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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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Guests: Ed Rendell; Chris Matthews, Sherrod Brown; Terry O`Neill, Dana Milbank, Alex Wagner, Steve
Kornacki, Erin McPike, Spike Lee

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

Tonight`s lead, the president and the power of the 99 percent. Today,
President Obama went to Wisconsin where he was met by the Republican union
bashing governor Scott Walker. The president got a baseball jersey. He
seemed happy. And why not, he was meeting the guy who went so far right he
woke up the progressive`s movement, driving fairness back into the national

One year ago this week, Scott Walker went after teachers and
firefighters. He chose to attack union workers instead of trying to seek
fairness with corporations and fairness with corporate executives. This
set off a wave of progressive action that continues to this day.

In Wisconsin protesters fought to get a vote recall on Walker, on the
ballot. A recall that is now under way. In Ohio, voters mobilize to
reject the state`s anti-union law. And across the country the occupy Wall
Street movement rallied public opinion to the 99 percent.

Now President Obama is making fairness the central theme of his re-
election, hitting that message again today.


to an economy that`s weakened by outsourcing and bad debt and phony
financial profits. We need an economy that is built to last, that is built
on American manufacturing and American know-how and American-made energy
and skills for American workers and the renewal of American values of hard
work and fair play and shared responsibility. That`s what we`re about.


SHARPTON: He`s also made fairness an even playing field the basis of
his new jobs policy.


SHARPTON: It is time to stop rewarding companies that ship jobs
overseas and start rewarding companies that are creating jobs right here in
the United States of America. We`ve got the most productive workers on
earth. We`ve got the most creative entrepreneurs on earth. Give us a
level playing field. We will not lose.


SHARPTON: The focus on "made in America" is already helping the
working class. Three hundred thirty four thousands manufacturing jobs have
been created in the last two years, the highest since the mid`90s.

Joining me now is Senator Sherrod Brown, democrat from Ohio. Thanks
for being here tonight.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Music to our ears, Al, that -- what the
president is saying on manufacturing. Twelve years -- for 12 years we lost
manufacturing jobs in this country. As you pointed out, 20, 21 months in a
row we`ve seen job growth in manufacturing. The president`s right on, on
concentrating this and focusing on this. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Twelve years we`ve been waiting for manufacturing jobs.
Let me ask you, senator. How ironic that the president is in Governor
Walker`s back yard visiting a unionized shop that`s only -- not only
thriving but it is bringing jobs back to the country.

BROWN: Well, it`s great. And, I mean, I think there`s several things
we need to do. One of them surely is to pass our currency bill, pass the
senate strong bipartisan vote. It`s an oust John Boehner`s boxed it up.
We know it will get and we will pass with bipartisan support.

I`m asking people to come on, sign your petition to
John Boehner., sign up. Put the pressure on Boehner to
pass this currency bill. It`s in line with the president`s fighting with
his new plan on trade enforcement and his whole focus on manufacturing jobs
because he helps create a middle class and strengthen the middle class.
The president is right and you are obviously right, reverend Sharpton, to
highlight it.

SHARPTON: Now senator Brown, 67 percent of people polled want to see
millionaires taxed to cut the deficit. You are running for re-election.
You are out campaigning. Are you feeling this fight for fairness, this
passion of lifting the 99 percent? Are you feeling that as you campaign in
your own state of Ohio?

BROWN: Yes. I felt it way before I started. I mean, way before any
campaign started last year. You just highlighted a minute ago when the
president went to Madison on the one-year anniversary today of the fighting
back in Madison. And Ohio, as you mentioned, it started soon after that
when the same right wing that talked about jobs decided to go after worker
rights and women`s rights and voting rights.

And I already see that pushback from Ohioans in huge numbers. Not
just Democrats but independents, some Republicans that just say, wait a
second. Focus on manufacturing jobs. Focus on workers getting better pay.
Focus on a fairer tax system where millionaires and one of the bills I`m
working on now with the president is a small surcharge on millionaires.
People making over a million dollars, put that money into school renovation
that will put people to work. It will help kids learn. It will save money
for local school districts, all of that. I mean, it`s clearer that that`s
all about manufacturing, growing things, making things happen in this

SHARPTON: Now it`s interesting you mentioned women`s rights, union
rights. Across the board, the right wing has been fighting in each one of
these areas, voter rights. We`re getting ready to do a big thing next
month. Do you sense that all of these positions that the right wing has
taken is now put them in a very, very weak position to face the voters?

