.

Is Romney a better candidate now? And if so, why is he not connecting
with the base? He has literally lost more than he`s won.

SALTSMAN: Well, you know, and I think it`s a little bit tough looking
at those numbers from last year because you have different pools of votes.
And there are less votes than there was four years ago, but there are
different setups.

Like, for instance, ,Missouri did not award any delegates last night.
So it wasn`t kind of as important. They`re going to award their delegates
next month. So, the enthusiasm there for a lot of different voters to come
out, not as much, so you get more maybe conservative-leaning voters to go
out.

Again, taking nothing away from Senator Santorum.

From four years ago, I think Mitt Romney has made some great strides.
I think he is a better candidate than he was four years ago.

He was probably not my first choice to run for president. Mike
Huckabee was my first choice, but he`s not running.

But I he think has been so disciplined over the first year of this
campaign, and I think now he`s taken a couple of strong shots to the jaw.
We`re going to see if he can take a punch. And if he can take that punch
and come back, he`ll be a better, stronger nominee for it.

SHARPTON: But Governor Rendell, when you say -- when you hear people
say, as Chip is saying, that less people came out in Missouri, I mean, less
people have come out in all of these primaries. Where is this great voter
turnout that can`t wait to vote against President Obama?

I mean, are the Republicans in denial? They are flopping when it
comes to showing that people are just biting at the -- to go out and get
rid of the president.

RENDELL: Clearly, only in South Carolina was Republican turnout up
from four years ago. And that`s really a very, very damaging thing for
them to deal with.

Secondly, I agree with what Chip said about Missouri, but Colorado is
shocking. For Governor Romney to get so many fewer votes than he did four
years ago in Colorado, when he got 60 percent of the overall vote, is
really shocking.

And I think what`s happening is Governor Romney is starting to pay the
price, one, for the negative campaign. You look at the favorable ratings
that Rick Santorum has, because he hasn`t done any negative ads, and you
look at Gingrich and Romney, they are paying for the mean and mean-
spirited, negative campaigns they`ve run. That`s number one.

And number two, the just constant series of gaffes that Governor
Romney has made, which are mystifying to me because he was a good
businessman and a good governor -- it`s mystifying -- but those constant
series of gaffes are starting to hurt him. It`s cumulative. That and the
negatives.

And I said -- you didn`t hear me, Rev. I said for the first time, I`m
beginning to believe, and I would never have said this about modern
elections, but there may not be a Republican with 50 percent of the
delegates going into Tampa. And you may see a brokered convention. You
may see them turn to a Jeb Bush or somebody like that to be the nominee.

It`s still unlikely. Governor Romney does have a chance to recoup.
He`s got the most money. He`s got -- in the northern states, I think he`s
got the best message. But we`ll see.

But I think for the first time, the weakness is so apparent, that you
might see something we never expected to see.

SHARPTON: Chip, let me give you the benefit of the doubt that
Governor Romney does pull it out, Super Tuesday he is the nominee. Let`s
get to this message that Governor Rendell says is good in the north in
terms of Republican primaries.

He`s saying job creator. He`s challenging the president, job creator.
Is that fair?

SALTSMAN: I think so. I mean --

SHARPTON: All right. Now -- and the job creator theme he`s using,
let me read you a "Washington Post" article that reports, as Massachusetts
governor, Romney had an unremarkable record on jobs. This is the jobs
candidate.

"The unemployment rate fell in Massachusetts only because people were
leaving the workforce in droves under Romney`s term. Just one state had a
bigger drop in the labor force during the same period. That was Louisiana,
which was hit by Hurricane Katrina" during that time.

How does he run as a job creator when he served as governor and this
was what he did? He didn`t create jobs in Massachusetts.

SALTSMAN: Well, I think his record would disagree with that article
from "The Washington Post." And I know it`s going to shock you, Reverend,
when most Republicans and most people around the country don`t look to "The
Washington Post" to be their encyclopedia on job creation.

SHARPTON: No, but we`re not talking about the opinion page. We`re
talking about facts. You can`t -- the fact is --

SALTSMAN: I think the facts are --

SHARPTON: -- that the numbers went down in the labor force. Whether
it was in "The Washington Post" or "Washington Times," facts are facts.

