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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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Guests: Richard Wolffe, Bob Shrum; John Feehery; Joan Walsh, Richard Trumka, Terry O`Neill

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

Tonight`s lead, President Obama kicks it into high gear in a fiery
speech to the united auto workers. The president slammed mitt Romney on
the auto bailout just as Michigan voters headed to the polls in that
state`s critical GOP primary.


been funny to watch some of these folks completely try to rewrite history
now that you`re back on your feet.


OBAMA: The same folks who said if we went forward with our plan to
rescue Detroit, you can kiss the American automotive industry good-bye.
Now they`re saying we were right all along.




SHARPTON: The president also reminded voters of what would have
happened under Romney`s plan.


OBAMA: The other option was to do absolutely nothing and let these
companies fail. And you recall there were some politicians who said we
should do that. Some even said we should let Detroit go bankrupt. You
remember that?


SHARPTON: Turns out President Obama is the one who was right all
along and who brought automakers from the brink of disaster to record-
breaking success.


OBAMA: Three years later, the American auto industry is back.


OBAMA: GM is back on top as the number one automaker in the world.
Chrysler is growing faster in America than any other car company.


OBAMA: Ford is investing billions in American plants, American
factories, plants to bring thousands of jobs back to America.


SHARPTON: The auto bailout is just one of the issues that hurt
Romney. It was supposed to be an easy victory in his home state of
Michigan. Today, he admitted tonight`s outcome is too close to call and he
blamed his own weaknesses.


makes some mistakes, so I`m trying to do better and work harder and make
sure that we get our message across.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You say you have made some mistakes. I`m
curious what you`re talking b

ROMNEY: I can`t imagine would you have a hard time coming up with any



SHARPTON: Even if Romney survives Michigan, his own mistakes and
failure of leadership will follow him all the way to November. And make
for a sharp contrast with the commander in chief that we saw today.


OBAMA: But you know what, I did run to make the tough calls and do
the right things. No matter what the politics were.


OBAMA: I believed in you! I placed my bet on the American worker and
I`ll make that bet any day of the week!



SHARPTON: Joining me now, democratic strategist Bob Shrum, who is
also a professor at New York University and salon editor-in-chief, Joan

Thank you both for being on the show tonight.


JOAN WALSH, EDITOR IN CHIEF, SALON: Thank you, reverend.
SHARPTON: Bob, let start with you. What did you think of today`s speech
by President Obama?

SHRUM: Well, the president`s back. He is back in terms of the
rhetorical power that he brought to this, it sounded like 2008 again. He
has got a clear message, I`m fighting for you. You just heard them.


SHRUM: The other guy is fighting for the few, doesn`t care about you.
And one thing that struck me about this speech, very interesting, is the
president`s been very careful not to be triumphal about the economy. But
the Republicans by the positions he took on the auto industry gave him the
opportunity to go out there and talk in very affirmative terms about what
was achieved because of the decisions he made, 1.5 million jobs, a state
and an industry back on its feet and if you look at the polls, the
Republicans have no chance to carry Michigan in the fall.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan it is true the president had that passion, had
that energy. It was the Barack Obama of -- at its best in 2008, not just
the regular 2008.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: But also, he has some facts to back him up, the auto
bailout succeeding. Chrysler posted first profit in 15 years. GM is now
the world`s top automaker, 1.5 million jobs ahead. So, they have been
saying 1.5 million jobs. So, not only the fact that he was in great
oratorical form. There are some facts that he could speak about.

WALSH: Exactly. It`s not just what I am going to do for you. It`s
what I have done for you. And it`s very impressive. And you know, Mitt
Romney, reverend Al, I almost feel sorry for him, but really to say what he
said about his hometown, allegedly, let Detroit go bankrupt? Who says
things like that? I mean, seriously, I would say let Brooklyn go bankrupt?
I mean, New Yorkers still remember, you know, Gerald Ford`s New York, drop


WALSH: You don`t talk about your home like that. That`s what his
problem is. He has got a zillion homes and no ability to connect to any of
them answered just was willing to let Detroit die. And they are - people
are resisting him. People are paying him back. He is having a very hard
time with, you know, blue collar Republican voters. He is going to have a
very hard time tonight and, you know, I hear him admit his mistakes. I
don`t know that he is learning from his mistakes because he just keeps
repeating them.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, Bob, she, Joan, is absolutely right. And
you know, the fact is that the auto bailout is gaining in popularity, like
56 percent say it`s mostly good for the economy. That`s up 19 points since
October 2009. So, it is trending more toward the president.