BROWN: Yes, it might -- attacks on women`s rights and voting rights
and workers rights may help Rick Santorum in a Republican primary, but I`ll
put that up against Barack Obama going to Wisconsin and coming to Cleveland
and Akron and Toledo and talking about manufacturing.

The auto rescue alone has made such a huge difference in my state.
It`s put tens of thousands of people to work. It`s not just -- it`s not
just GM and Chrysler and not just Ford and Honda. It`s also all the supply
chain that`s making auto products, auto components and we`re seeing job
growth there because the president stepped up and the Democrats in the
house and Senate stepped up in the face of sort of Romney, Santorum, right
wing Republican opposition. And that`s why this election has become
clearer and clearer. You focus on jobs. You focus on manufacturing. They
are trying to -- they are focusing on women`s rights and voter rights and
stripping worker rights.

SHARPTON: And really what is going on. In fact, this morning, Mitt
Romney was on FOX. And they were asking him about the fairness issue. The
president is going to push in lowering taxes for everybody, including the
rich. Let me show you what Romney had to say in contrast to what the
president is saying.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: You know that that`s going to be
President Obama`s strategy, right, this whole fair share thing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How would you combat that?

ROMNEY: Well, we`re going to point out that we`re going to lower
taxes for everybody and that includes people from the very highest to the
very lowest.


SHARPTON: We`re going to lower taxes from the very highest to the
very lowest. Well, first of all, what about the expiring of the Bush tax
cuts to the very highest? What about closing the loopholes? I mean, they
still don`t get it.

BROWN: They don`t get it. At least he didn`t use the term class
warfare there because they -- every time they just say this is class
warfare. Well, the class warfare has come from Wall Street aimed right at
the heart of main street, Mansfield, Ohio and main street Dayton, Ohio.
And that`s the problem.

And this whole idea of when they say they`re going to cut taxes on
everybody, that`s what they said with the Bush tax cuts. It put us in a
huge hole. It cost us ultimately a -- it was resulted in a terrible
economy. The kind of fiscal policy and trade policy and tax policy they
thrust on the nation a decade ago. We`re not going back to that. Mitt
Romney can talk until the cow comes home when he comes to Ohio and where
Ohio and say that but it`s just not going to work.

SHARPTON: And when you look at it, it`s not just you as a democratic
senator saying that, or me, or someone considered progressive. Look at
independent voters. Independent voters Senator Brown, saying 46 percent;
up eight percent since January; 46 percent for President Obama; Mitt
Romney, 37 percent; Willard down nine percent since January.

If you go to the fight for fairness, Romney/wealthy, 53 percent say
Mitt Romney`s policies favor the rich. So this is not just one side of the
aisle feeling this way. The polling says this is where the people are.

BROWN: Yes, exactly right. And most important thing is with all the
background noise of Romney and Santorum and catering to the far right and
trying to cut taxes for the rich again, the focus -- all of the focus of
this show, the focus of my work, all of us have to be on how do we grow
this economy? It means manufacturing. It means again, come to my Web
site, Sign our petition for this China currency, this
bipartisan jobs bill. Work on the payroll tax cut. All the things we need
to do to keep this growth that we`re seeing the last 20 months to make it
bigger and wider so that people can go back to work.

SHARPTON: That`s Senator Sherrod Brown. Thanks
for joining us tonight.

BROWN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, desperation time for Republicans. New numbers
show this primary fight is dragging them down and making them weaker
against the president.

Plus, meet the GOP lawmaker who is comparing President Obama`s health
care law to, quote, "Rape," an outrageous comment from a party getting more
extreme by the day.

And Lin-sanity has taken over America. Everyone is talking about this
Knicks-phenom, including the president. Our exclusive interview with Spike
Lee, the world`s biggest Knicks fan. You`re watching "Politics Nation" on


SHARPTON: The war on women`s health is backfiring. But this man is
one step closer to passing what may be the country`s most radical law
against women. It`s appalling. It`s outrageous. And I`m addressing it


SHARPTON: Welcome back.

The Republicans have been engaged in a war on birth control. Today,
we learned it`s backfiring. Sixty five percent of voters support the
compromise the president came up with. So you can forget about all those
doomsday scenarios Republicans have warned about.

