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PoliticsNation, Friday, February 24, 2012

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Guests: Melissa Harris-Perry, Laura Bassett; Tim Purcey; Charniele Herring, Virg Bernero, E.J.
Dionne, Michael Steele

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

Tonight`s lead, Bob McDonnell speaks and digs himself deeper. For
decades, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has been leading the charge in the
war on women`s right to choose. He literally wrote his thesis on it 23
years ago. Quote, "the perverted notion of liberty that each individual
should be able to live out his sexual life in any way he chooses without
interference from the state."

This is a man who believes it is the government`s job to interfere in
your sexual life which is what makes his cave on the radical mandatory
ultrasound bill so surprising. Today he`s asked about his decision on a
political panel hosted in Washington, D.C.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR BOB MCDONNELL, VIRGINIA: I didn`t think it was proper to
mandate invasive ultra sounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you originally not revised that it might
mandate --

MCDONNELL: It wasn`t my procedure. You have to realize this wasn`t
my bill. There were 2,000 bills.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand. But you learned that this might
mandate an invasive procedure?

MCDONNELL: Well, during the course of the discussion after talking to
lawyers and doctors on my own after we started to hear some concerns raise
in the legislature. I personally looked at it. Normally a governor would
review these hundreds and hundreds of bills when they get to your desk.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s throwing everyone under the bus. Wow! Interesting!
He says it wasn`t his bill. But he was singing a far different tune last
month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCDONNELL: I actually was the original sponsor of that bill about ten
years ago to give a woman the right to know all the information before she
makes the choice. An ultrasound is used.
It`s modern technology. The costs have been driven down. To be able to
have that information before making what most people would say is a very
important, serious, life-changing decision, I think is appropriate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s right. Here is the original informed consent bill
that was signed into law. And look right there. That`s Bob McDonnell, the
sponsor. So, why the massive backtrack? Why did you retreat from the
invasive ultrasound this week?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCDONNELL: I also got legal advice from various people, including my
attorney general, that these kinds of mandatory invasive requirements might
run afoul of fourth amendment laws.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So all of a sudden, you are worried about unreasonable
searches and warrants for women. I`m not buying it. I think it`s the fact
that more than 1,000 people showing up at the statehouse on Monday and then
again yesterday and the nonstop media coverage. This wasn`t the spotlight
the vice president hopeful Bob McDonnell wanted to get. He`s hoping it
will all die down now that he`s softened the bill. But this new version is
still extreme. Still mandates an ultrasound, but McDonnell wants it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MCDONNELL: I support the bill. I still support the bill. I believe
that bill will pass.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And it may pass. That`s why we can`t back down.

Joining me now is Virginia delegate Charniele Herring, democratic
majority whip and chair of the state`s reproductive rights caucus, and
Laura Bassett. Laura Bassett is a reporter for the "Huffington Post" who
has been all over this story writing today about McDonnell`s claim he`s
didn`t realize the ultrasound bill mandated an invasive procedure.

Thanks to both of you for joining me this evening.

CHARNIELE HERRING, DELEGATE (D), HERRING: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Let me start with you delegate Herring.

HERRING: Yes.

SHARPTON: What a week it`s really been for McDonnell. And you`ve
heard him speak today. What do you make of his backtrack?

HERRING: He just got caught. I think he thought he could push
through this conservative social agenda that is quite frankly is extreme.
To suggest that doctors don`t inform their patients of procedures and
what`s best for them is really laughable. He knows darn well what he`s
doing and he got caught. The fact that he`s been promoting a very extreme
social agenda, reaching the hand of government between the doctor and the
patient and he`s trying to make doctors the agent of the state to push
forth his radical agenda.

SHARPTON: Now delegate Herring, is it not something close to
unbelievable that he had said he would sign the bill, but now he`s claiming
he didn`t know what was in the bill. So either he signs bills or pledges
to sign them that he hasn`t read or he`s just outright lying, one of the
two.

HERRING: Well, it is unbelievable. And let me tell you. We were --
I said on the committee that heard this bill, and we were provided a
graphic pectoral about what the procedure it is. And it`s an invasive
procedure. Legislators saw it. I tried to amend the bill in committee and
was shut down. So this is all laughable. I think what happened is that we
have tens of thousands of protesters and petitions come in and then that`s
when he realized he had a problem that Virginians were saying no.