But let me show you what Willard Mitt Romney said today about the
president`s speech. He was on FOX today and this is his response to the
president`s speech today.


ROMNEY: He sure has quite some rhetoric going there and frankly, what
should have happened in the auto industry is it should have gone through a
managed bankruptcy process and if government help -- was need to help them
get out of that bankruptcy process, that was something I said in my op-ed I
was open to, but the idea of writing checks to the companies, that was
something I opposed.


SHARPTON: I mean, he still doesn`t get it. It worked. I mean, he is
arguing as if it didn`t work, Bob.

SHRUM: It is totally deceptive and inaccurate.

WALSH: Right.

SHRUM: He says these go could have gone through managed bankruptcy,
relied on funds from the private sector. Steve Rattner who is in charge of
this, wrote a piece in the "New York Times," saying please name any private
sector borrower who was willing to come forward. The fact is, there was
none, in fact, Bain Capital, Mitt Romney`s old company, refused to invest
in this. If the money hadn`t come from the federal government, Detroit`s
auto industry wouldn`t exist today.

But you know, when you think about Romney, this is a guy who today
said I wouldn`t -- I`m not going to light my hair on fire presumably to
satisfy the right-wing. I don`t see why not. He has already lit his pants
on fire with a series of deception, flip flops, extruded lies like he tells
about the bankruptcy or about the transition in Detroit. I mean, this guy,
when you watch him and you watch Obama, you have to say how are the
Republicans going to put him up against the guy we saw today?

SHARPTON: Well, Joan, if you look at the fact, his favorability
ratings of Romney Sunday, just Sunday was 57 percent. After few
interviews, now he had a good showing in the debate, he is ahead. He
can`t, as my mother used to say, leave good enough alone. He does some
interview, he drops to 47 percent. He can`t get out of his own way.

WALSH: He can`t. And you know, I was thinking had listening to Bob.
You know, I don`t know why Mitt Romney didn`t get together with his friends
who own NASCAR teams. That would have been perfect, and raised money for
Detroit. I mean, it is such a great example.

Here is an area where, like it or not, maybe he has some expertise on
the economy and of course he is blowing it of course he is not telling the
truth, of course, he was useless and Bain Capital was useless, nobody
wanted to come to the aid and invest in these firms except -- except
President Bush, frankly and then President Obama doubled down, but you
know, it is just -- there`s such arm chair quarterbacks, you know. Just
like I would have done this and I would have done that without any real
accountability for how things turn out.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, I want to show you how the president, because
there are voters right now voting in Michigan and Arizona for the GOP
primary. President`s speech today managed to take a little jab at Romney
and Santorum in the same speech. Let me show you a little part of it.


OBAMA: These jobs are worth more than just a paycheck. First of all,
it`s a pride. There are ticketed to a middle class life. They make it
possible for you to own a home and raise kids and maybe send them, yes, to


OBAMA: Give you a chance to retire with some dignity and some


SHARPTON: I mean, is it even believable that Willard Mitt Romney,
front-runner, been running for five years, is fighting to win his home
state from a guy that suggested that going to college is snobbish? I mean,
I don`t even understand how Romney could sit and look at himself. This is
the guy representing this that`s giving him a hard time to win Michigan.

SHRUM: Well, you are right about that and Joan is right, too. This
guy is a very weak candidate. Romney is a mediocre politician. I like
what the president said today and I personally relate to it.

My dad was a tool and dye maker. The dream of his life would be that
I could go to college and he worked very hard and I got there. And I will
never forget his face on the day I graduate. I think it is con descending
to look at blue collar people and hard working people and say you don`t
want your kids to go to college, but we now have a Republican party that is
campaigning against the hope of going to college and access to birth
control. This is madness.