But in Virginia, the attacks on women`s health are getting out of
control. The Virginia House of delegates has passed two radical and
extreme abortion bills. One requires doctors to perform intrusive
ultrasounds before a woman can have an abortion.

The other, the personhood bill. Defines life begins at conception.
It could outlaw not just abortion but many kinds of birth control. Let`s
be clear just how radical this is. It outlaws most birth control. So who
could be behind this?

Meet Virginia delegate bob Marshall. He`s comparing President Obama`s
health reform to rape. That`s right, rape. Writing, quote, "the
individual mandate is not regulation of voluntary commercial intercourse.
It is more akin to forcible economic rape."

This is completely appalling. And if you need to know the affordable
health care act is helping people. New reports find the health care law
helped 86 million people get free preventive care last year, 86 million
people. This, quote, "forcible economic rape," is that what this is?
That`s outrageous language. And it`s why we must continue to fight this
war on women`s health.

Joining me now is Terry O`Neill, president of the national
organization of women. Thanks for joining me this evening.

reverend. How are you?

SHARPTON: Good. Is Virginia an extreme case here, or is the war on
contraception new GOP strategy everywhere? Is this new GOP normal?

O`NEILL: It may be the new GOP normal, but I`ll tell you what. It is
absolutely turning off the people of this country. You know, people are
used to the idea that abortion is a political issue. But it`s not just the
women. It`s the men of this country. They don`t want birth control to be
politicized. We saw with the Susan G. Komen foundation disaster. The
people of this country don`t want breast cancer to be politicized. And
when Republicans go after birth control, they are politicizing women`s
health in a way that is wildly out of step with the -- with the values,
really, of the people of our country.

SHARPTON: Now Terry, this -- I showed this local Virginia state
representative who, by the way, is running for U.S. Senate there, trying to
use language like forcible economic rape. I mean, this is way over the top
even for conservatives in terms of language, wouldn`t you think?

O`NEILL: You know, not only is it way over the top, but it`s
particularly offensive given what the Virginia legislature has just done by
requiring ultra sounds which are medically unnecessary, requiring women to
undergo ultrasound before she can have an abortion.

The reality is that most pregnancy terminations occur at such an early
stage in the pregnancy that ultra sound, you know the jelly across the
belly, that`s not possible with very early pregnancy termination. So the
vast majority of pregnancy terminations in Virginia, if this law withstands
court scrutiny, will be that the ultrasound will have to be done vaginally.

And that is experienced by women as an intrusion, as a violation and
for Mr. Marshall to talk about the fact that we have better health care,
more health care available as some kind of economic rape when his own state
is passing a law that requires this procedure for women which is completely
medically inappropriate is beyond outrageous.

SHARPTON: I mean, and the bill that has helped 86 million people, the
people that have pre-existing conditions, I mean, that`s rape. But let me
bring you to the second thing that the Virginia House of delegates did.
The personhood bill which is now has 12 other states that are considering -
- well, 11 other states that are considering this personhood law. This has
got to be scary to you and the members of N.O.W. and Americans all over the
country that believe in fairness.

O`NEILL: Well, you know, the personhood initiative was tried in
Mississippi. It was sent to the voters of Mississippi and it was
resoundingly rejected, resoundingly rejected. So to me, it`s really
appalling that the legislature in Virginia has taken it upon itself to pass
a personhood bill. Not putting it before the people because the people
will reject it.

SHARPTON: Well, you see, we have on the screen, Colorado voted no in
2008 by 46 points, again, in 2010 by 42 points. And in Mississippi, as you
just said, Mississippi, not by any stretch known for progressive voters.
They even rejected it by 16 points last year.

But Terry, all four remaining Republican candidates back personhood.
Every one of them says they back the bill.

O`NEILL: Yes, and that`s even though the personhood -- this is what
the personhood bill would do. It would criminalize all abortion. It would
criminalize the termination of pregnancies that result from incest,
pregnancies that result from rape, pregnancies that make women very ill or
pregnancies that even threaten the life of the woman. They would
criminalize those abortions. They would criminalize most forms or the most
popular forms of birth control. They would criminalize emergency
contraception for rape victims. It would even outlaw in vitro
fertilization and stem cell research.

Now, Senator Oren Hatch from Utah is a staunch opponent of women`s
right to abortion care, but Senator Hatch supports stem cell research. The
reason people don`t like these personhood bills is because it criminalizes
a whole raft of things that --

SHARPTON: That`s frightening.