SHARPTON: Now, Laura, you`ve been all over this story in the
"Huffington Post." And it seems that if you are going to the governor`s
background, 1989, his thesis, showed just how extreme he was. Let me give
another quote. I hope it will quote. Here`s another quote from his
thesis, 1989. Quote, "Every level of government should statutorily and
procedurally prefer married couples over cohabitators, homosexuals or
fornicators. Man`s basic nature is inclined toward evil. And when the
exercise of liberty takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse or
homosexuality, the government must restrain, punish and deter." That`s
some strong stuff, Laura.

LAURA BASSETT, REPORTER, THE HUFFINGTON POST: It`s definitely some
strong stuff. And it reflects the kinds of laws he`s signed in Virginia.
They passed trap laws recently. They are called trap laws, the targeted
regulation of abortion providers that essentially regulate abortion clinics
so hard that a lot of abortion clinics in Virginia are going to have to
shut down. Personhood legislation was advanced there. Of course, the most
conservative state in the country, Mississippi, voters rejected it there.
And so that`s, you know, sort of an indicator of how extreme this
legislation is.

And now, of course, with this ultrasound legislation, he`s backing
off. I think he`s because looking to 2012 and a potential VP ticket with
Mitt Romney. And he received a lot of backlash for this particular law.
But I think his core conservative values are more in line with the quote
you just read.

SHARPTON: Now, let me go back to you delegate Herring, when you look
at the bill he is support, the bill is still there.

HERRING: Right.

SHARPTON: It`s still very extreme because it still -- this bill still
requires unnecessary medical procedures even just the -- even though the
noninvasive part is out and it requires sonograms to be added to women`s
medical records. I mean, that`s extreme.

HERRING: It is very extreme and again, mandating something. And
isn`t it ironic that he comes from the same party who believes that, you
know, we shouldn`t have health care for every American citizen. But he
wants to dictate what goes on in a doctor`s office. And mentioning that
photograph and what goes into a medical record, a picture of a sonogram.
Imagine if a woman were raped on the street and then she - and becomes
pregnant. She then has to carry a picture of the result of the rape in her
medical record, very extreme. And very out of touch with the mid-America
and what Americans want. And they want privacy, not this type of
government invasion.

SHARPTON: Laura, I think she raises a very interesting point. This
is the party that says we don`t need big government. Government should
stay out of people`s lives. But it`s the same party that wants to dictate
people`s private sexual habits and sexual behavior. You can`t have it both
ways.

BASSETT: You`re right. You can`t. The Republican Party has been all
over the place on this particular issue. It`s really interesting, you
know, we have McDonnell here mandating ultra sounds. Ultrasounds were also
mandated in Texas before an abortion. Then you have Rick Santorum saying
things like he wants to ban prenatal test Chicago sing which sets up a
situation for a woman would have to lie and say she wanted to have an
abortion in order to get prenatal testing. And of course, with the HPV
mandate, the Republicans had a problem with that, it s what can we mandate
and what can we not mandate? It seems like they`re having trouble making
up their minds.

SHARPTON: And delegate Herring, you have your hands full because
there`s any number of anti-choice and anti, in my opinion, people laws.
This is the tip of the iceberg.

HERRING: Right.

SHARPTON: You`ve got laws in Virginia proposing allowing adoption
agencies to discriminate against gay couples, repeal a law limiting gun
purchases to one per month, so you can get all the guns you want. And you
have voter I.D. laws, requiring photo I.D. at the poll. So, there`s a
whole litany of very radical right wing laws that you are dealing with in
the state of Virginia.

HERRING: Yes. And you are right, a whole litany. And then that`s
the other thing, voter suppression. I mean, when there is no evidence of,
you know, voter fraud in Virginia, they put forth these bills. It doesn`t
matter if it will hurt those who are older. Hurt minority communities.
Hurt students. You know, they just want those people, if they want to go
to the polls, but it`s all part of a scheme make sure that they can beat
Barack Obama.

So, I mean, that`s what we`re dealing with in Virginia. But I can say
this. Virginians are speaking up. And it`s not representative of what
they`re doing is not representative of middle Virginia.

SHARPTON: Is it going to pass?