SHARPTON: Well, and I said I have to go but you must remember, you`re
talking from a man who himself went to two colleges and had degrees.

WALSH: He has three degrees.

SHARPTON: So, it`s all right for him but it`s snobbish when the rest
of us want to only be able to try to have our children achieve what he did.
I don`t think so Rick.

WALSH: Who`s the snob?

SHARPTON: Bob, Joan, thank you for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thanks, reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, it is the biggest day of Willard`s political life
and he is talking about mistakes made and ribbing the GOP base. Wait until
you hear this one.

Plus, big news today in the GOP war on women and why it could swing
the election.

And they are fighting for the top one percent. The president is
staying focused on the other 99.


OBAMA: I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the time.
You want to talk about values is the idea that we are all in it together
and I`m my brother`s keeper and sister`s keeper, that`s value.




SHARPTON: It`s one of the biggest nights in Willard`s political
career and he`s not doing himself any favors. Why the GOP is on edge
tonight. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome to "Politics Nation."

Tonight is arguably the biggest night in Willard Romney`s political
life. And that`s saying a lot for a man who`s been running for president
for most of his adult life. A loss tonight could send the GOP into chaos.

The latest poll shows Willard in a dead heat with Rick Santorum. With
Santorum holding a one-point lead. Today, Willard met with the press for
the first name three weeks and admitted what we all knew.


ROMNEY: The candidate sometimes makes some mistakes and so I`m trying
to do better and work harder and make sure that we get our message across.
People are going to see in some case cases our flaws overemphasized.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You think the specific comments about
your own wealth, whether the Cadillacs line or NASCAR team line on Sunday,
do you realize how those are hurting your campaign?

ROMNEY: Yes. Next question.


SHARPTON: Next question? Don`t think so Willard. Let`s hold it
right there. This is a big admission. He knows he is a flawed candidate
and those flaws came out again today.

Last night we told but this Santorum Robocall going out to Democrats
in Michigan.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Join Democrats who are going to send a loud
message to Massachusetts Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for
president. This call is supported by hard-working democratic men and women
and paid for by Rick Santorum for president.


SHARPTON: Today, Willard blasted Santorum for the call.


ROMNEY: I think Republicans have to recognize there`s a real effort
to kidnap our -- our primary process and if we want Republicans to nominate
the Republican who takes on Barack Obama, I need Republicans to get out and
vote and say no to the dirty tricks of a desperate campaign.


SHARPTON: But five years ago, he was all for those dirty tricks.


ROMNEY: In Massachusetts, if you register as an independent, you can vote
in either the Republican or democratic primary. When there was no real
contest in the Republican primary, I would vote in the democratic primary,
vote for the person I thought would be the weakest opponent for a
Republican. I would go in their primary, just like a lot of other folks
and voted against the person how thought was the strongest democrat.

Now, that happens in America today.


SHARPTON: So, on the biggest day of his campaign, he admits mistakes
and then makes another big one. This is going to be an interesting night.

Joining me now, MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe. He is the
author of "revival, the struggle for survival inside the Obama White
House," and John Feehery, a Republican strategist and president of QGA

Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Richard, let me start with you. If Romney loses Michigan,
how much trouble will he and the Republican Party be in?

WOLFFE: Well, I think they already are in a lot of trouble, whether
he wins or loses. His numbers have collapsed among independents and women
two big advantages before the Republican Party, brand has taken a big hit.
But even before his stumbles as a candidate, you got to look at the
strategic errors he has made.

He has been unconvincing in the culture wars against Santorum. He has
been unconvincing on the economic message, particularly with the auto
bailout and his position on bankruptcy there. And more broadly, if the
early reports of low turnout and more independence coming into this
Michigan primary are true, then it also suggests that the tea party folks,
that enthusiasm, those voters who showed up and put them over the top in
2010, are not there this time around and for Republicans as a whole,
Michigan looks like a watershed if those numbers are true.

SHARPTON: Now, John, let me ask you, you are a Republican strategist
and you see what`s going on here. Is Mitt Romney finished if he loses
Michigan or is he wounded if it is even close?