O`NEILL: That people in this country really want.

SHARPTON: It is frightening. And when you talk about under any
circumstances contraception under any circumstances, abortion and you
become criminal, this is scary stuff.

O`NEILL: Well, it is.

SHARPTON: Terry. Thanks for your time tonight. And we`re going to
keep following this.

O`NEILL: Thanks, reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, the economy is improving and so are the
president`s poll numbers. Why today could be a critical moment in his re-
election effort? And some devastating news for Mitt Romney, how this long,
bitter primary fight is crippling his candidacy. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

The new numbers are out. They show things are up for the economy and
for President Obama, way up. Two new polls today say 50 percent of
Americans now approve of the president`s job performance. That`s his
highest poll rating since Osama bin Laden was killed last May. And more
Americans are now confident about the economy. Thirty four percent say the
economy is getting better. Just 22 percent say it`s getting worse. But
Republicans are completely out of touch with what Americans think.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The president`s policies
are not helping our economy. Matter of fact, a lot of people would argue
his policies are actually making it worse.


SHARPTON: Making it worse? How is he making it worse? The January
unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent. That`s the lowest it`s been in
three years. And last month alone, there were 243,000 jobs added to the
economy. The president`s policies and leadership are helping the economy.
And he drove that point home in Wisconsin today.


OBAMA: Over the last 23 points, businesses have added nearly 3.7
million new jobs. Manufacturing is coming back. Companies are starting to
bring jobs back. The economy is getting stronger. The recovery is
speeding up.


SHARPTON: Joining me now, Alex Wagner, host of "NOW WITH ALEX WAGNER"
here on MSNBC at noon everyday Monday to Friday. And Dana Milbank,
political columnist for "The Washington Post." Thank you both for being

Let me start with you, Dana. The President`s approval rating has
hovered in the mid-40s. How significant is it that he`s now back at 50

DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, it`s fairly significant.
I`m not sure that he can necessarily claim credit for it, but when the
economic numbers were bad, that`s what was holding his numbers down,
depressing them. You know if you follow consumer confidence, you follow
the jobs numbers, you follow the stock market, you can pretty well predict
where the President is. If he continues on this trajectory, he`s going to
have a relatively easy time of it in November. But of course, that can
change in a minute. You know, all you need is one bad monthly jobs report
to send things back down the other way. But it`s very significant that his
popularity is up. But also he`s developed pretty wide leads over Romney
and the other would-be challengers.

SHARPTON: Now when you say that you don`t know if he could take
credit for it, you`re meaning what? That the improving economy is the
reason he`s looking better? But wouldn`t you say that he has something to
do with the economy improving some of his policies?

MILBANK: Yes, I --

SHARPTON: Turning some of that around?

MILBANK: No. I`m not going to repeat what John Boehner just said.

SHARPTON: I was trying. I was walking you into that one.

MILBANK: I know better than that with you, Reverend Al. But any
president is going to do well when the economic numbers are good, whether
it`s his policies or not. And any president is going to look bad when the
economic numbers are bad.

SHARPTON: Now, Alex, when you look at his opponents, one of them is
going to eventually maybe one day be the opponent if we ever stop having a
new front-runner every week here. But when you look at it, "The New York
Times," has President Obama six points ahead of Willard Mitt Romney. And
they have him ahead eight points ahead of Santorum. A lot of that is the
economy. But a lot of that is these candidates are just not selling
themselves to the public. Willard clearly has a problem connecting, even
to Republicans. And Santorum is so far right wing, some moderate
Republicans are afraid of his policies themselves.

Romney who staked his claim as the inevitable nominee based on his economic
policies and the fact that he`s a businessman and knows how to run
businesses. Yet, he`s the guy that sort of advocated against the auto
bailout. Tomorrow, GM is going to release its numbers showing the biggest
profits they`ve made in its 103-year history lending any -- I mean it
really undermines the argument that the auto bailout was the wrong
prescription. And therefore, undermines Mitt Romney`s argument as a
business guy, someone that sat around businesses. Rick Santorum is
doubling down on this talk about contraception. Obviously, his position on
social issues, it`s very far right. We look at the polls. Obama is doing
just as well among Catholics even church going Catholics as he has at any

SHARPTON: Yes, I mean, he was supposed to take a big hit. He lost
what, three points.