HERRING: It may. It very well may. You just went through the whole
litany and the culture we face during Richmond during this legislative
session. So, it probably will pass and the governor there has said to me,
what`s wrong with protecting the integrity of the election system? And I
told the governor, what you are saying to Virginians is if you require a
photo I.D. and you don`t have it and they have to use a provisional ballot,
right now we just do it -- you just say, I am who I say I am under oath.
These saying you don`t trust the word of Virginians, their sworn oath. And
I say that unacceptable.

SHARPTON: Well, delegate, let me say this delegate Herring. That`s
why we`ve got to keep fighting and fighting. We will.

HERRING: We will.

SHARPTON: Laura Bassett, thanks to both of you for your time tonight.
And have a great weekend.

HERRING: Thank you, you too.

BASSETT: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the GOP loves time travel. Why else would they
keep trying to turn back the clock on women`s rights? Their latest assault
next.

Plus, Willard unveils his big economic plan to an empty stadium. I
guess no one was interested in hearing Mr. one percent brag about his
Cadillacs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I drive a mustang and a
Chevy pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. And I
used to have a dodge truck. So I used to have all three covered.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And forget the Oscars. We`ve got the Rev Carpet Award.
Which one of these Republicans will take home a statue?

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Ahead, the retreat is on in Virginia, but the GOP war
against women`s health is still raging across this country. Now, today, in
2012, where`s the fight going next? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the question everyone is asking. How did
we get here?

In the last month, we`ve seen the war on women`s health explode across
the country from Komen`s shocking decision to defund Planned Parenthood to
Republicans full-blown culture war over birth control. Yes, birth control
in 2012.

Then there was this now infamous picture showing a panel of men
debating birth control. And Virginia pushing an anti-abortion bill many
people called state rape. Now, seven Republican-led states filed a lawsuit
to stop the president`s birth control coverage mandate saying it violated
first amendment rights. This was all just in the last month.

This extreme agenda against women really started in the last two
years. Check out this chart showing some state abortion restrictions since
1985. For 25 years, you see the line steady. Then last year, you see a
huge spike in just the first six months of last year. States enacted more
restrictive legislation than they had in any time over the past 25 years.
But no matter how hard they charge, the fight is on. And it`s working.

Joining me now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC`s "Melissa
Harris-Perry." She is also a professor of political science at Tulane.

Melissa, thanks for being here.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST, MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: Sure.
Absolutely!

SHARPTON: Let`s pick up back at this chart. Let`s look at the
explosion of the anti-abortion legislation last year.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes.

SHARPTON: How did we get here? Twenty five years we looked at the
chart. Then we spiked up last year. What happened? How did we get to
this point?

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I think there are a couple of things going on.
One, and this is going to sound like an odd metaphor, but I actually think
this is the kind of national eating disorder. Now I know that sounds nuts,
but one of the things we know about when young women get eating disorders,
it`s often at times in their lives when things are very confusing and
difficult. They are going through big transitions and they think, I can`t
control my grades. I can`t control the changes in my body. But the one
thing I can control is my body. I can actually bring control over my body
by not eating very much.

Part of what we`re seeing is we`re in an economic downturn. We are
dealing with international warfare. We are dealing with a more diverse
country. All of these things are changing. We don`t know thou go back and
turn the clock back so what we`re going to do is assert control over
women`s bodies.

The one thing we can do, the one thing we have available to us is
messing around with women`s right to choose, women`s ability to control
their own fertility. It`s kind of a national psychosis and anxiety about
all the things we can`t control so we attempt to go control this.

SHARPTON: Well, let me show you how extreme it is. If you look at
the fact -- let`s look at some of outrageous actions being taken in three
states. Let me start with just three.

Ohio, since conducting hearings on a heartbeat bill which would
prohibit most abortions after a heartbeat is detected. It would only allow
abortion if mother`s lives are threatened.

New Hampshire, house recently voted to defund Planned Parenthood and
other groups performing abortions. They`re now trying to overturn the 12-
year-old birth control mandate.

Texas, barred Planned Parenthood from participating in the state
Medicaid program this week, slashed state funding for women`s health
programs. Left more than 180,000 women without access to preventive health
care and has an ultrasound law in effect.