SALTSMAN: I think the facts are that Governor Romney did create jobs
in Massachusetts, but more importantly, he tried to create an environment
that the private sector could create jobs. And I think that`s what the
argument is going to be in November, is you have got Barack Obama, an
administration now that really truly believes that government creates jobs.
And I think Governor Romney -- and I would even say Governor Rendell to a
point -- believes that governors and people in the government should create
an environment with lower taxes, less regulation, so the private sector and
current jobs can create more jobs, not the government.

That`s true growth. That`s how we get better. That`s how we get a
better economy, that`s how we get more jobs. That`s how unemployment goes
down, is when the private sector does this work. The government`s job is
to create an environment to lower taxes and less regulation.

SHARPTON: But Chip, if the private sector, because of Romney`s
governorship had such a great environment, then why were people leaving the
state in droves? I mean, Chip, you`re good, but come on.

SALTSMAN: Well, I would say this -- as governor, he had a lot of good
bills that were not being able to pass by a legislature that was 85 percent
Democrat. He was swimming upstream every step of the way. So he did it
through regulation and department mandates.

SHARPTON: OK. So he created the environment, but he didn`t create
them because the Democrats didn`t pass the bill. So did he create the
environment or did he not create the environment?

SALTSMAN: That`s not what I`m saying, Reverend. He tried his best to
create the environment. But more importantly, he understands how you
create an environment to create jobs, and that`s what we want in a
government.

I don`t want anybody in the government that thinks the government
creates jobs. I want them to be able to create an environment that`s lower
taxes, less regulation, so I, as a job creator, or you, as a job creator,
can go out, have a great idea, start a business, raise capital, and put
everything on the line to be successful. And that`s what made this country
great, not government regulations.

SHARPTON: All right.

Governor Rendell, let me go to you, because clearly Chip is saying
that he created the environment, but he didn`t. Let me go to you.

Did last night hurt the Republicans, Governor?

RENDELL: Well, sure. The best thing for the Republican Party would
have been for Governor Romney to win two of those three primaries and take
a giant step towards locking this up early, because the longer this goes
on, the worse it`s going to be.

You know, Chip is a good soldier, and he echoes the party line, but
anybody who thinks that this debacle, this Republican primary season and
caucus season, has made them stronger for the fall is delusional. This has
created in the minds of Independent voters a party that`s just out of
control.

We saw a clown circus for most of the year. Governor Romney, the one
supposedly stable, strong candidate who appeals to moderates and
Independents, has made gaffe after gaffe. The negativity of the campaign
is beginning to come home to roost.

I will tell you, I believe that Rick Santorum won in Colorado,
especially in Colorado, because he was likable -- he`s a likable guy --
because he has a clear message, and because he has stayed away from the
negatives which are starting to pile up. People listen to negative ads,
but after a while, they turn on the messenger. And I think Mitt Romney`s
greatest challenge -- and I think Chip would agree with me -- is going
forward, to give people a reason to vote for him.

SHARPTON: I`ve got to go. I disagree with you on one thing,
Governor. I don`t think Chip will agree with you on anything tonight.

Governor Ed Rendell and Chip Saltsman, thank you for your time this
evening.

RENDELL: My pleasure, Rev.

SALTSMAN: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, remember all the hype about the president losing his
base? Some big numbers just out prove that was all just hype.

Plus, Republicans are coming together challenging President Obama on
birth control, calling it an attack on religion. But their own policies
show what hypocrites they are on this one.

And they just won`t let it go. The conservatives` new conspiracy
theory behind the Clint Eastwood ad is absolutely outrageous.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looked to me like it was an endorsement of
President Obama`s second term. I think it was one of the greatest slight
of hand political operations of the last generation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Go ahead -- make his case again.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Remember the Republican base vowing to be energized to
change Washington, to come out in record numbers and get the president out
of office? Well, that energy seems to be losing steam.

In the Republican voting last night, turnout in all three states was
down from 2008. In Colorado, it was down 7 percent. In Minnesota, it fell
23 percent. And in Missouri, it absolutely plummeted, down 58 percent,
while the Democrats, the one everyone said was losing faith in this
president, are gaining steam.

Just look at this.

Back in July, more Republicans than Democrats said they were very
excited to vote in the presidential election. But today, Democratic voters
have a four-point enthusiasm advantage over their Republican counterparts.

All told, Democratic voter enthusiasm is up 10 percent in the last six
months, while Republicans` enthusiasm is stagnant and flattening. The
message of fairness is working.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What`s at stake aren`t
Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. And we have
to reclaim them.