FEEHERY: You know, I think for Mitt Romney, all about getting more
delegates to get you over the top. I think that even if he loses Michigan,
he will pretty much tie Rick Santorum in the delegate count. I think he
has got more money and more resources.

My guess is if he does lose in Michigan, you are going to have a big -
the Republican establishment will give him a lot more money because they
are worried about Rick Santorum and I do think at the end of the day, Mitt
Romney is going to eke this thing out.

Now, it is not going to be easy, as he has said himself, he has made
some mistakes and he understands that he has made mistakes. He has got to
do some course correction here and he has got to run a better campaign.
But I do think that at tend of the day, Mitt Romney is going to win this

SHARPTON: Now, let go back to you a minute, Richard. He addressed
today that he`s got to do some things, but he said but so far, he would go.
Let me show you something he said about his trouble with the conservative
base and what he is willing to do or not do.

WOLFFE: Right.


ROMNEY: It is very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments.
We saw throughout the campaign if you are following say really outrageous
things accusative and attacking President Obama that you are going to jump
up in the polls. You know, I`m not willing to light my hair on fire to try
to get support. I am who I am.


SHARPTON: Richard, he is not willing to light his hair on fire. Good
old flip-flopper here around there and a little distortion but he`s not
going to set his hair on fire.

WOLFFE: He says other people have gone up in the polls by attacking
President Obama. His entire stump speech is about attacking the president.
He has not been shy about wade nothing that and saying the most incredible
things. He says the president has declared a war on religion. He doesn`t
have a problem doing that if you are not going to make the base
enthusiastic, then who are you exciting to turn up to vote?

FEEHERY: Richard, let`s be honest here. Mitt Romney has been much
more tempered than some of the other candidates. He has not had
incendiary. I think those comments today will help him in the general
election. We all understand right now the polls aren`t doing that well for
Republicans, which is not that surprising. It has been a very bruising
contest in the primary level.

But once we get through this, I think Mitt Romney`s best -- in the
best position right now and even those comments to go after the middle --
the vast middle and get more moderate voters. He is not good now but it
will be later on, I guarantee.

SHARPTON: But John, to say he has been less incendiary than the rest,
when you have the most incendiary group that we have seen in probably our

FEEHERY: And to --

SHARPTON: Let me finish. To be less incendiary doesn`t mean you
haven`t been incendiary. But let`s look at the fact that the recent CNN
poll found that Republicans don`t even like the current field. So let`s
forget about the experts and the pundits. Forty four percent of
Republicans are not satisfied with candidates. That has to speak to some
kind of fear and at least some anguish in your party.

FEEHERY: Is not that surprising because Republicans have been
attacking Republicans. The super PACs have actually been not that great
for Republicans because they have been spending all their money attacking
each other in very personal terms.

And you know, one thing that Mitt Romney has not done, and I`m not
supporting Mitt Romney necessarily, but he has not attacked the president
in personal terms. He has disagreed with him, but he has been very
measured in his -- I think very respectful of the president, which I think
will help him in the general election.

WOLFFE: Well, I don`t know what you call accusing you the president
of a war on religion is. Maybe he did it in a respectful way, but come on.

FEEHERY: That`s not that -- you know what --

WOLFFE: That`s not that bad? Really?

FEEHERY: He is not setting his hair on fire.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute to attack someone`s religion and to attack
someone`s values not personal?

FEEHERY: Well, he is not -- he has been very measured in his
comments. He says he likes the president. He just doesn`t think he is
very good at being president and I think that that kind of measured tone --

SHARPTON: He attack the man`s religious beliefs, he attacked the man

FEEHERY: He did not attack the president`s religious believes, he
attacked the president`s policies which have their big question --

SHARPTON: Based on religion.

FEEHERY: Well, listen, the president has been attacking the catholic
church, saying this they have got to offer a certain type of policies, so I
think that that is a very -- that is a --

SHARPTON: There is a big difference -- just a minute, John. There is
a big difference in someone saying that you`re waging a religious war and
in someone saying to church and other institutions you have to follow the
law. One is a frontal attack. Another is upholding the law. There`s no
comparison between the two.