I mean, this is some real extreme radical stuff. You`re talking about
psychosis. This is psychotic, if you are trying to deal in a civilized
time of women having control over their own body and their own decisions.

HARRIS-PERRY: And this has been a long-term stealth war. So, I mean,
on the one hand, the graph that`s kind of, you know, a pretty even in terms
of legislation. But what we saw was these pro-life movements going in, for
example, and making it tougher for medical students to get training.
Making it hard -- just actually shutting down clinics.

So it was legal under the question of Roe V. Wade and the kind of
legality of abortion, the right to terminate a pregnancy based on your own
decision-making about terminating a pregnancy. But if you make it
impossible to afford it, to get it, to have a doctor who can perform it
safely, if you can just make it sort of all of those things. And so,
what`s happened now is that stealth war has become public. And now we`re
seeing these actual public policies coming into effect. But they`re
actually reflecting something that`s been going on for a decade.

SHARPTON: Now, isn`t the politics of this dangerous, though? You are
going after women`s rights in 2012. You are going after voters rights
which disproportionately affect minorities and students and seniors. Don`t
they really risk the right wing energizing a base of people that will come
out with a cause to vote for even more than if they supported the
president?

HARRIS-PERRY: Indeed. Look. President Obama was trying to figure
out in part how are we going to get young voters to have the same level of
enthusiasm as they did in 2008? And the fact is the president is going to
have a little difficulty with young voters just because, you know, they
have elected someone and everything wasn`t perfect on the other side of it.

This will energize young voters, 20-year-old women, 30-year-old women,
did not expect that birth control would ever become a political issue. My
students did not think that one day they would wake up and find that they
may not have access to the birth control pill. This will energize young
people.

SHARPTON: Melissa Harris-Perry. Thanks for your time tonight.

And, remember, you can watch Melissa on her show, "Melissa Harris-
Perry" Saturday and Sunday morning, that`s tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Ahead, Rick Santorum`s latest conspiracy theory. The president wants
kids to go to college so they can be indoctrinated. Mr. Santorum,
educating you makes my head hurt.

But first, our ongoing series, "here are the jobs." We`ll talk to a
businessman looking to hire thousands this year.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Now to our ongoing series "here are the jobs." We know the
economy is getting stronger, slowly, but surely. So we`re pounding the
pavement in search for job openings. We profiled six major employers since
our series began. Together, they have 5,315 jobs open right now. And so
far, 585 people have been hired. That`s great news, but we`re just getting
started.

Tonight, we focused on the big boom in senior home care. ARP says
about 7,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. That aging population is
leaning more and more on home health aides instead of nursing homes.

Comfort keeper is one of those home health providers. Right now, they
are looking to fill up to 1,000 jobs. The company plans to hire 10,000
people by the end of the year.

Joining me now is comfort keeper`s chief operating officer, Tim
Purcey. Thank you for coming on the show tonight.

TIM PURCEY, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICE, COMFORT KEEPER: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Tell us what kind of jobs are available, Tim.

PURCEY: Well, primarily we`re looking for caregivers, homemaker,
companion type workers. We`re also looking for personal care aides to do
more hands-on work with the clients. We also have sales positions,
administrative positions and the great thing about being part of a
franchise system is we also have franchise business opportunities for those
aspiring entrepreneurs.

SHARPTON: Now these permanent jobs, and where are they located?

PURCEY: They are permanent jobs. They are located all over the
country. The only place we don`t have comfort keepers franchise operators
is in Wyoming, Vermont and Hawaii.

SHARPTON: Now, specialized home care is one of the fastest growing
industries in the country. Do potential job candidates need special
training or education for some of these?

PURCEY: There is some special training required. But we first like
to get by those things we can`t train for. We look for compassionate
caregivers. We look for those that are passionate about caring for
seniors. Then we can get into the skills training. The base skills
training for homemakers and companions and more specialized home health
aide training or CNA training that can be done through vocational schools,
it can be done through community colleges or technical schools.

But we like to think that that training can be done especially well
through companies like comfort keepers. We like to say that we hire
caregivers and train them to be comfort keepers.

SHARPTON: How can people apply for these jobs?