We`re going to push hard to make sure the millionaires -- somebody
making over a million dollars a year isn`t getting tax breaks and subsidies
that they don`t need. Not out of envy, but out of a sense of fairness.

If we work together and in common purpose, we can build an economy
that gives everybody a fair shot. We can meet this challenge. And we`ll
remind everybody just why it is the United States of America is the
greatest nation on Earth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Randi Weingarten, the president of the
American Federation of Teachers. The AFT just announced they are throwing
their full support behind President Obama in the coming election.

RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Right.

SHARPTON: Randi, thanks for being here.

WEINGARTEN: It`s great to be here. And I`m glad you were replaying
the State of the Union. That was quite a riveting speech that the
president gave, and really talked to the American people about, which side
are you on?

And as you said, Reverend Sharpton, you know, fairness is winning out
now. And that`s always been an American value, and that`s what the
president is focused on. How do we create a fair economy so that people
who work hard, play by the rules, the American ethos, they get a fair shot
at the American dream?

SHARPTON: Now, it`s no secret that the president and his
administration and teachers have not agreed on everything. Why did the AFT
decide to go behind the president fully yesterday?

WEINGARTEN: Well, you know, our members -- well, first off, you`re
right. And there`s always been an open door when we don`t agree. And we
don`t agree on some of the policies about how to implement equal
opportunity for all kids. But what we do agree about is that this election
is about the economy.

This election is a choice, not a referendum. And it`s about two very
different visions of economic policy, one in which you create a climate to
really help people get jobs, keep their homes, invest in education, and the
other which, you know, whether it`s candidate Romney or candidate Gingrich
or candidate Santorum, where they basically say you are left on your own,
except, of course, if you are a big corporation.

Now, on education itself, the president has always been out there
saying we have to get education opportunity for all kids. But sometimes we
think we have to really focus on what front-line educators, the people who
make a difference in kids` lives every day, are saying about teaching and
learning, and less on the issues like competition and accountability. More
on teaching and learning and less on how you measure it.

SHARPTON: Now, we hear that some people are disappointed in the
Democratic base, but I think a lot of what is going on -- and you have your
ear to the ground, Randi -- is that they`re almost frightened by the other
side. And I think some of the enthusiasm we`re seeing is that, as you
said, people see the choice, they are saying, wait a minute, this -- we may
have some disagreement, but there`s a whole different world view that has
been expressed by the other side.

WEINGARTEN: Right.

SHARPTON: Is that what you`re hearing? And how do we deal with those
that are disappointed in -- on the Democratic base side?

WEINGARTEN: Look, I think that there`s been disappointment because
people put a huge amount of faith in Barack Obama to be able to have a
magic wand and change what was 10 years of reckless economic policies and
which are still lingering. We are still feeling, and really Main Street is
still reeling from the effects of this last recession.

Poverty is up. The middle class is down. And so I think people had
this faith that everything would change quickly, and it didn`t, although
the president has really tried to stimulate the economy and to change
things.

I think what you are also seeing, Reverend Sharpton, is that people
see the overreach in places like Ohio, in places like Wisconsin, in places
like Florida, in places like Indiana, where these newer Republican
governors used the angst of the anxiety that people were feeling, but they
used it to cut people`s rights, to create voter suppression. In Wisconsin,
for example, it was not about whether or not we had to make budget cuts and
pension cuts in order to try to deal with the budget. What Walker did was
he cut people`s voice, he cut their rights, and didn`t create one new job.

SHARPTON: Right. Well, isn`t that really what has happened, Randi,
is that when a lot of dissatisfaction, when a lot of disaffection was being
expressed, the Tea Party Republicans seized on that, took control of the
Congress and some state houses, and then used that control to go after
unions, go after working middle class, to go after people? And really, in
many ways, I think we`re beginning to see it backfire, because people began
to be awakened by the fact that they had empowered people that absolutely
wanted to eradicate the things we all took for granted like labor rights
and voting rights and civil rights --

WEINGARTEN: Exactly.

SHARPTON: -- and gender rights.

WEINGARTEN: Because these rights are -- these are American values.
America is always about giving people opportunity, giving people rights,
creating a climate so we all can prosper, not taking rights away.

And what happened is that in the guise of, well, we have to deal with
budget cuts, cuts that workers never created -- workers in America did not
create the recklessness in the economy, in the housing market, at Wall
Street, but they used it to say we`re cutting other people`s rights, we`re
dividing Americans from Americans. And I think people are seeing that.