FEEHERY: The president`s policies of attack religious belief. They
have attacked what the catholic church --

SHARPTON: The constitution says there is a division between the --

FEEHERY: The constitution says there should be, yes, there should be
and the Obama administration has been attacking the catholic church and I
think it`s very unfortunate. They had to back up, thankfully, haven`t
backed up nearly enough, but they have attacked what the core beliefs of
the catholic church. You can disagree with that, but you shouldn`t make
the catholic church do things it doesn`t want to do.

SHARPTON: No. No I think that the problem here is, and I want to go
back to you, Richard, but the problem here is that it is not about making
the catholic church, it is about whether any church, my church, catholic
church, your church, can make the country and the state do what they want
to do the laws of the state --

FEEHERY: Separate coverage.

SHARPTON: Of a church, let`s be clear about that. That`s the
problem. This is a democracy you not a theocracy. Let me go back to you,
a minute, Richard.

FEEHERY: When you make the church do something it doesn`t want to do,
that is an attack on the church.

SHARPTON: Not telling the church how to conduct its services, they
are going to say if you are going to have things that are going to operate
outside the order of your worship, you have to follow the laws of the
state. The church can`t come along and say we will operate schools,
hospitals do whatever we want.

FEEHERY: You want the catholic church to stop doing all the --

SHARPTON: I want the catholic church to follow the same law that my
church and anybody else --

FEEHERY: Contraception that`s a war on religion, of course it is.

SHARPTON: Richard, let give you the last word.

WOLFFE: No one is making anyone do contraception. Come on John.

FEEHERY: Sure it is. Ask Bill Daley, Richard.

WOLFFE: Hold on, you have had plenty of time. Let`s just take your
position that, yes, Mitt Romney is even more moderated than that
discussion. He is more moderated than other candidates in the field. But
even after the compromise is announced with the president and catholic
groups, like the nuns --

FEEHERY: Not continue to go to my parish.

WOLFFE: John, can you hold on for one second? He continued to say
this president launched this unprecedented war on religion, like it had to
the persecution of Mormons, come on that is not moderated.

SHRUM: And very personal.

WOLFFE: But within this context it is actually somehow considered

SHARPTON: Well, Richard, John, I`m going to have to let it go and
again, we are not talking about your parish, John, we were talking about
people that work in institutions that have the right to their decisions,
the state has to protect them.

Thank you for your time tonight.

Still ahead, president Obama bets on the American worker around the
economy and his re-election. I will talk about it with Richard Trump, co-
head of the AFL-CIO, the largest labor union federation in the country.

Plus, why are Republicans going out of their way to alienate over half
the country? New signs that women voters stampeding away from the GOP and
toward the president. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: President Obama was at his best in the speech today,
calling for fairness. It reminded me of someone else we saw also speaking
to a union member crowd four years ago.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I am tired of playing defense.
I know the AFL-CIO is tired of playing defense. We are ready to play some
offense. We are ready to play some offense for organized labor. It`s time
we had a president who didn`t choke saying the word union.


SHARPTON: He is still playing offense and we are going to be seeing a
whole lot more of this fighter. I talked to you about it with Richard
Trumka, co-president of the AFL-CIO, that`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Today, President Obama
launched a new electrifying defense of unions and the working class. In a
speech to the United Auto Workers in Washington, the President made it
clear that fairness and economic justice are American values.


OBAMA: I keep on hearing these same folks talk about values all the
time. You want to talk about values, hard work that`s a value.


Looking out for one another, that`s a value. The idea that we are all
in it together and I`m my brother`s keeper and sister`s keeper, that`s



SHARPTON: The President also used some colorful language in talking
about critics who say the auto bailout was some sort of pay back to unions.


OBAMA: You have got folks saying the real problem is, what we really
disagreed with is the workers, they all made out like bandits. The saving
the auto industry was just about paying back the unions. Really? I mean,
even by the standards of this town, that`s load of you know what.



SHARPTON: Right on cue, the Republican National Committee attacked
the President`s speech for being part of a quote, "Insider deal with union
cronies." It`s the same talking point we heard from Mr. one percent
himself, Mitt Romney.


capitalism that the people who gave him the most money for his campaign
were union bosses. Speaks at the National Labor Relations Board.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO,
the nation`s largest federation of labor unions. Richard, thank you for
being here.

RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: Al, thanks for having me on, I
really appreciate it.

SHARPTON: Now, a new poll shows Romney`s favorable ratings among
white, working class voters is just 37 percent. Are you surprised by that
given all the union bashing and bragging about Cadillacs that Willard is

TRUMKA: Well, surprise it had is 37 percent. I would have thought it
would be a lot lower. He doesn`t have any sensitivity towards working
people and it comes out every day when he says, oh, my wife has a couple
of Cadillacs, my friends are the owner of these race cars, every day
language, he talks about how separated he is from average working people
and how he doesn`t really understand us. The most telling comment I think
he made, Al, was when he said I made $370,000 last year on speeches, but
that`s insignificant.

SHARPTON: Yes, like it was no money at all. And.


SHARPTON: .the thing that I think that you`ve had to really work
against and a lot of your colleagues in the labor movement has been the
misperception that this is some marginal group. American people support
the right and the necessity of unions. When you look at the polls and you
ask people are unions necessary? All, 60 percent, Democrats, 75 percent
say they are, independents, 65 percent. Even 41 percent of Republican, the
majority of Americans say, unions are necessary.

TRUMKA: Well, they also support the institution of collective
bargaining. Ask John Kasich if people in Ohio support collective
bargaining. Ask Scott Walker in Wisconsin if people support collective
bargaining. They support the right of workers to come together to speak
as a unified voice to get a better deal, so that our wages can come up, we
can create aggregate demand and drive an economy forward so that all of us
get the benefit and not just the top one percent that Romney comes from.

SHARPTON: Well, you mentioned Scott Walker, let me show you what
Scott Walker said about unions speaking at CPAC.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We want to make sure we empower the
tax fairs of our state instead of a handful of big government union bosses,
collective bargaining is not a right in the public sector. Collective
bargaining is an expensive entitlement.


SHARPTON: Collective bargaining is an expensive entitlement.

TRUMKA: Collective bargaining is the only institution that gives
workers the right to get a fair share. You got people at the top, Wall
Street, making billions of dollars, paying no taxes. When you don`t have a
voice, you`re at their mercy. When workers can come together, they can get
a fair share and not only that, we make better products. We make more
expensive products. We make things that are very, very quality oriented,
we make the best products out there. So, having a voice at work gives us a
fair share and it makes the economy a whole lot fairer. Now, he wouldn`t
understand that because Scott Walker is beholden to people like the Koch
Brothers who have billions of dollars and have given him hundreds of
millions of dollars and have taken hundreds of millions of dollars out of
the economy in tax breaks and other up fair treatment that he receives.

SHARPTON: Now, contrast Scott Walker, who is on thin ice in Wisconsin
with a recall coming his way from the voters. Contrast that with what
President Obama says about unions and working and collective bargaining.

TRUMKA: President Obama gets it.


OBAMA: They`re talking about you like you`re some special interest
that needs to be beaten down. Since when are hardworking men and women who
are putting in a hard day`s work every day, since when are they special
interests? What is it about working men and women they find so offensive?


SHARPTON: That`s quite a contrast.

TRUMKA: It`s real easy to contrast. President Obama understands
working people, supports working people and is a friend of working people.
Scott Walker doesn`t understand working people. He supports people like
the Koch Brothers who give him millions and millions and millions of
dollars and expect to get even more back in unfair treatment, special
treatment and in donations. So, it`s a real simple contrast. The
President understands working America and supports them.

SHARPTON: Let me, before I let you go, Richard, this Sunday, we are
starting a march, National Action Network and I and others, around voter
I.D., voter suppression and we are honored that you, AFL-CIO, and others
are partnering with us on it. Today, the attorney general of the United
States was questioned about it in Washington. I want you to play that and
in response, tell me why you and labor are so energized around this voter
I.D. issue. Listen to Attorney General Holder in Washington today.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I think we should think long and
hard about whether or not these photo I.D. laws in curing a problem that I
don`t think necessarily exists but has a negative impact on the ability of
people to get to the polls is a worthwhile policy initiative.


