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PoliticsNation, Monday, March 5, 2012

Read the transcript from the Friday show

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Guests: Joe Madison; Laura Bassett; Steve Kornacki, Ed Rendell, Jay Love,
Carolyn Maloney; Paul Rothstein; Frankie Wilmer

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to special edition of
"Politics Nation. I`m Al Sharpton. Live tonight from the state capitol in
Montgomery, Alabama.

I`ve been privileged to be here with men and women of all ages from
all walks of life marching to protect every American`s right to vote. We
are walking ten miles a day for five days, retracing the route of the
historic 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery which ended on the steps of
the capitol behind me. A milestone, in the fight for civil rights.

Tonight, we`ll talk about the scandal engulfing Rush Limbaugh. It`s
growing, despite his so-called apology. A major media company pulls out.
Is this the beginning of the end for Rush Limbaugh?

And there`s some grim news today for Mitt Romney right before Super
Tuesday primaries. But we start tonight with justice. A symbol of what we
are marching against in this country, a shocking racist e-mail from a
federal judge, who, unless we act, will be back on the bench tomorrow
making decisions. Montana`s top judge, a Bush appointee, named Richard
Cebull, has apologized for e-mailing a joke suggesting that President
Obama`s late mother had sex with a dog.

You heard right, with a dog. At the top of the e-mail, Cebull wrote,
quote, "I want all of my friends to feel what I felt when I read this. I
hope it touches your heart like it did mine." He later admitted he sent it
out because he was, quote, "anti-Obama."

After getting caught, Cebull asked an appeals court to review the
incident for possible misconduct. He then wrote a letter to President
Obama directly saying, quote, "Honestly, I don`t know what else I can do."

I know what else you can do, judge. You can resign. A man with these
opinions has no right to sit in judgment of others.

But Cebull is due back on the bench tomorrow. Many of us have said
things we regretted. Many of you at home have said things you wish you`d
never said. But we don`t sit on a federal bench. We don`t use federal e-
mails to send around racist and misogynist messages and then expect the
public to expect that we can impartially and fairly sit in judgment with
the federal government`s backing. Cebull should resign.

Joining me now is Montana`s state representative, Frankie Wilmer, who
is running for Congress in November and Joe Madison, nationally syndicated
host of "Mornings with Madison" on Sirius XM radio.

Representative Wilmer, let me start with you. More than 1600 people
have already signed an online petition demanding Cebull resign. Isn`t the
verdict of the people already clear on this matter?

FRANKIE WILMER (D), STATE REPRESENTATIVE, MONTANA: Well, yes,
Reverend Sharpton. I think it`s absolutely clear the judge did demonstrate
not just poor judgment but in the constitution what`s called bad behavior.
Judges are appointed for life, but the constitution actually says they
serve during good behavior. The best judgment he could exercise now is to
resign, acknowledging that his conduct does not meet that standard in the
constitution.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe Madison, so one does not think that we`re playing
politics here, Representative Wilmer. One of the largest if not the
largest newspaper in the Montana -- the "Billings Gazette" said in an
editorial yesterday, quote, "from now on, his image will be stained with
the ugly truth about the message he distributed. We call on judge Cebull
to put this awful incident to rest honorably by stepping down."

JOE MADISON, HOST, MORNINGS WITH MADISON: You should also point out -
-

SHARPTON: Joe.

MADISON: Yes, Reverend Sharpton, you should also point out that in
his apology, he admitted that it was racist. That`s also something that he
did. And he went ahead and did it anyway. I think today we should call on
a joint group of the American bar association and the national bar
association. They should both come together. The national bar association
being the African-American group of lawyers. They should join with the
parent American bar association. I think that you have individuals like
Ted Turner, for example, who is one of the largest, if not the largest land
owner in Montana along with some other prominent Americans that should join
us in calling for his resignation. The thing that bothers me --

SHARPTON: Well, I think that that is all well and good but let me ask
you this, for Representative Wilmer, what about the fact that the
Republican candidates for president who has an opinion on everything else
and who would be appointing federal judges, if any of them were successful,
why aren`t we hearing any of them denounce and call for this judge to step
down. We hear their opinion on everything else.