Now, you know, it`s -- we still have to work hard. And it doesn`t
mean that we all agree on everything. But, you know, this election is
about, what economic future do we want? And do we want a future that
recreates and rebuilds a middle class, that invests in schools, that keeps
people in their homes, that builds bridges and tunnels, and creates that
American dream we want?

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Randi. I`m going to have to let it
go there.

Randi Weingarten, thank you for joining us tonight.

WEINGARTEN: Thanks so much.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Republicans are driving themselves crazy over
that Clint Eastwood ad. Now they are talking about subliminal messages.
I`m serious.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The Republican effort to suppress the vote is in full
swing. Just today we learned the Missouri State House has backed a photo
I.D. bill. That`s why we will not stop fighting.

Next month, we`ll march against voter suppression. Labor unions and
civil rights groups will join our National Action Network from March 4th
through the 9th. We`ll retrace the route of the historic 1965 voting
rights march from Selma to Montgomery. The march brought international
attention to the struggle for civil rights.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We cannot allow this to be some backroom argument in
legislative chambers. We are going to expose this on the highways and
byways of Alabama as it was done in 1965.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: For more information on the march, visit
www.nationalactionnetwork.net, or visit our Web site,
politicsnation.msnbc.com.

They`ll keep trying, but we will not stop fighting for our rights.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. With the economy getting
better, republicans are going back to their old reliable. The culture
wars. They are trying to attack President Obama using social issues.
Today, they are accusing him of waging a war on religion because of his new
policy requiring employers provide insurance for birth control.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: If the President does
not reverse the department`s attack on religious freedom, and then the
Congress acting on behalf of the American people and the constitution, that
we`re sworn to uphold and defend, must. This attack by the federal
government on religious freedom in our country must not stand and will not
stand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But this isn`t an attack on religious freedom. The
American think -- the American people think it`s the right thing to do.
Fifty five percent of all Americans, including 58 percent of Catholics
think employers should provide contraception coverage to their employees.
So once again, Republicans find themselves on the wrong side of public
opinion and now Democrats are hitting back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Women in this country are tired
of being treated like a political football by Republicans in Congress who
have tried continually and are continuing to try to take away their
benefits, to take away their rights. Women deserve to be respected. They
don`t want congressmen and senators, whether you are the Speaker of the
House or the republican leader telling you what to think and what to do.
We will use every legislative tool at our disposal to protect the women of
America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, democrat from
Illinois. Congressman is this fight more about politics than policy?

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Well, it`s certainly very serious
for women if the Republicans are going to try to stop access to
contraceptives for all women with no co-pays no matter where they work.
That was the idea of this preventive service for women. A health care
service. A basic health care service that 98 percent of Catholic women and
99 percent of all women in America use. And 28 states already require that
there not be a total religious -- that religious institutions like
hospitals and universities provide this service. So for women, this is a
serious battle. I hope that the Republicans will and especially, we hear a
lot from men on this, will understand how important it is to the women of
America.

SHARPTON: Now Congresswoman, you talked about the 28 states that
already have it. And there are eight states that has it without
exemptions. But I think that the framing of this is a little disturbing to
me. If I am a person that lives and works in an area that does not get a
lot of services and, therefore, I get a job that I badly need at a hospital
that is run by religious institution, don`t I as a woman have the right to
want to be covered just like someone across town that may have different
options for jobs? Isn`t this really about protecting people`s rights that
work in these facilities that are not necessarily of the religious belief
or a member of that church. Isn`t it their rights at stakes here, not the
institution`s rights?

SCHAKOWSKY: Absolutely, and thank you for that. That`s right. That
these women who are secretaries or nurses or orderlies or changing beds,
they are -- this is their job. And they certainly deserve to have the same
health care as everyone else in the country just because they work for a
hospital that is sponsored by a religious organization. Absolutely they
should have that. And let`s remember, Reverend Al, these are hospitals
that work in the public space. They get funding from the federal
government, Medicare, Medicaid kinds of funding, and they should be
treating their employees like all employees. Basic health care services
should be provided to them. And that minimally is access to contraception.
And, you know, Reverend Al, 58 percent of women who use a birth control
pill, use it not only to prevent a pregnancy but for other reasons, other
health care reasons. And so are these women going to be denied access to
that basic care?