WAGNER: Where`s the hit?

SHARPTON: Yes. The hit is not there. And talking about the auto
bailout, Dana, the President directly addressed that today in Wisconsin.
Let me show you this.


OBAMA: I took office. The American auto industry was on the verge of
collapse. And there were some folks who said we should let it die. With a
million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. I refused to let that


Over the past two years, the entire industry has added nearly 160,000
jobs. Well-paying jobs. What`s happening in Detroit can happen in other


SHARPTON: Now Dana, you contrast that speech and the reaction from
the crowd, and this is in Wisconsin, not even Detroit, with putting up the
Willard Mitt Romney Op-ed piece saying, let Detroit go bankrupt. I mean,
how do you run against that if you`re Willard?

MILBANK: No, I mean, he has a compelling message to offer now, the
President does. The General Motors is alive. Osama bin Laden is dead.
And you know, if that`s what people are talking about in November, he wins
this election. You know, there`s still a lot of time between now and
November. And that`s why I`m pushing back a little bit on this question
of, you know, does he get all the credit for this right now because if
something turns out badly in the next few months, a lot of blame will be
dumped on him that`s not necessarily deserved either. But the way this
trajectory looks right now, you can see there`s a lot of trouble for the
Republicans. At CPAC last week, the Conservative Political Action
Conference, there was a lot of talk about, guys, we can`t just beat up on
Obama because of the economy. We have to have a positive message here.
They were counting on just beating up on Obama because of the economy.
That`s no longer working.

SHARPTON: Now, and I think that Dana is right. We can`t give the
President all the credit. I think some. Just like I don`t think it`s all
his fault when it goes the other way. Though clearly his policies have
something to do both sides. But let me tell you something I don`t think
will change. I agree with Dana. Anything can happen between now and
November. But if he runs against Congress, the people of this country have
almost unanimously said that they don`t have any faith in the Congress.
The last poll has only 10 percent of Americans approve of the job Congress
is doing.


SHARPTON: Ten percent. That means only one in every 10 Americans
thinks they`re doing a great job. And Alex, I`m having a hard time finding
that one.

WAGNER: Yes. Congress is running about neck and neck with Enron and
Rod Blagojevich. So, you know.

SHARPTON: So, if the President runs against them, is that a strategy?

WAGNER: I think that`s part of the strategy. But he also thinks he
has an incredibly winning message in terms of talking about income
disparity, about the poor and the working class. I mean, these are things
that have been through bubbling in American society. These are trend lines
that emerge. Have been sort of, you know, coming to the fore over the
course of the last 30 years. And finally, through confluence of events,
both the economic recession, Occupy Wall Street and the White House sort of
strategy center, it`s now the President`s message. I think it`s incredibly
effective, and I think it will be a really good message for him going
forward, provided the economy stays strong. And there are a lot of
variables there. And, you know, we haven`t talked about foreign policy.
That could be an issue that undermines things.

SHARPTON: Right. And you`ll never know what`s going to happen.
Iran, everything else that`s up in the air. Alex Wagner, Dana Milbank,
thank you both for joining me tonight. And you can see Alex`s show. Dana
and I watch it every day. Now, with Alex Wagner at high noon.

WAGNER: High noon.

SHARPTON: High noon right here on MSNBC.

WAGNER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, new poll numbers reveal some big problems for
Mitt Romney and his party.

Plus, Linsanity has officially reached the Oval Office. President
Obama weighs in on basketball and the basketball story that`s sweeping the
nation. And the one and only Spike Lee is here to talk to me about it.
Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Jeremy Lin, everybody is talking about him. But who is he?
A guy that a couple of teams got rid of sitting on the bench. Now he`s a
superstar. It`s bigger than basketball. People that people reject can
make it. I`m going to ask how. Spike Lee is going to explain this to me,
coming up.



in America and I`m running for president of the United States.


SHARPTON: Oh, Willard. I bet you made that little announcement when
you figured you`d have the nomination locked up by now. Well, here we are.
Eight months later, republican voters have now heard your message for 258
days. And yet a whopping 58 percent wish someone else was in the race.
That`s six in 10 GOP voters. That`s nuts! But what`s more unbelievable is
how Republicans insist this process is helping, not hurting.


SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: In America, we believe that
competition strengthens us. Competition elevates our game.


Competition will lead us to victory in 2012.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is a longer process better for the party?