Can you imagine if an Obama or Clinton appointed federal judge had
said this about a sitting Republican president and about his mother that we
would not hear the Republican candidates for president not come out and
call for the removal of that judge?

WILMER: Yes, Reverend Sharpton. I young hit the nail on the head.
The most disappointing thing, first of all is that people cannot go into
this judge`s court and expect justice. That`s the first casualty here.

But the next thing that bothers me, and it`s similar to the reaction
to Rush Limbaugh`s comments is the failure of Republican leadership,
conservative leadership to step up and condemn these kinds of statements
and activities.

SHARPTON: Now Joe, when you look at the fact that what she just said
was also reflected by the "Billings Gazette` editorial saying no litigants
or attorneys before him should have to wonder if his judgment is clouded by
disgusting ideas conveyed in his e-mail. I also would like to see a review
of all of the cases he`s had in front of him. How do we know who he has
already made decisions on based on this bias? And then show you what some
of the ordinary people in Montana had to say. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was offended by it because he is a judge and he
is in a position of authority to put people away every day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That e-mail was highly racist, I thought. Everybody
can screw up and make a mistake but for him to do it from his office, you
know, that makes it a little more difficult.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now when you hear that, Joe Madison you hear what you are
talking about, the legal groups and I`m saying the Republican candidates,
the elected federal officials in Montana, kind of not saying what I think
they should. Senator Tester says he`s concerned. Senator Baucus says he`s
disappointed. Representative Rehberg, concern. None of them calling for
his resignation.

MADISON: And this is reflective of the Republican Party leadership.
We`re seeing it with Obama, these apologies that have no consequences. And
I think people ought to understand one other thing. We have a Judiciary
Committee of both the Senate and the house. Where is the call for an
investigation? This judge should be called. There might be room for
impeachment in the canons. All of this has to be considered and it`s the
Republicans, for example, that run the House of Representatives.

I bet you if John Conyers was still chairman of the Judiciary
Committee, there would have been a hearing on this judge. And keep in
mind. He`s not just a federal judge. He is the chief federal judge. He
is the top honcho.

SHARPTON: In the state of Montana. That`s right.

MADISON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Well let me -- I`m glad you raised that, Joe. Let me --
both of you stay with me a moment.

Let me bring in Paul Rothstein, constitutional law professor at
Georgetown University. Professor, thanks for joining me.

PAUL ROTHSTEIN, CONSTITUTIONAL LAW PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY:
Thank you for asking.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you. You are the expert here. What does it
take to remove a federal judge from office?

ROTHSTEIN: Well it has to be the impeachment process which they tried
to do to President Clinton. It requires a majority vote in the House of
Representatives. And then it goes over to the Senate and it requires two-
thirds of a vote in the Senate. An actual trial in the Senate and then
two-thirds vote to kick the judge out. So it`s very, very difficult. And
the standard is very high. This good behavior standard that`s in the
constitution has been interpreted to be the equivalent of the standard that
applies to the president and other government officials. And that is high
crimes and misdemeanors which is a very high bar.

So it`s probably not realistic to expect that the political will, the
way the congressmen are now, would be martial to do that. But there are
other things. There are complaints that can be made to the judicial board,
the judicial commission. But none of it is going to result with him being
compelled to leave.

There might be some other sanctions, public censure, private censure,
maybe some effect on what cases are assigned him. But it`s really not
going to reject him. That has to be -- he has to resign. Maybe public
pressure can make him resign.

SHARPTON: Professor, what you are telling me then is the appeals
court is reviewing this, but they may not remove him. That you don`t know
if the Senate or the house has the will to move him. If I`m a person in
Montana, you mean I could stand in front of this guy and he could have
demonstrated the judgment that would make the president`s mother having had
sex with a dog and the president being a result of that and he has this
kind of vice for consenting judgment of me and there`s nothing I could do
to protect myself?

ROTHSTEIN: It`s absolutely awful. Now, it`s such a biased statement.
It insults women, insults minorities. He`s a litigant who belongs to those
groups and other litigants. They`re not going to get a fair shake or at
least they`re not going to accept they get a fair shake. And it`s
important that people have respect and accept the judgment of judges.