SHARPTON: Now, you raised something interesting because I am an
activist and I believe in taking a stand, but you stand by what you
believe, but you pay the consequences. If these institutions are getting
federal money as you say, Medicaid money, how can they then tell the
government that the government must not follow the law. I want your money
government, but you must do what I say, not I must do what you say, even
though I`m taking federal government money from taxpayers that may not
believe in my religion.

SCHAKOWSKY: Exactly. You know, we`ve already exempted 335,000
churches and houses of worship from this rule because most of the people
who work there are of the same religion. But when you`ve got these kinds
of institutions that are widely available to all kinds of employees and all
kinds of users of different faiths, to impose this on those workers is
really discrimination against them. This is not religious discrimination.
This is not an attack on religious freedom. And you know, if you even want
to go there, what about the religious freedom of women to choose for
themselves? Does the religious freedom of an institution override that of
an individual that is associated with that institution? The bishops seem
to think so, and fortunately, the Obama administration has said no.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there. I think you have
made it very clear what the issues are tonight. Congressman Jan
Schakowsky, thank you for your time.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Conservatives try to go after Clint Eastwood for his Super
Bowl ad. And just wait until you hear their new tactic. It`s outrageous.
That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (R), UNITED STATE: The best way I`ve heard
expressed what`s clear in shorthand is, Osama Bin Laden`s dead and General
Motors is alive. That`s the best way.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Vice President Joe Biden making a strong simple case for a
second term. And Republicans just can`t take it. On a whole range of
issues, they are in complete denial. Refusing to give the President credit
for his signature achievements. But this one might take the cake.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: They`ve got a foreign policy that has
shown a lot of weakness. I know the President will say, well, we got Bin
Laden. Putting that aside.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And the public gives him credit for that.

HANNITY: They do. The public does give him credit for -- but it
wouldn`t have happened if he had his way.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It wouldn`t have happened if he had his way. That makes no
sense. President Obama did have it his way. And he got Bin Laden.
Republicans also can`t accept the fact the President is creating jobs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: And I know the President
didn`t cause this downturn. This recession. But he didn`t make it better
either. He made it worse.

BOEHNER: So what I`m suggesting to you today is that we can do
better. You know, the American people are still asking a question -- where
are the jobs?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And they definitely can`t accept that auto bailout worked,
which is why they are driving themselves crazy over Clint Eastwood`s Super
Bowl ad for Chrysler.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KARL ROVE, FORMER ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT BUSH: To turn something that
was a great iconic moment, good feeling moment and turn it into something
that`s transparently political and makes the White House again look like
just a bunch of cheap Chicago polls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Perry Bacon Jr., political editor at the
Grio.com and MSNBC contributor and Bill Press, nationally syndicated radio
host and author of "The Obama Hate Machine: The Lies, Distortion and
Personal Attacks on The President and Who is Behind Them." Great to have
you both with us tonight.

PERRY BACON JR., POLITICAL EDITOR, GRIO.COM: Thanks, Reverend Al.

BILL PRESS, AUTHOR, "THE OBAMA HATE MACHINE": Thanks Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Perry, Republicans just can`t let it go, right? This Clint
Eastwood ad I`m talking about. They just can`t let it go.

BACON: Yes, Al. I think at some point the Republicans do have to
concede, the President has had some successes. For three years they
basically argued everything he`s done has been wrong. But I think in some
way, they have to switch, and they want to win the election. And kind to
make a different argument and say, here`s President Obama`s values, here
are values, and here`s how they are different. But I think the whole
argument that he`s failing, this is not working in the light of GM, the
stimulus, the unemployment rate going down, Osama Bin Laden. You have to
make a different argument for the Republicans to win.

SHARPTON: Bill, it`s a couple of days after the ad and they are still
going crazy. Look at this reaction again on the ad. This is today`s
stuff.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Critics say, the commercial looks like a blatant
promo for the president`s re-election campaign.

STUART VARNEY, HOST, "VARNEY AND COMPANY": To put his face and voice
on that ad, which looked very much like it was supporting a second term for
President Obama. I think it`s one of the great sleight of hand political
operations of the last generation.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It made me think of subliminal messages.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Subliminal messages? Sleight of hand? I mean, didn`t the
auto industry get bailed out, and are we not seeing America starting to
come back? I mean, what are they talking about, Bill?