ROMNEY: I think it`s a great thing.


SHARPTON: It is a great thing for Democrats. Check this out. Sixty
seven percent think the nomination process will hurt the GOP`s chances in
November. But here`s the big one. Even 57 percent of Republicans agree.
So, guys, keep hammering away. You just are making the President`s job
easier come November.

Joining me now is Erin McPike, reporter for Real Clear Politics and
Steve Kornacki, political columnist for Thank you both for
coming on the show.


SHARPTON: Erin, let me start with you. Let`s go back to that big
number. Fifty eight percent of GOP voters wish someone else would hop in
this race. Can Romney ever get the party to unite behind him?

ERIN MCPIKE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: He will if he becomes the nominee.
But you know, as much as Republicans would like other choices, there`s
really not a way for them to get another choice because we`ve already had
deadlines pass for the primary states that are remaining for ballot access.
In other words, to get on the ballot. So the only way for there to be
another choice is if there is a brokered convention and somehow another
name comes up, which is very unlikely. But we could have, you know, a
third party candidate get in it at some point. Those things are all
possible. Now, the Romney campaign is not necessarily going, at this
point, looking and trying to unite conservatives behind them the way you
are thinking. It`s really just showing if he`s the last man standing, they
want to know show that Santorum can`t be the nominee, that Newt Gingrich
can`t be the nominee and he`s really the only republican right now who can
beat Obama. And that`s what they continue to press.

SHARPTON: You know, Steve, when I was growing up, they used to tell
us a story about Pinocchio. That if you tell a lie or fib, your nose would
grow. Well, Willard Mitt Romney was on FOX this morning. And they showed
him, Rick Santorum`s -- the ad on Rick Santorum that was attacking Rick
Santorum. I want you to look at the ad and what he had to say. And this
was Santorum attacking Romney about the ad. And I want you to hear his
response and tell me whether anything happened with his nose because I
can`t really be sure. But just watch this.


STEVE DOOCY, CO-HOST, "FOX AND FRIENDS": Rick Santorum is running an
ad right now, Governor. It`s called Rombo. I don`t know if you`ve seen
it. We`re going to put a little snippet for you.

ANNOUNCER: This time Romney is firing his mud at Rick Santorum.
Romney is trying to hide from his big government Romney-care and his
support for job-killing cap and trade. And in the end, Mitt Romney`s ugly
attacks are going to backfire.

ROMNEY: You know, that`s the nature of politics, which is that you
always accuse the other guy of what you`ve done yourself. So my campaign
hasn`t run any negative ads against Rick Santorum.


SHARPTON: His campaign hasn`t run any negative ads against Santorum.

KORNACKI: Right. Well, now we get into this Super PAC cute, you
know, he played this game before with Newt Gingrich, you know, back in
December and again, running into Florida where this technically independent
groups that are aligned with Mitt Romney.

SHARPTON: So, technically his campaign didn`t.

KORNACKI: He can sit there and he can sit -- remember there was that
moment where back with Newt Gingrich when the Romney Super PAC was going
after Gingrich and Gingrich tried to call him on it and Romney at first
said, well, I haven`t even seen the ad and then he proceeded to tick off in
minute detail everything that was in the ad. That`s sort of the game he`s
been playing here. But I`d say, you know, look at what Santorum did there
I think is really interesting because.

SHARPTON: Very interesting.

KORNACKI: Well, it is, especially.

SHARPTON: But by the way, it`s just a coincidence I suppose, that a
former Romney aide is in charge of the Super PAC that is sponsoring these

KORNACKI: We know how these things work.

SHARPTON: I just want us all to be on the same page.

KORNACKI: But what`s interesting to me about what Santorum is doing
here is think about what happened to Newt Gingrich in Florida where Romney
and the Super PAC, the independent Super PAC went after him really hard.
Gingrich never came up with a response ad like that. A simple, effective
compelling response ad. Santorum does not have the money we know this, he
does not have the money that Mitt Romney does but he has a very clever ad
here that`s gotten a ton of play on TV, ton of play online. And I wonder
if this is the sort of thing that conservatives look at. And they say, you
know, yes, let`s stick up for this guy against Mitt Romney.