Now, what they could do is move. If they had a case, they could move
for recusal of the judge to get the judge thrown off that particular case
because of manifest bias. So that is something that they could do.

SHARPTON: Well, I mean, this is shocking. We`ve all said things
we`ve regretted. I`ve said things I`ve regretted. But a federal judge to
sit in a federal courthouse and use federal e-mail to distribute this, this
is alarming, to say the least. We`re not going to let it go.

State representative Frankie Wilmer --

ROTHSTEIN: It`s also a very stupid move.

SHARPTON: Very stupid. But stupidity is not the end of this. This
is the beginning of this. Thank you, Paul Rothstein and Joe Madison.

ROTHSTEIN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: I might be my next stop. Thank you all for your time.

Coming up, Rush Limbaugh`s sorry excuse for an apology has some
Republicans circling the wagons. But it hasn`t changed my mind. Rush has
got to go.

And, some dramatic new proofs that the GOP primary is hurting Mitt
Romney and helping President Obama.

"Politics Nation" is here in Montgomery, Alabama, all week long.
We`re marching for voting rights, immigration rights, for education rights
and for our civil rights. We`re here to talk about what`s going on in this
country.

Forty seven years ago, people were beaten with Billy clubs, attacked
with teargas and murdered fighting for the try to vote. They were just
asking for the right to vote. Today, we find ourselves under attack again.
Voter I.D. laws, suppressed voters. So we`re marching here. All the
sacrifices and the people that gave their lives for equality, it`s not
about the past. It`s about the future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`re not in the Promised Land yet, but the same God that
brought us across the red sea of Selma 47 years ago can bring us across our
Jordan today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (SINGING): This little light of mine I`m going to
let it shine this little light of mine I`m going to let it shine let it
shine this little light of mine I`m going let it shine let it shine let it
shine."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Rush Limbaugh apologized on his show today, and then dug
himself deeper. The firestorm against him is growing. Another major
backer has now pulled out. His sorry excuse is just not working. That`s
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. We`re live tonight from near the capitol in
Montgomery, Alabama.

The red-hot fire burning under Rush Limbaugh is only getting hotter.
After three days of calling a college student a slut, growing backlash and
advertisers bailing, Rush Limbaugh apologized in a statement over the
weekend. Here`s what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO SHOW HOST: I again sincerely apologize to Miss
Fluke for using those two words to describe her. The apology to her over
the weekend was sincere. It was simply for using inappropriate words in a
way I never do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Never using inappropriate words? Is that a joke? And then
right after his apology, he continued and said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: I acted too much like the leftists who despise me. I
descended to their level using names and exaggerations to describe Sandra
Fluke. It`s what we have come to know and expect of them but its way
beneath me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is absolutely appalling. He tries to apologize and he
manages to insult leftists. But this next part is what really struck me.
Moments later, he attacked the law student again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LIMBAUGH: She is a gender activist and her -- she was at Cornell from
1999 to 2003. She got a BS in policy analysis and management and feminist
gender and sexuality studies. And while she was there, she organized
activities centered on the far left feminist and gender equity or equality
movements, and she went to a lot of rallies supporting abortion. She
doesn`t have any expertise in anything we`re talking --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I am flat out not buying the excuse. And neither is Miss
Fluke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDRA FLUKE, STUDENT: I don`t think that a statement like this
issued saying that his choice of words was not the best changes anything,
and especially when that statement is issued when he`s under significant
pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: She`s right. And the pressure is growing. Rush`s
advertisers literally aren`t buying it. Twelve advertisers are now gone.
They`ve pulled out from Rush`s radio show. One of the biggest names on
that list is AOL. In a statement today, AOL said, quote, "at AOL, our one
core value is that we act with integrity. Mr. Limbaugh`s comments are not
in line with our values." And the first radio station has dropped him.
KPUA in Hawaii said, quote, "It has never been our goal to allow our
station to be used for personal attacks and intolerance."

But we still haven`t heard from the Republican leadership. Where are
they? Where`s the outrage? Someone show some leadership. And the right
wing media is rallying around Rush. Bill O`Reilly and Sean Hannity are
throwing their support his way. And today the American spectator is
calling to rally around Rush. Red states Erik Eriksson is also backing
Rush up.