PRESS: My question to them is, so what`s not to like here, OK?
General Motors is back. Bigger than ever. Better than ever, producing
better cars, factories -- new factories opening up, new workers getting
jobs. Chrysler is back. The American auto industry is back. What is
subliminal about that? And what don`t they like? I mean, they cannot take
yes for an answer, Reverend Al. That`s the problem. You know, what Perry
said is right. Look, President Obama hasn`t done everything right but I
don`t think whether you are republican or democrat, the fact that
unemployment is down now to 8.3 percent, two-and-a-half million jobs in the
last year. Two hundred and forty three thousand last month alone. The
Dow, the highest last Friday that it`s been in three years. Corporate
profits are at an all-time high. I mean, that`s not a lot to complain
about. That`s something to be happy about.

SHARPTON: Yes, but Perry, I think all of that that Bill said, I would
agree. But I think where they lose a lot of credibility is none of that
was in Clint Eastwood`s ad. He was talking about the auto industry and
Detroit coming back. Wasn`t making a case. Wasn`t doing the unemployment
numbers. Just talking about how we`re proud Americans that Americans stood
through some tough times. They distort that. Doesn`t this backfire on
them?

BACON: I think it does. Republicans have to be careful not to seem
like they are rooting for higher unemployment. I don`t think they are, but
they have to be careful not to root for higher unemployment, jobs not
coming back. You have to be -- Americans want an optimistic party and an
optimistic person to vote for which is why Mitt Romney on some levels not
doing very well either. He attacks Gingrich, he attacks Santorum. He
doesn`t say what he`s for. And he has to do that if he`s going to win this
election in the primary or the election gets Obama if he gets there.

SHARPTON: Now, Bill, when you talk on the political side, they are
not even winning that argument. Polls are showing, when people are asked
who do they trust to protect the middle class, "The Washington Post," the
ABC poll, 55 percent trust President Obama. Only 37 percent trust Willard
Mitt Romney. Then the poll on who you trust to handle terrorism. Fifty
six percent trust President Obama. Only 36 percent trust Romney. And it
is rare that we`ve seen Republicans poll so low in the trust factor on
terrorism.

PRESS: No, and there you`ve got Sean Hannity trying to deny that
President Obama cared about or had anything to do with getting Osama Bin
Laden. We remember what George Bush said about him, right? He`s just one
person and I don`t think about him that much anymore. But you know,
Reverend Al, I think that -- I`m going to echo what Perry said. Mitt
Romney, John Boehner lose credibility in my opinion when it`s all dump,
dump, dump on Obama, attack, attack, attack Obama. They`ve got to
recognize that some things that have happened are good. It`s good that
Osama Bin Laden is gone. It`s good that Muammar Gadhafi is gone. And the
other things I mentioned are good. And it`s good that Detroit is back for
America. Not just for Obama.

SHARPTON: And I think that in many ways, the extreme, when you take
the extreme, Perry, then I think it -- and it begins to raise questions on
things that you might say are very reasonable because people no longer
trust the judgment of the people that are talking.

PRESS: That`s right. I mean, Romney is right. Romney talked about
unemployment the other day. About how the real unemployment rate is still
pretty high. A lot of people are underemployed. That`s true. And the
economy is not perfect. You reduce credibility for that when the party you
are representing says things like the President didn`t want to capture Bin
Laden. They have to sort of narrow down the criticisms and not seem kind
of out of touch of where things are.

SHARPTON: Now, is this bill a sign of desperation? Is it that they
can`t find a message? Are they tone deaf? I mean, I just can`t understand
why it`s such an approach.

PRESS: No. I think it`s clearly desperation on their part because
they have no messages as to what they are for. They want to attack Obama.
And yet they see things getting better and they don`t know where to turn.
But I just want to mention one thing, Reverend Al. I expect this from
Republicans. What troubles me is, I hear this same message not giving
President Obama credit enough from too many liberals and too many
progressives who say, because we didn`t get the public plan option, right,
or because we have Timothy Geithner as Treasury Secretary, I`m not going to
vote this time. I`m not going to -- I don`t trust President Obama. And
you know, I just tell them, get real. Make a list of the good things he`s
done and the things you are disappointed in. The good list far, is far,
far longer than the other one.

SHARPTON: But don`t you think, Perry, at the end that with all of the
grumbling and some of it very legitimate, that the base, the liberal,
progressive base has, at the end of the day as we just said in another
segment with Randi Weingarten, it`s going to be a choice they`re going to
have to make?