PURCEY: They can go to our Web site. That`s the best way to do it,
that`s www.comfortkeepers.com or if they prefer, they can go to career
builder and type in comfort keepers in the search window there.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you for the viewers who might want to look
into starting their own Comfort Keepers franchise. How do they do that?

PURCEY: Well, they can go to franchise.comfortkeepers.com and get
started. That will give them the information they need to know to begin
that path in determining if a Comfort Keepers franchise is right for them.
There will be a process they`ll be helped through. We like to think that
being in the business of caring for people is the right place to be.

SHARPTON: Tim Purcey, thank you for your time tonight. And we`ll
check back to see how the jobs are progressing.

For all the information on here are the jobs series, head to our Web
site, politicsnation.MSNBC.com click on "here are the jobs." We are
looking forward to hearing from you.

Up next, let Detroit go bankrupt. Delivers his latest economic words
of wisdom, no wonder he had some trouble drawing a crowd.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Change is the decision to
rescue the American auto industry from collapse. You remember there were a
lot of people that didn`t believe in that. Even when some politicians
said, we should just let Detroit go bankrupt, we stepped up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let Detroit go bankrupt. That, of course, was Mitt
Romney`s stunning answer back in 2008. Today, he returned to the scene of
the crime. Michigan. To roll out his economic plan. And he came up just
about empty. Literally. That`s a picture of Detroit`s ford field. Romney
organized an event with just a few hundred supporters, even though the
stadium seats 65,000. Willard barely mentioned his opposition to the
bailout, but he did find time to talk about cars. His cars.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like the fact that most of
the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy
pickup truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oh, she drives a couple of Cadillacs, does she? How nice,
Willard. Bragging about your Cadillacs probably isn`t going to win over
working class Americans trying to put food on the table. Especially when
they learn about your new tax plan. A new analysis shows Willard`s plan
would save the poorest 20 percent of Americans just $78 a year. But, get
this. Those in the top one percent would get a tax cut of an extra
$60,000. And if you are in the top 0.1 percent, Romney wants to give you
an additional $264,000 a year. That`s a whole lot of new Cadillacs for the
rich.

Joining me now is Virg Bernero, the mayor of Lansing, Michigan.
Mayor, today some auto workers were protesting outside the stadium with the
reply to Romney who likes to sing "America the Beautiful" on the campaign
trail. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Oh, Michigan, oh, Michigan Mitt Romney (bleep) on
thee and Tea Party is so damn mean from sea to shining sea

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, Mr. Mayor, Mr. Mayor, does that about sum it up?

MAYOR VIRG BERNERO (D), LANSING, MICHIGAN: You got that right. Rev,
as usual, you put a smile on my face but his tax plan sure doesn`t. It`s
the same old trickledown economics that we`ve gotten from the Republicans
for years. And we in Michigan are tired of being trickled on. This takes
care of the rich. It takes care of people like Romney. You know, protects
the -- he doesn`t want an inheritance tax of course because he wants to be
able to inherit all -- pass on all that wealth to his children. We need to
be taxing wealth and not work in this country. And working people under
his plan continued to be punished. So there`s a lot not to like in the
plan. It would end Medicare as we know it. It continues the Paul Ryan
approach to taking apart Medicare. So, there`s nothing for our older
Americans to like about it. We need a plan that promotes the middle class,
that promotes working people, that builds our economy. This whole
republican primary, Rev, has really been a cacophony of crap, to be frank.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, what is so interesting to me is everyone
except conservatives seem to see how the auto bailout really was a good
idea. I mean, look at these numbers. Asked about the auto bailout, was it
good for the economy? Seventy two percent of Democrats say it is. Fifty
four percent of independents. Fifty seven percent of Republicans. Thirty
eight percent of conservative Republicans. I mean, how do you argue
against success, Mr. Mayor?

BERNERO: Well, The guy is politically tone deaf. I mean, look at
Romney, this is a guy that stands in a stadium of 65,000 and talks to 2,000
people. But he can`t get the -- you know, he doesn`t get the message. He
doesn`t get politics 101. Two presidents, let`s not forget. You know,
even President Bush understood the importance of the auto industry. The
domestic auto industry is the backbone of industry and manufacturing in
this country. And for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to not understand
that, I think is a deadly error.