The bottom line is this apology was bogus. He doesn`t sound like a
guy who is really truly sorry. This is not good enough. He needs to be
taken off the air.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Democrat from New
York and strong advocate for women`s health, and Laura Bassett, reporter
for the "Huffington Post" who has been covering the Limbaugh controversy,
and the war on women for weeks now.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Thank you reverend and thank you
for being in Montgomery and standing up for social justice and marching for
human rights and for bringing this issue up. It`s very important. Saying
I used two inappropriate words is not I`m sorry.

SHARPTON: Well, let me start -- that`s what I want to ask you. You
don`t feel that Rush`s apology was sufficient?

MALONEY: I did not hear him say I`m sorry, Reverend Sharpton. All he
said is I used two inappropriate words and what`s at stake here is whether
or not women have access to basic health needs and whether these health
needs are respected. I didn`t hear any --

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Laura, on what the congresswoman is saying.
You would think in something as blatant as this, as incendiary as these
characterizations that he used against this young student that you`d hear
the Republican leadership and the Republican candidates stand up.

Now John McCain, to his credit, became one of the few Republicans
willing to criticize Rush. Let me show you what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The statements were unacceptable in
every way, and should be condemned by everyone no matter what their
political leanings are.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And then to my notice, George Will who is a staple in the
Republican thinkers and writers in this country, he took on Rush. Let`s
listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE WILL COLUMNIST, WASHINGTON POST: Mr. Boehner comes out and
says, Rush`s language was inappropriate using the salad fork for your
entry, that`s inappropriate. And Rick Santorum says, well, what he said
was absurd but an entertainer is allowed to be absurd. And it was
depressing because what it indicates is that the Republican leaders are
afraid of Rush Limbaugh. They want to bomb Iran but they are afraid of
Rush Limbaugh.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Laura, so as George will says inappropriate is using the
wrong salad fork. He challenged the Republican leadership and said what
they were saying wasn`t strong enough. What is the politics of this,
Laura? Are they afraid of Rush?

LAURA BASSETT, REPORTER, HUFFINGTON POST: I think they are afraid of
Rush. They`ve been so muted for the most part with the exception of McCain
and a little bit Scott Brown. They`ve been so muted in their criticism of
Rush.

I think it has to do with the fact that Rush is such a huge
establishment in the conservative party. You know, Missouri right now is
fashioning a bust after Rush to display in their statehouse. And Rush has
a captive audience of millions of listeners every single morning, and so
they have reason to be afraid of Rush. He`s very influential in the
debate.

And so, you know, I don`t think it`s necessarily right that they are
not standing up for what`s right here. But at the same time, I think they
are politically, you know, they have their tails between their legs.

SHARPTON: Now congresswoman, you have been a strong fighter for
rights, women`s rights and other rights. And what does this say a to
women, even women in the Republican party if you can disparage in such
misogynist terms this young lady just because you disagree what she wants
to testify about in front of congress?

MALONEY: I agree with you, reverend, and the silence of the
Republican leadership with the exception of a few speaks that they condone
this type of anti-woman disrespectful rhetoric around women`s health needs
and women in general. I applaud the many sponsors of Mr. Limbaugh`s show
that are voting with their feet. And they are walking away from sponsoring
his radio show because they do not want to be associated with this type of
disrespect for women, this type of vile comments and personal attacks.

And I believe that the number will be growing, and I hope the American
public notices and reward the companies that have decided to respect women.

SHARPTON: Now Laura, I think it`s worth saying again, many of us say
things that we have regretted. I`ve said things that I wish I hadn`t said.
But let`s remember, he doubled down three days. When people started coming
out criticizing it, he came back again the next day and again the third
day. And continued to berate and use these statements against this young
lady. It was only in the weekend after major advertisers starting pulling
that all of a sudden, we get this so-called apology.