BACON: I was in it for the both parties. At the end of the day, most
Republicans are going to get behind Romney. Most Democrats will get behind
President Obama and elections will be decided in the middle as they always
are. And depend a lot on how the economy is doing in November 2012.

SHARPTON: Well, I think you`re right. You`re never going to get all
you want no matter what. I had one sister growing up. I remember one
night she says, if I can`t get the dessert I want, I`m not eating. You
know what I said? Can I have your chicken? Perry Bacon Jr., Bill Press,
thanks for your time tonight.

PRESS: Thanks, Reverend Al.

BACON: Good to be here, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Up next, health care, jobs, boom. Alive and well. The
boom is here. And we`ll talk to an executive with 1300 openings on our
here are the jobs series. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Now, to our ongoing series, here are the jobs, where we try
to help people find where there are job openings. Tonight, jobs in health
care. One article says, quote, "If you are looking for guaranteed
employment during the next eight years, become a nurse." The Labor
Department says, the health care industry is growing. And it`s expected to
keep growing over the next decade. Adding more than five million new jobs.
One reason is the nation`s aging population. Doctors, nurses, home health
aides and health care technicians will be in high demand as the aging baby
boomers seek out more care. In January, employers added 33,000 new health
care jobs in the health care related area. Health care provider for
seniors, medical care, is one of those companies that`s hiring workers all
over the country. Right now, they are looking for more than 1300 jobs.

Joining me now, Brian Silva, the company`s senior vice president of
Resources. Thank you for coming on the show tonight.

BRIAN SILVA, FRESENIUS MEDICAL CARE: Thank you very much, al.

SHARPTON: Tell us what kinds of jobs are available and what kind of
jobs are you looking to fill?

SILVA: Well, as you mentioned, Al, we have over 1,000 job openings
throughout the entire company. We have close to 2,000 locations here in
North America. The primary job categories, we have over 400 openings for
registered nurses. We have 300 openings for patient care technicians.
Those are the individuals that help operate our dialysis machines in our
clinics. And another 100 openings for clinical managers. So, with 2,000
locations around North America, we have a lot of different opportunities
for a lot of different people.

SHARPTON: Now, these permanent jobs, and where are the locations at?

SILVA: They are all permanent jobs, Al, and they are located
throughout North America. We have 2,000 locations. It includes about 1800
dialysis clinics. We have two major manufacturing facilities. One in
Ogden, Utah and one in Walnut Creek, California. We also have
laboratories. One on the East Coast in New Jersey and another on the West
Coast in California. And we also have over 30 outpatient surgical centers.
In addition to a lot of different openings that we have in our corporate
office.

SHARPTON: Now, these are competitive salaries and benefits?

SILVA: They are very competitive salaries. And the benefits we have
are really great, Al. In addition to the usual ones that you would see, as
far as medical care and dental, for our clinicians, we offer up to $5,000
in tuition reimbursement. We have great paid time off. And in addition to
that, we have a lot of flexibility in the scheduling. Also for our
clinicians, we`ll help them get their certifications if you are patient
care technician. And if you are a nurse, we`ll help you keep your
credentials and we`ll give your continuing ed.

SHARPTON: All right. Let`s talk about nursing. It`s the fastest
growing occupation in the country. But at the same time, a nursing
shortage in some parts of the country. You are trying to hire 400 nurses.
What are the challenges in finding qualified nurses and are you helping
employees that want to go into nursing?

SILVA: Yes. The challenges are really all throughout the entire
country, Al. There isn`t a place that we don`t have a challenge finding
nurses. As far as what we`re doing, we`re trying to find a great
opportunity and a great environment for our nurses to work in. And the way
we do that, it`s a little bit of a unique clinical experience. For our
dialysis patients, when they come in, they are really part of our family
for many, many years. Our clinicians see them three times a week for years
and years and years. And that`s very different from a lot of different
clinical environments that the nurses would work in. They`ve build really
a very unique relationship with our patients. And our patients with our
clinicians.

SHARPTON: That`s great. How do people apply for these jobs?

SILVA: Well, they would go right to our Web site. It`s
www.careers.fmcna.com. And all the information about the jobs, where they
are, our benefits, and a little bit about what it`s like to work for the
company is all included in there.

SHARPTON: Brian Silva, thanks for your time tonight. And here`s our
Web site, politicsnation.msnbc.com. For the latest information on all the
companies we`ve featured. Click on here are the jobs. We`re looking
forward to hearing from you.

Well, 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.
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