And I`m hoping that those same people you are talking about,
Democrats, Republicans and independents will understand what that means.
Manufacturing is the backbone of our economy. You got to make things.
Great nations have to produce greatly. Not just consume. And both
President Bush and President Obama praise God understood that and saved the
domestic auto industry, saved the supply chain. Prevented millions, over a
million people from being unemployed and stopped this country from sliding
into a depression. And so, they`re just absolutely in Lala land on this
issue when most Americans, as you point out, they get it.

SHARPTON: But, Mr. Mayor, you still have a 9.3 percent unemployment
rate in Michigan. You would think that if they had a sound message, that
could be problematic for the president when unemployment that high in your
state.

BERNERO: Well, again, you know, look at the republican primary,
though. The reason why President Obama remains popular is because he`s
working on it. You know, he`s working night and day to improve things.
We`re watching these ads. We`re forced to watch these attack ads back and
forth. What is missing? This republican primary has been a circus side
show. Nothing more than a circus side show from the struggles that
Michiganders are facing. There is virtually no talk about jobs and growing
jobs. There is virtually no talk about rebuilding the economy. Virtually
nothing said about the foreclosure crisis and the housing crisis. People
are underwater in their homes. No discussion of it. These folks are
spending millions of dollars on ads and they`re not discussing the very
real issues affecting this state and country.

SHARPTON: Not even in the debate the other night. I cited how jobs
was barely mentioned. And I guess that`s the reason, you know, since
November, NBC has moved two Midwestern states from a toss-up to leaning
toward the Democrats with the presidential election.

BERNERO: I don`t know --

SHARPTON: Including Michigan.

BERNERO: I don`t know. I don`t know who the Republicans are talking
to, Rev. I can`t figure out. It`s like they`re on another planet. This
reminds me of when the -- remember the debt crisis when they didn`t want to
give the President the authority and they wanted to talk about the debt
ceiling and all of this. People -- we have real struggles. Real issues.
Let`s talk about the very real struggles that Michiganders, that Americans
are facing today. And the Republicans are tone deaf to it. They don`t get
it. I guess because they`re out picking out their next vehicle. If they
buy a Cadillac, I hope they buy a Lansing-made one. But still, we need to
address the real issues so that everybody could afford to be a part of this
economy.

SHARPTON: Mayor Virg Bernero, I told you last time, work on your
passion and you know, bringing out your points with some power. You are
getting a little better.

BERNERO: Have a great weekend.

SHARPTON: Thank you so much. Always a pleasure, you too Rev.

Still ahead, Jeb Bush has a warning for Republicans about all those
attacks on President Obama.

Plus, the stars are arriving any minute. Who will take home this
year`s Rev Carpet award? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with more Republicans committing voter fraud.
Meet Charlie White, Indiana`s former republican secretary of state. His
job was to keep voter fraud out of elections. But he lost his job after
being convicted of, say it with me, voter fraud. Now he`s been sentenced
to one year of home detention. The judge said, he violated the trust of
the people. And in South Carolina, the attorney general thinks zombies are
voting. Yes, they`re back. He claimed 900 dead people are voting but
state elections officials reviewed over 200 cases and couldn`t confirm
fraud in any of them. Say it with me, folks. The Republicans are so
worried about voter fraud so they should stop committing voter fraud.
That`s why we`re marching against new anti-voting laws next month. We`re
marching now to make sure that our voting rights are protected for now and
the next generation.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The GOP attacks on President Obama have become so personal
and so outrageous that now even some Republicans are getting worried.
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush says, quote, "I used to be a conservative,
and I watch these debates and I`m wondering, it`s a little troubling
sometimes when people are appealing to people`s fears and emotion." These
appeals to fear getting more shameless by the day. Just check out what
Rick Santorum said on the Glenn Beck Show.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I understand why Barack
Obama wants to send every kid to college. Because they are indoctrination
machines.

GLENN BECK, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Do we make it another four years
with Barack Obama?

SANTORUM: I think this country would be a fundamentally different
country at that point. I mean, I think we will have lost the very -- I am
not saying it just to you. I think we will have lost the very essence of
what America is about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What? The President`s re-election would somehow destroy
America`s essence? Those comments capped a week filled with the lowest
kind of attacks on the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANTORUM: This is what the President`s agenda -- it`s not about you.
It`s about some phony ideal. Some phony theology.