SHARPTON: Well, Erin, talking about Steve talking about he doesn`t
have the money. Let`s look at the Romney has spent in Michigan, the Romney
campaign and the Super PAC restore our future spent $1.2 million,
$1,240,230 and Santorum has only spent $42,443. Does this look like to you
between the Super PAC and the campaign the way that they are going to try
to come back in Michigan, which would be crucial because Romney, this is
his home state. His father was governor there. He loses Michigan, he`s
going to be devastated. And he`s down in the polls. Are they going to
dump a lot of money in there and try to muddy up Rick Santorum?

MCPIKE: Oh, sure. And Rick Santorum knows he will be outspent
brutally in Michigan. But as far as Romney saying that he`s never run a
negative ad against Santorum, I mean, that`s just disingenuous to say
because the campaign is still holding conference calls every morning about
Rick Santorum and his record. So, it may not be through paid media ads but
they are still doing a lot of things to show that Rick Santorum`s record is
not one of a fiscal conservative. And that`s what the Romney campaign is
going to be saying over the next two weeks in Michigan. Trying to show
that Mitt Romney is the fiscal conservative whereas Rick Santorum is not so
much. While he may be socially conservative, he`s not what these
Republicans should be supporting on fiscal issues. So we`ll see a lot of
contrast and, yes, we`re going to see some negative attacks. Whether they
are TV commercials or not.

SHARPTON: Now, Sarah Palin, Steve, Sarah Palin said today she still
didn`t seem -- she didn`t sound like she was too convinced that Romney is a
true conservative. Listen to this.


PALIN: I think the majority of us are not yet convinced that not just
he, but that any of the candidates yet are the one who will best be that
contrast to Obama. A lot of this has to do with somebody`s past. You
know, were they pro-abortion before and now perhaps they`re pro-life and
what allowed that switch, kind of that flip-flop? He`s had some obvious --
some articulate explanations, though, as to why he has changed. He has
said that as he`s grown older he`s become more conservative. That`s a good


SHARPTON: That`s a good sign. Kind of weird. I want to blame -- I
want to give you all the negatives on him and say, well, I mean why even
bring him up if you are convinced that he is really authentically

KORNACKI: Yes. Well, the whole Sarah Palin show has been funny to
watch lately. Because she seems dedicated to tormenting Mitt Romney as
much as she can right now. But she`s hitting on something, I think there
is some truth in what she`s saying. You know, a poll today that I think
was really striking was, you look at Ohio.


KORNACKI: Big Super Tuesday state now, has Santorum ahead of Romney
by seven points there. If you dig into the number a little bit, you find
sort of the central problem that Romney is facing. You ask republican
voters, do you like Mitt Romney? Overwhelmingly, they tell you yes. So,
where is the problem? It`s when you ask them, do you think he`s not
conservative enough or do you think his ideology is about right? And the
number in this poll was nearly 50 percent said, we don`t think he`s
conservative enough and he has that same question about Rick Santorum. The
number is seven percent. I mean. there`s your problem right there. The
party is where Sarah Palin is. That`s the mood of the party right now.
Mitt Romney is the good guy who in years past they would have gone along

SHARPTON: Right. The party has shifted. Yes.

Erin McPike and Steve Kornacki, thank you both for coming on the show

Up next, Linsanity is sweeping the nation. This guy has everyone
talking, including the President of the United States. There`s only one
man in the world you want to hear from on this. Spike Lee is here next.



UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Lin picks it up! Lin drives it in and lays it in!
Puts in the two-pointer. Jeremy Lin with 31. Splits the defense again.
Gets to the rim! Pops it in and a foul. Wow!

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And the chants of Jeremy now thundering down from
the sellout crowd.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Jeremy Lin on the drive. Right to the basket.
Gets inside. Lefty lay-in. Puts it inspect (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A three-pointer as the shot clock expired. Lin
puts it up. Bam! Jeremy Lin from downtown! And the Knicks take the lead.


SHARPTON: It`s the story that everyone is talking about. The
breakout star of the New York Knicks who in just two short weeks has become
an international phenomenon. So, who is he? Meet Jeremy Lin, just two
weeks ago, he was an unknown 23-year-old bench player. The Harvard grad
was living on his brother`s couch and on the verge of being cut by the
team. But now he`s the hottest player in the NBA grabbing headlines in New
York and attention of fans across the country including the President.


sports fan and particularly avid basketball fan. And we were speaking
about Jeremy Lin on Marine One as we flew here to Andrews Air Force Base
this morning. Yes, he is very impressed and fully up to speed. He`s
watched Lin play already and has seen highlights from last night`s game.