BASSETT: This is clearly about the bottom line for Rush Limbaugh.
The power of the purse you know? Advertisers start pulling out so he says,
OK. I`ll give you this obligatory apology. But let me reiterate this is
about Sandra Fluke wanting to have too much sex which is -- you know,
absolutely couldn`t be further from the truth. This is about women`s
health. And he refuses to acknowledge that. And so, his apology is
essentially meaningless.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, will all of this anti-woman rhetoric that
we`ve heard from Rush and then we`ve heard throughout the primaries now,
where for some reason we`ve gone from jobs to contraception which was one
of the reasons Miss Fluke was going to be in front of the congress.

Is all of this going to hurt the Republicans with women voters around
the country, both moderate and, independent as well as the rest?

MALONEY: Absolutely. I got more response on where are the women.
Still I`m getting phone calls, e-mails, letters, really protesting this
type of disregard and misinformation. They kept saying it was religious
freedom. It wasn`t. It was insurance and women`s right to health care for
basic health care needs.

Also, they continue to hand out inappropriate, wrong information.
This is not about taxpayer money. This is about insurance that people
purchase. So the misinformation in addition to the derogatory comments
that they are continuing to throw out there is just plain wrong.

I applaud those companies that are standing up and respecting women
and respecting women`s health and not wanting to support in any way these
vile, disrespectful, terrible comments that they have had.

And I must tell you, I have lawyers contacting me, Reverend Sharpton,
who would like to, in a pro bono way, represent Sandra Fluke in a slander
case because of the total lies that were put out there about her and the
entire health care debate, the insurance debate.

SHARPTON: Wow, that`s great.

MALONEY: And everything else. So this story is --

SHARPTON: Well, Congresswoman Maloney. I`m going to have to hold it
there. That`s a good message to send to Miss Fluke and a good thing to say
to the public to know that people want to stand up like that for her.

Thank you, Congresswoman Maloney, Laura Bassett. Thank you both for
your time tonight.

MALONEY: Thanks for having me.

BASSETT: Thank you reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, few people are excited about Mitt Romney,
including Republicans. Our new poll has some stunning numbers for Willard.

And we`re here in Montgomery, Alabama, all week on the road to
justice. The constitution says everyone can vote. Forty seven years ago,
Americans were beaten and killed just for wanting to register to vote.

Today, we`re getting threats of intimidation, poll taxes and
suppression all over America. We`re back here fighting for our future.

(BEGIN VIDEO LIP)

SHARPTON: We`re not being beaten on the bridge, but we`re being
blocked at the ballot box.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (SINGING): We are not afraid we are not afraid.

(CROWD SINGING)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Forty seven years ago, Americans were beaten and killed
just for wanting to register to vote. Today, we`re getting threats of
intimidation, poll taxes and suppression all over America. We`re back here
fighting for our future.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`re not being beaten on the bridge, but we`re being
blocked at the ballot box.

We are not afraid.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That`s right.

We are not afraid.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: That`s right, we are not afraid.

We are not afraid.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There are those who`re trying to push us back, but
we`re not going back.

(INAUDIBLE)

Amen. Amen. Amen. Amen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Last week, we told you
that some Republicans were ready to jump off the sinking ship known as the
GOP presidential race. Now the poll numbers back that up. A new NBC poll
shows 39 percent of Americans have an unfavorable view of Willard. And 70
percent of Americans used negative words to describe the GOP race calling
it painful, full of poor choices and saying the race is leaving them
discouraged, underwhelmed and depressed. And those descriptions are just
from Republicans. It`s doing nothing but helping the President. Fifty
percent of Americans now approve of how President Obama`s doing his job.
And hands down, the President is beating Willard among two key groups.
He`s trouncing Romney with women vote by nearly 20 points. And he`s taken
a six-point lead with independents.

Joining me now, former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC
News political analyst, and Steve Kornacki, political analyst for
Salon.com. He`s writing about Willard`s latest endorsements today. Thanks
to both of you for joining me tonight.

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Sure.

SHARPTON: Governor, let me start with you. Republicans are starting
to fall behind Willard. But is it just because he`s as good as it`s going
to get for the GOP at this point?