ROMNEY: I don`t think we`ve seen in the history of this country the
kind of attack on religious conscience, religious freedom, religious
tolerance that we`ve seen in Barack Obama.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Barack Obama is the most
dangerous president in modern American history. The President wants to
unilaterally weaken the United States.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you believe that President Obama is a Christian?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think you have to ask President Obama. Under
Islamic law, they -- the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim, as a
son of Islam.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is E.J. Dionne, columnist for "The
Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor. He just wrote an article about
all these attacks called President Obama as an alien. And Michael Steele,
MSNBC analyst and former RNC chairman. Thank you both for being here
tonight.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC ANALYST: Good to be with you, Rev.

E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: E.J., is such rough language new in mainstream politics?

DIONNE: We`ve had rough language at a lot of moments in our history.
And, you know, those of us on the liberal side, should acknowledge that
some people occasionally call President Bush a Nazi which they shouldn`t.
I don`t think anybody should use Nazi metaphors. But there is a different
quality to what is going on with President Obama. They`re trying to turn
him into a stranger. An alien. An kind of Manchurian candidate with a
hidden agenda for the country. And, you know, it`s not just you disagree
with him on something. It`s that he hates religion. Or as Reverend Graham
said later in that interview, he accused him of favoring Muslims over
Christians. You know, I believe in disagreement. I have a lot of
conservative friends. Love arguing with them about things. Disagreement
is one of the joys of freedom. But this goes way beyond disagreement to
really trying to say that Barack Obama is not one of us. Well, he sure is
one of us. He loves basketball. He`s got a very old-fashioned family
life. He loves this country. People should stop this nonsense. It`s four
years into his administration. And people are still saying this stuff.

SHARPTON: Well, talking about conservative friends, we like to argue
with, Michael, let me go to you.

STEELE: Exactly.

SHARPTON: A gifted man wrote, and let me show it to you, quote,
"there is something especially rancid about the never-ending efforts to
turn Obama into a stranger, an alien, a Manchurian candidate with a
diabolical hidden agenda. Of course, that gifted man was E.J. Dionne. I
mean, don`t you think, Michael, that some of this has gone over the top
cross the line?

STEELE: I do. I do, Reverend. And I think it`s -- it imperils the
overall effort that began in 2009 to re-establish the Republican Party and
its message as one that resonates with people. And I really appreciated
E.J.`s piece today because I thought it struck a number of chords. But you
know, to your first point, this has been sort of the poison of politics,
particularly in the last ten or so years, which I think is really coming to
a head in this campaign, unfortunately. I think you have, and you`ll
probably talk a little bit about Jeb Bush and others, who are beginning to
say, OK. Enough. We are losing sight of the policy discussion and debate
and this is becoming much more personal to the point where it`s turn
something people off, including some of our own. And I think we need to be
very careful that.

SHARPTON: No, I think E.J., that is -- the reality is that most
Americans don`t even understand what the candidates stand for. They are
just caught up in these attacks and who can out attack the President and
it`s become almost -- it would be funny if it wasn`t so sad. Let me show
you what Comedy Central, "The Daily Show" segment on GOP field among --
aimed at President Obama, give you an example of how it`s become a joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: What will be the Republicans` rhetorical strategy
against Obama this time around?

GINGRICH: He will wage war on the Catholic Church the morning after
he`s re-elected.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, November 3rd, 2012, right after the President-
elect enjoys a victory omelet, the Catholic Church will be attacked.

SANTORUM: America will not be the land that believes in free people
and free enterprise.

ROMNEY: If we re-elect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon.

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: There is no future. There
is no hope with President Obama having a second term.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You`re already dead. Everybody. You`re dead
already! This whole place. Everything you say is gone.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That is an example of how bizarre they are beginning to
look. But, E.J., how do you run for President when people think you are
that bizarre, that over the top, that extreme?

DIONNE: Well, I think that`s why Jeb Bush said what he said. Because
I think there are some smart Republicans. Jeb Bush is a smart guy. Who
realized that there were plenty of middle of the road voters whom
Republicans might reach if they wanted to make a real argument about
something, but who look at this just as that Jon Stewart clip did and said,
who are these folks saying about Obama, somebody I`ve gotten to know pretty
well over almost four years, that he is this kind of guy, this kind of
extreme guy who will change America in fundamental ways. I mean, I do, I
find to say, I find it amusing that here is Barack Obama who leads one of
the most traditional kind of family lives being criticized by people who,
not in all cases, lead quite as traditional a family life. I mean, what
are we talking about here?