SHARPTON: I think it`s official, folks. Linsanity is sweeping the

Joining me now, the number one Knicks fan on the planet, the one and
only Spike Lee. Spike, have you ever seen anything like Lin in the game?

SPIKE LEE, FILM DIRECTOR: Never. And people -- I`m dressed like this
because we`ve got a game tonight.


SHARPTON: Yes. I had to impose upon our friendship to get you to
come by.

LEE: Any time. Any time, Rev. I`ve never seen anything like this
before. And this has really gone global.


LEE: It`s not just -- it`s taken -- it`s bigger than sports. We have
someone who just comes out of nowhere and dominates. We played the Lakers
last Friday night. The night before the Lakers beat Boston. Ask Kobe. Do
you know who this guy is? Kobe didn`t know. He gave Kobe 38 the next
night. But it`s amazing. And then you had the whole thing of race. This
is the great thing about America. The first Taiwanese-American player

SHARPTON: First Taiwanese player.

LEE: Ever. Went to Harvard.


LEE: That`s not a basketball powerhouse. Gets cut by the Warriors.
Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets.


LEE: His language is on the New York Knicks bench. Sent to the D-
league and brought back. And Coach D`Antoni who people in New York are
calling for his neck to be fired, as an act of desperation says, all right.
Go in and it turns the whole world upside down.

SHARPTON: Now, I mean, you know the preacher in me came out because
he is a guy rejected on many levels.

LEE: Right.

SHARPTON: And he ends up being the rejected stone becomes the
cornerstone of this team.

LEE: Right.

SHARPTON: I mean, who would ever believed it? And that`s the story
you and I were talking about on the phone today. Here`s a guy that says to
everybody, whether you are a sports fan or not, be careful what you look
over because the person that you think is a failure, failure, failure,
reject, reject.

LEE: Just by looking at appearance.

SHARPTON: They might be Lin. They might be the Lin in your office,
the Lin in your building, Lin in your life.

LEE: With the name Lin, you can make a million nicknames. One of my
favorite is Jeremy stop Asian profi-lin.


SHARPTON: I like that.

LEE: And that`s from Floyd Mayweather.

SHARPTON: And he did it in the garden which has the history of --


LEE: We love the Giants, the Yankees, all the teams. But New York
City, historically is a basketball city.


LEE: And we haven`t won a world championship since the `72-`73
season. So, we`ve been like on a famine. Rev, we`ve been lost in a
desert. And to have him come out of nowhere and as a child should lead

SHARPTON: A child shall lead them.

LEE: I mean, we`ve got stars on the team. Carmelo. Stoudemire.
Tyson Chandler. And now the team has been put in the hands of this guy who
really has only played seven, really, meaningful games in his basketball

SHARPTON: And -- but all the stars for whatever reasons, injuries or
whatever it is, couldn`t play and they took the guy, they overlooked all
this time, and he became the guy that`s now the international hero. It`s
amazing. Everywhere in the world, they are talking about Lin.

LEE: And he`s very -- he`s very devout, straight up Christian. And
people want to mock him or Tebow, but look. Something has happened that
there`s no explanation for it except this is some other stuff happening.


LEE: And that`s what -- this is some other stuff happening that,
don`t try to explain it, dissect it. We`re just in the middle of and enjoy
it. Especially if you are a Knick fan.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m sure you are having fits of ecstasy. But I love
it because it`s a great story. It`s an encouraging story.

LEE: It`s a great American story. A great American story.

SHARPTON: Don`t overlook people you never know who you are

LEE: I don`t care who he is. You just cannot look at somebody. I
know we`ve got a goal. But you cannot just look at somebody and just say,
whatever they are. You can`t do it. Like we`ve said, this can apply to

SHARPTON: That`s right.

LEE: The person at the very end of the cubicle. That might be, as
you said earlier, that may be the next CEO of the company. But if you just
dismiss them because of their appearance or whatever, you`re going to miss

SHARPTON: You never know who you`re talking to.

LEE: You never know.

SHARPTON: That`s why I`m glad you`re here tonight, Spike. And I want
you to know, Denzel, I`m still in the game. If you ever miss, I`m talking
to Spike, never overlook anybody. Be careful, Denzel. Spike Lee, thank
you for your time tonight.

LEE: All right, baby.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton.
"HARDBALL" starts right now.


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