ED RENDELL, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: First of all, Reverend, I
want to say, I`m not depressed at all. Secondly, you are absolutely right.
I think they are deciding that Romney is the best that they`ve got. And
it`s been a sorry choice. It`s been a spectacle. The republican brand has
been hurt badly by the Congress. Republicans in Congress. And now it`s
been brutalized by this presidential primary season. However, having said
that, you`ve heard me say before there is a little bit of a reset that
takes place come the conventions. The convention nominating speeches and
then that ten weeks into the election. A little bit of a reset. So we
can`t rest on our laurels.

No question about that. And remember, this is still wide open. There
are two key primaries tomorrow that our viewers should watch -- Tennessee
and Ohio. If Romney can win both of them, I think he basically sows the
nomination away. If he wins Tennessee, he wins a southern state and the
poll shows he`s close there. If he wins Ohio, he wins another big
industrial state and then I think he becomes inevitable and you`ll see more
and more falling in line behind him.

SHARPTON: Now, Steve, when you look at the polling numbers, his image
right now is worse than almost all recent candidates who went on to win
their party`s nomination. His favorables are 28. Unfavorable, 39.
McCain`s was 47 favorable, 27 unfavorable. Kerry, 42 favorable, 30
unfavorable. George Bush was 43 favorable, 32 unfavorable. Bob Dole, 35
favorable, 39 unfavorable. So, the only person who have a higher
unfavorable rating than Romney was Bill Clinton in April of 1992. How,
despite the fact that you are writing about he`s getting some big
republican endorsements, how does he walk back from this kind of lopsided
favorable/unfavorable standing with the American public?

KORNACKI: Well, yes. It`s not so much about what Romney can do to
kind of get back from that. It`s what can happen sort of around Mitt
Romney that might help him do that. And that`s why the example of Bill
Clinton you cited there I think is key and I think is worth keeping in mind
is the republican emerge in the primary season. Because it`s hard to
remember now when you think of Bill Clinton as just the master politician,
you know, one of the best ever. But at this point, this exact point 20
years ago, we were talking about -- people were talking about what a
terrible candidate Bill Clinton was. How terribly bruised and wounded he
had been by the primary process? All the sorts of scandals around them.
Remember, Gennifer Flowers in the Vietnam draft and all of that.

And now, Clinton was a very talented politician, I would say, is a
much more talented politician than Romney. But what really changed for
Clinton was that in the middle of that year, I`m talking May, June, July,
August, the unemployment rate really spiked. It went from, you know,
around 7.2 percent, 7.3 percent to up near eight percent. And that really
changed the way people looked at the election. They were suddenly a lot
more open to the idea of voting for the opposition party. A lot more
hostile to the incumbent president. We haven`t reached that point yet. If
something like that happened with the unemployment rate now, we`d see I
think a similar effect.

SHARPTON: I think that`s a good point, Governor. The fact that the
Republicans were building a lot of their presidential campaign hopes around
the economy going bad and it seems that the economy is headed in the right
direction. In fact, according to this poll, 57 percent of Americans feel
the economy is going in the right direction. So, I think that part of the
problem that Romney`s having and the rest is that they ended up losing
their message and the rationale for their race against President Obama.

RENDELL: It`s true, Al. But as was pointed out by Steve, it can turn
around. I mean, with gas prices continuing to stay high. If the economy
dips. If unemployment spikes up. There are so many things can happen.
It`s a long time until late October. So again, my message to Democrats is
don`t think this is over by any means. And if Mitt Romney and his
convention acceptance speech knocks it out of the park and, you know, he
can do that, you know, he`s good in debates. And every once in a while, he
makes a great speech. I think it changes the dynamic a little bit. He`s
going to have a little bit of a chance to redefine himself for that big
group of Americans who haven`t paid attention. We all think that everyone
is paying attention to every word we say. But the two-thirds of Americans
haven`t really focused on this presidential election yet.

SHARPTON: That`s funny because the last speech I saw him make the
night he won in Michigan it was like he wasn`t paying attention. But,
Steve, let me ask you, as we head into Super Tuesday tomorrow, the only
race -- the only tight race tomorrow seems to be Ohio. Where it`s like 34
Romney, Santorum 31. And Tennessee, does Romney pull these out? And if he
does, is it a wrap for the nomination as Governor Rendell seems to be
implying?