SHARPTON: You jumped in there AFL-CIO and your affiliates with both
feet, why is this so important?

TRUMKA: Well, let`s go back to the original march in 1965. People
were marching in `65 to have the right to vote. They were trying to
suppress their vote by doing poll taxes, by threatening people, by not
giving them the ability to vote. Here we are, 47 years later and workers
are getting the same thing. They try to take away same day voter
registration. They try to cut down or eliminate the number of early voting
so that people can go to the polls, it makes it easier for them. They try
to impose these voter I.D. laws and they say there`s voter fraud but they
can produce no voter fraud. It`s an attempt to suppress the votes.

So, 47 years after the original Selma march, here we are, marching
again, because the same assault on workers` rights, voters` rights and
immigrant rights, quite frankly, are taking place in this country. They
believe, the other side believes, that if they suppress the vote that they
win elections. The lower the vote, the better off they are, because they
don`t represent the values of the majority of people in this country. They
represent the very rich. That`s very small group and so the smaller the
vote, the better off they are and they are trying to do this in everyday
life. And we are going to stop it because we believe every American has
the right to vote. In fact, every American should vote.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

TRUMKA: Make their position known so that when we elect people, it
isn`t 10 percent of the population that elects somebody that represents all
of us. It is a majority of the people that is going to elect somebody to
represent the rest of us.

SHARPTON: Richard Trumka, thank you for your time tonight and thank
you for your partner. And I want to also thank the AFL-CIO for joining me
on the march in Alabama next week, where we will be fighting to make sure
our voting rights are protected?

Up next, Republicans ram through a new anti-woman bill in a critical
swing state. No wonder women voters are flocking to the president. We
will talk about it with Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization of Women. Americans believe they should be in charge of their
own future.


SHARPTON: We are back with the GOP war on women. Despite the outrage
we have seen over the last few weeks, Republicans are still pressing
forward with their extreme agenda, but President Obama`s on the right side
of the issue, fighting for women`s rights to free contraceptive care and
women`s right to choose and a brand new poll today shows American women are
on his side. The President has seen a 10-point surge with women in just
the last two months. He now leads Romney 54 to 41 with women. And leads
Santorum 56 to 40 with women, all four candidates support extreme
personhood laws, they ban abortion and hormonal birth control.

Their job just got harder today in some big swing states. The
Virginia Senate passed the controversial ultrasound bill today. A woman
seeking an abortion is now required to get a non-invasive ultrasound and
must have a 24-hour waiting period. And Pennsylvania is poised to enact
what might just be the strictest abortion law of the year, pushing forward
with another invasive ultrasound bill, even worse than the one Virginia
just passed. This isn`t a winning issue for the Republicans but they still
haven`t gotten the memo.

Joining me now is Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization of Women. It`s great to have you with us today.

Reverend, it`s great to talk to you again.

SHARPTON: You saw those poll numbers, Terry, how can they continue to
support these extreme laws?

O`NEILL: I do not know what they are thinking. In Virginia, you have
Governor Bob McDonnell poised to sign a law that we are now calling the
ritualized humiliation law, because it is a medically unnecessary, costly,
mandatory ultrasound that has no purpose other than to ritually humiliate
women who are seeking an abortion, which, by the way, is still legal in
this country. And he is not winning himself any friends among women voters
by doing that.

SHARPTON: Now, just so people will not think that you and I are
cherry picking this as some kind of issue against people, this is
spreading. When you look at the map and you have eight states pushing
ultrasound bills this year, eight states, including three king -- key swing
states, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, are three of the eight that are
pushing these ultrasound laws, then you have 13 states pushing personhood
laws this year, including five swing states, so this is a national movement
that we are dealing with here.

O`NEILL: You know, it really is. And I think that politicians are
going to learn come November that there is a price that they pay for going
after women`s health. Look, younger women have grown up in a world where
birth control is the norm and it`s health care. They have group up in a
world where, unfortunately from my point of view, abortion has been a
political issue. But birth control and breast cancer and cervical cancer,
those are health care issues, they are not political issues. And it is not
just young women, it is young men that are being completely turned off by
this full-bore attack on young women`s ability just to get ordinary
reproductive health care. This is going to have -- not only is this going
to bite the politicians come November who are trying to restrict birth
control and humiliate women who are seeking abortions, it`s going to have a
very long-term effect I think on these politicians` careers.