SHARPTON: Well, I think that is interesting. Michael, let me ask you
this. When you hear people like George Will, a very respected conservative
columnist saying, neither Romney nor Santorum looks like a formidable
candidate in November, and former Mississippi Governor Hailey Barbour
saying, I don`t think any of them have made the case that I am the guy who
has the best chance to beat Obama. When you have prominent people like
this along with Jeb Bush, I mean, is this still a possibility somebody else
could come in or are you stuck with one of these guys that some of the
leaders of your party is saying, don`t cut the mustard?

STEELE: Well, you make it sound like a bad shoe. But you know, the
reality of it is, yes, anything is possible. Will it happen? I don`t
think it will. I think that if someone is injected into this thing at the
last minute, regardless of what the timetable may say in terms of their
ability to get in between now and the California primary, I think the base
would resoundingly reject them. I don`t think that there`s going to be
this overwhelming lurch toward that individual. The base has pretty much
said, we`re going to settle this out amongst these four individuals and
they`re going to ride this candidate into the fall. But it gets back to
the point of the segment which is the party as a whole has to recognize
this is not about the short-term sound bite against the Obama
administration or the President personally.

It is about our vision, our future for America and how we want to
bring people to embrace that ideal of this country as opposed to creating
up these straw arguments about the President`s faith, his family, his
community or whatever. I think we need to refocus here. I think the
message has got to be tighter and smarter than it`s been. And I think that
it`s time that we stop, you know, the sort of move towards the personal as
E.J. noted and talk more broadly about where we want to lead the country.

SHARPTON: Michael Steele, E.J. Dionne, thank you both for joining me
tonight. Have a great weekend.

DIONNE: And you, too, Reverend.

STEELE: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Up next, the Oscars are coming, and we`re giving out our
Rev Carpet awards. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. They are getting ready
for the Oscars in L.A. this weekend. But forget about the Red Carpet.
We`ve got the Rev Carpet. Get it? Let`s get right to our POLITICS NATION
awards. Our first category is best performance by Republicans playing
Democrats. And we have a three-way tie.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, BUSINESSMAN: It makes the party look like it isn`t a
modern party. It doesn`t understand the modern world that we live in.

JON HUNTSMAN, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Gone are the days when
the Republican Party used to put forward big, bold visionary stuff.

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I`m tired of dealing with the
crazies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Governor, I couldn`t agree with you more. For the next
award, the POLITICS NATION Academy couldn`t determine whether the nominee
belonged in the animation category, so we went out on a limb. The award
for the best presidential performance by a human being, we think, goes to
Mitt Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I love this state. It seems right here. The trees are the
right height. I love cars.

I should also tell my story. I`m also unemployed.

See if I can get my arms around everybody here. Much closer. Much
closer. Oh! Who let the dogs out? Who? Who?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A truly uncanny performance. Next award, best actor in the
Sci-Fi Thriller, and it goes to Speaker Newt Gingrich. Also known as Newt
Skywalker.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: We will have first permanent base on the moon, and it will
be American.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Congratulations, Newt. We also have an award for the best
female lead. Let`s look at the nominees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: When you have 40 percent of kids being born out of wedlock
and among certain ethnic groups, the vast majority being born out of
wedlock, you ask, how are we going to have a society in the future? The
morning after pills is nothing more than the birth control pill.

RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you voted forward Planned
Parenthood, like the senator has, you vote forward birth control pills.

SANTORUM: As president of the United States, I will defund Planned
Parenthood.

SHARPTON: Oh, sorry. Never mind. No women there. Guess that award
will have to wait until those Republicans figure out how to play a more
supporting role.

Folks, we`re going to end on a high note. An audience favorite. Our
nominees for best song in a presidential race are --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I`m so in love with you.

ROMNEY: O beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain.

CAIN: Imagine there`s no pizza.

OBAMA: Sweet home, Chicago

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Sorry, guys. Isn`t even close. Congratulations, Mr.
President.

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

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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