KORNACKI: Yes, I tend to agree with that. What`s been telling, and I
think a little surprising to me is how much of a bounce Romney got out of
that win in Michigan last week. You talked about his victory speech. It
wasn`t much of a victory speech. Because it didn`t look like much of a
victory. It was only three points in his native state. But the Republican
Party and sort of the political world has responded to that as if it was
this big sort of emphatic, momentous achievement on his part. Brought out
some new endorsements. Sent his national poll numbers skyrocketing.
Significantly improves his position in Ohio and Tennessee. So, yes, I
believe if he wins Ohio, if he wins Tennessee, I mean, winning in the
south, that`s supposed to be his weakest region by far. I think he can
multiply the effect you`ve got out of Michigan by about ten-fold and yes, I
think this thing does pretty much end then.

SHARPTON: Well, Governor Rendell and Steve Kornacki, thanks for your
time tonight.

KORNACKI: Sure.

RENDELL: Thanks, Al.

SHARPTON: We`re live in Alabama where the long, hard history of
voting rights continues. Forty seven years ago, people were beaten and
killed just for the constitutional right to vote. Today we`re fighting for
those same rights for your future. For my future. For our children`s
future. And the future of this country. The people are prepared and are
going and are being heard.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to a special edition of POLITICS NATION. Live
from Montgomery, Alabama. Today we were joined by thousands of people,
including children marching to protect the right to vote. Here in Alabama,
lawmakers passed a voter I.D. law that this requires -- they passed it last
June requiring voters to present photo ID at the polls. Alabama is one of
31 states pushing voter ID laws that I think are an effort to suppress the
vote.

Joining me now is state representative Jay Love -- we`ll be right
back. Let me take a break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with State Representative Jay
Love, republican from Alabama. He voted last year for the state`s new
voter ID law. Thank you for joining me, Representative, and let me ask
you. How do you justify Alabama`s new voter laws when widespread fraud
just doesn`t exist?

STATE REP. JAY LOVE (R), ALABAMA: Well, I`ll disagree with you, in
the last three years, we`ve had three people convicted of voter fraud in
Alabama. Two in historically black counties, our majority black counties.
And what I am trying to do as a state representative is protect the
sanctity of that vote.

SHARPTON: Representative, you are cracking jokes, right? Three
people in three years. That`s one a year. How many millions of people
voted in those last two years?

LOVE: Well, you know, I don`t know what the exact.

SHARPTON: Well, how do you fall in widespread fraud?

LOVE: Well, if you are the person who has been on the receiving end
of that fraud, and it`s something very important.

SHARPTON: Absolutely. And they should be prosecuted. But to change
a law that could affect millions of people for three people?

LOVE: Absolutely. If in the last three years where you`ve had one
particular county, Perry County that has about 10,000 people, over 30
percent of the votes cast in Perry County are absentee ballots. There was
a circuit clerk convicted in Perry County of voter fraud. That`s extremely
important. People have died for the right to vote.

SHARPTON: Right.

LOVE: And the value of that vote. And so I`m doing everything I can
to make sure that the value of that vote is.

SHARPTON: Died for the right to vote. They died for people to be
able to vote. Thousands of those people can`t vote because of three people
in the last three years?

LOVE: I don`t know of anybody that will be denied the right to vote.

SHARPTON: If you do not, well, I`ll give you the Brennan Report that
asked five million people that may not be able to vote. Many of them right
here in Alabama have historically voted. Disproportionate amount minority.
Because they don`t have state ID, they don`t drive, they don`t have
passports. They will not be able to vote.

LOVE: And we provide a free state ID in Alabama for those individuals
that don`t have a driver`s license. So there is no --

SHARPTON: And they have to go and use all kinds of means to come down
and try to acquire it. Well, let me ask you this. We clearly don`t see
the widespread fraud, so you and I don`t agree on that. Why is the state
suing the attorney general against section five of the voting rights act?
What is wrong with that? You don`t want to be clear of voting rights --
you don`t want people to be able to vote without special voter ID now. I
mean, don`t you understand why people are marching here? There`s clearly
an anti-voter rights sentiment here.

LOVE: Well, I disagree with you completely. You`d have to ask the
attorney general why he`s suing the federal government on the pre-
clearance.