SHARPTON: Now, Terry, when you, let`s take this as an example, take a
closer look at this Pennsylvania, this real controversial Pennsylvania
ultrasound bill being pushed. It would require invasive ultrasound,
require 24-hour waiting period, strongly encourages women to view and
listen to the ultrasound and forces women to take the sonogram to a doctor.
I mean, this is some extreme stuff in 2012.

O`NEILL: Yes, and the only purpose of it is to humiliate. Now, the
Pennsylvania version is, in fact, state-sponsored rape. The FBI defines
rape as penetration, however slight, non-consensually, without consent. A
woman who doesn`t consent to it has just been raped by a state law that
requires the doctor to perform this trans-vaginal procedure. It is
completely outrageous. You know, down in Alabama, they have -- they
introduced a law like this but the individual who introduce it suddenly
said, well, I will take the trans-vaginal part of it out and give the woman
the choice, he actually used that word.

SHARPTON: The choice.

O`NEILL: The choice, as to whether this mandatory procedure should be
external or internal. That`s not a choice. It is humiliation of women and
it is absolutely outrageous whether it`s internal or external.

SHARPTON: The politics of this though is what is baffling if they are
trying to win because when you look at 2008, President Obama, then-
candidate Obama, receives 56 percent of the vote of women and McCain, 43
percent. Two thousand four, John Kerry got 51 percent against Bush`s 48
percent, much smaller margin. You cannot win with this gap between women
supporting overwhelmingly one candidate against another, so the politics of
this just doesn`t make any sense but it seems like they are just blindly
attacking women`s rights, even driving their numbers further and further to
the President.

O`NEILL: They really are, Mitt Romney is on record telling Mike
Huckabee that he supports personhood amendments. Rick Santorum has
actually signed a pledge promising that if elected president, he will push
personhood laws. These are laws that criminalize all abortions, no
exception for rape or to save the life of a woman that also criminalize
in-vitro fertilization, most forms of birth control.

SHARPTON: It`s unbelievable, I`m going to have to leave it there,
Terry, but this is something we are going to have to continue to fight and
as we saw it going national, we`ll going to stay on this, Terry O`Neill,
thanks for your time tonight.

O`NEILL: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: We are back with the call you don`t want to miss. Stay
with us.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, I want to talk to you about something
that`s very important to me and the folks here at POLITICS NATION. You
know -- (phone ringing), I don`t know who that was. Sorry for the
interruption, what was I saying? This is something we have covered an
awful lot here. (Phone ringing) excuse me for one second. Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Join Democrats who are going to send a loud message
to Massachusetts Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president.
This call is paid for by Rick Santorum for president.

SHARPTON: Oh, yes, I`ve been hearing about this Robo-call all day.
Rick Santorum thinks he can woo Democrats to vote for him. That`s crazy.
But, you know, this could be a lot of fun if the roles were reversed. Let
me give this a trial.

Hello, Rick. It`s Reverend Al. I think you should spend a lot less
time making phone calls and more time reading the constitution. This
message has been paid for by the blueberry pie Super PAC.

That was fun. I know who exactly wants to hear from me today. Hey,
Willard, it`s Reverend Al. Do yourself a favor and stop talking about
Cadillacs. This message has been paid for by the blueberry pie Super PAC.

I think I`m getting the hang of this thing now. Now down to business.
This one is a long distance one. Hey, Jeb, it`s Reverend Al. I heard the
weather`s beautiful in Florida this time of year. Is that the ocean I hear
in the background? I`m calling to let you know that you should just stay
on the beach and do absolutely nothing. This message has been paid for by
the blueberry pie Super PAC.

Well, that was fun. But it`s time for me to call it quits. But Rick
Santorum is still out there, so, folks, remember, screen your phone calls.

Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

Hey, Prince William, it`s Reverend Al, do you like blueberry pie?


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