SHARPTON: Do you agree with him?

LOVE: We are a section five.

SHARPTON: Do you agree with the Attorney General?

LOVE: I do agree with the Attorney General.

SHARPTON: Then I`m asking you. Why do you agree with him?

LOVE: Well, we have to get pre-cleared for any changes that we have
in election law.

SHARPTON: Right.

LOVE: So, we`ve gone ahead and sued to make sure that we can get a
verdict or a decision made before the election in 2014. And the Obama
Justice Department will be the ones that determine that.

SHARPTON: Yes. But you are suing because you don`t want to go
through pre-clearance on the voting rights act.

LOVE: Well, we`re trying to get it done as quickly as possible. The
Obama Justice Department has shown a willingness to drag their feet on
issues like this.

SHARPTON: But so, you`re not saying that you don`t object to pre-
clearance. You just want it cleared quicker.

LOVE: That is correct.

SHARPTON: So you do agree with that. So you disagreed with the
Attorney General then.

LOVE: No, I think that it should be done as quickly as possible.

SHARPTON: But the Attorney General is suing as are seven other states
saying they don`t want to have pre-clearance. You don`t want pre-clearance
on voter rights act. You want people to get IDs. There`s a pattern here
very disturbing.

LOVE: Well, I disagree with you.

SHARPTON: You said people died. People died to get voting rights.

LOVE: And they want to make sure their -- the value of their vote is
protected. And, you know, I take that very seriously.

SHARPTON: Yes, I do, too.

LOVE: And I would think that especially African-Americans would be
screaming for this law to make sure that the value of their vote is
protected and we are doing that with the photo voter ID.

SHARPTON: We are screaming. That`s why we want the same ID we had
with Reagan ran and Nixon ran, with Clinton ran. Why are we going to
change now? Representative Jay Love, thank you, though.

LOVE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: I think you did a wonderful thing about coming out here and
welcoming me to the state. Or I shouldn`t have said that. Your
constituents are watching. Thank you very much.

LOVE: Finally tonight, 47 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led
thousands of people in the voting rights march here in Montgomery. We`re
fighting back this week. Here`s the sights and sounds from the day that I
will never forget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., (1929-1968): There are those who are trying
to push us back. But we`re not going back.

We have to reflect. We come here to be renewed. We come here to be
inspired.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Forty seven years ago, I remember looking at my
parents` faces. They were riveted watching the television set. They were
so proud of the men and women who walked across that bridge on behalf of
each and every one of us who are here today.

SHARPTON: Are we ready to march? Are we ready to march?

Yes.

(singing) This little light of mine I`m going to let it shine. This
little light of mine I`m going to let it shine.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: God, we thank you. We thank you for giving our
leaders 47 years ago the strength to take blows for us and to inspire us.

KING: I would rather die on the highways of Alabama than make a
butchery of my conscience.

SHARPTON: We`re not being beaten on the bridge, but we`re being
blocked at the ballot box.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I have been voting for 60 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s a tragedy. They are attacking the voters like
they are.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: A voteless people is a hopeless people. They`re
not a first class citizen until they become a registered voter.

SHARPTON: We`re being profiled in the highways. With the immigration
laws.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We are one. We are united. We are one nation.
And we are going to keep moving America forward.

SHARPTON: We are not in the Promised Land yet, but the same God that
brought us across the Red Sea of Selma 47 years ago can bring us across our
Jordans today. We know if we have the faith, you have the power.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We are here because there`s a problem. Over 30 states are
trying to change voter ID laws. The ID that we`ve used all of our lives
all of a sudden doesn`t work anymore. Why? There`s no widespread fraud.
There`s clear evidence that more people will be disenfranchised by the
millions than a couple who did something that have been prosecuted. Why?
Because the voting rights as act is being challenged in eight states? We
can`t go backwards. John Lewis who let us yesterday crossed the bridge who
was beaten and others sacrificed. Viola Louisy (ph), a white female who
came from Michigan to march. Her daughter was murdered yesterday. She was
murdered down here. They didn`t die or take those beatings for nothing.
We don`t want to see any regression. We`re here to expose a problem. Help
us solve the problem. America is better than this.

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

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

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