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PoliticsNation, Friday, March 9, 2012

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Guests: Melissa Harris-Perry; Chris Hayes, Hilda Solis, Steve Kornacki, Erin McPike, Martin Luther King III


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: This is the Dexter Avenue King
Memorial Baptist church in Montgomery, Alabama. From here, the reverend
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Preached during the civil rights movement. This
church is hollow ground.

Welcome to a special edition of "Politics Nation." I`m Al Sharpton.
And we`re honored to broadcast from this church.

Dr. King became pastor here in 1954. From this church, he led the
Montgomery bus boycott, reshaping the course of history and igniting a
movement that changed the world. Today, after 54 miles of marching, we
reached Montgomery. Many of us spoke at a rally on the steps of the state
capital, the same steps where King stood 47 years ago at the end of his
epic march from Selma to Montgomery, fighting for voting rights and
immigrant rights.

Tonight, we`ll have an exclusive interview with Dr. King`s oldest son
about his father`s legacy. And the fight to protect the gains of the civil
rights movement.

We`ll also be talking politics. New job numbers. President Obama is
moving the economy in the right direction, even though Republicans can`t
admit it.

Plus, southern fried Willard. Romney suddenly discovers his southern
roots on a swing through Dixie. Now, Willard says he even likes grits.
That`s great.

But we start tonight with the country still working on the dream.
Right behind me is the pulpit where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first
preached his message of hope and brotherhood. And 47 years later, we`ve
come a long way, but there`s still a lot of work to be done when it comes
to moving forward together.

Hardly a day goes by when President Obama isn`t personally attacked
from the right. The latest twisted, depraved assault comes from Sarah
Palin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: It`s based on what went into
his thinking, being surrounded by radicals. He is bringing us back, Sean,
today`s that you can harkens back two days before the civil war when,
unfortunately, too many Americans mistakenly believed that not all men were
created equal.

What Barack Obama seems to want to do is go back to before those days
when we were in different classes based on income, based on color of skin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Based on color of skin? What is she trying to say? She
thinks President Obama wants to return to the days of slavery? That`s just
crazy. She`s worked up because of this video that surfaced this week from
President Obama`s time as a law student. It shows him embracing a black
professor she says is radical because he fought for diversity on campus.
And yet, silence from Republicans. Nobody is stepping up to denounce this
talk. It is just one more brick in the ugly wall of Republican extremis
extremism.

This week a Bush-appointed federal judge in Montana was caught sending
a racist e-mail about President Obama. Many called on him to resign,
including me. But he found support from three Republican lawmakers in his
state who said he shouldn`t step down.

Just last week, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio brought back the birther
issue claiming the president was not born here. It`s the same sheriff
every Republican candidate asks for an endorsement. And on the campaign
trail, the Republican candidates routinely used coded language about the
president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama is the
best food stamp president in American history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s destructive and divisive. And it`s been going on
since before the president even took office. And it hasn`t stopped since.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PALIN: Our opponent is someone who sees America as imperfect enough
to pal around with terrorists.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He had a very strong association with Bill
Ayers. It always into question what Barack Obama`s true beliefs and values
and thoughts are.

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The reforms I`m
proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.

REP. JOE WILSON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You lie!

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: If you are going to be the president of
the United States, you have to be born in this country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: President Obama, quit lying.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is not the kind of talk Dr. King preached from this
pulpit behind me. This was the party of Lincoln. What happened? Its ugly
talk, ugly language. And it has to stop.

I talked about that today at the rally here in Montgomery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We are not each other`s enemies. We are not each other`s
competition. We are not each other`s adversary. If we lock arms like we
did coming down highway 80 and cooperate rather than compete, we can make
America work for everybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC`s
"Melissa Harris-Perry" and Chris Hayes, host of "Up with Chris Hayes" here
on MSNBC.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

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

SHARPTON: Melissa, let me start with you. How did we get to this
point of ugliness and divisiveness again in this country?

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, I think the sort two of different things going
on. One is a question about partisan divisiveness. And if you ask how we
got here, the answer is actually one of the people currently running for
president. So, if we look at Newt Gingrich and sort of how this language
of partisan division really begin to take hold in Washington, in the early
1990s.

I think it`s both a good and bad part of the story is although race is
the main strategy being used as the criticism of President Obama. I
actually don`t think that racism is the reason that Republicans are
criticizing the president. So let me say that again real quickly.

The way they went after, for example, president Bill Clinton, going as
far as actually impeaching the president is an indication that -- and
remember, Bill Clinton is, in fact, a white guy, right? It`s an indication
that what was happening it has to happen since the early 1990`s is a deep,
profound partisan divide.

But in the case of this president, what they are able to go after, the
thing that they are using, the kind of wedge they are hoping to use is
racial stereotyping, racial bigotry and racial discourse. It`s the
different in the motivation and the strategy they are using.

SHARPTON: Well, Chris, I don`t know that I disagree. Clearly I think
it`s a strategy, I think also some of it they have some deep-seed feelings.
But they are certainly using racial store stereotypes and racism as a way
of trying to appeal to some extreme voters. Let me show you. Today, you
know we ended this march today in Montgomery. Listen to what Rush Limbaugh
said today about our march and used it to pivot an attack on President
Obama. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO SHOW HOST: They are doing a celebration today of
the Selma march. And when they did this in 2008, four years ago, during
the democrat campaign, both candidates were there, Hillary and Obama. And
Obama, who had nothing to do with Selma, probably couldn`t find it on a map
for the first 25 years of his life, talked about how what happened there
made him who he is. And there was still talk in the "L.A. Times" there was
still talk in the left wing media, well, Obama is not really authentic. He
doesn`t have slave blood. They said, not me. They said it, all this talk
about authenticity.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: First of all, Chris, it is so ridiculous. Dr. King started
pastoring here in `54. I wasn`t born until `54. Many of us were not in
Selma. We weren`t old enough or born. But, second of all, it is an
historic fact what happened in Selma got people the right to vote which led
to President Obama getting enough votes to win for president and others to
run for office. But why go with this racial authenticity? It`s always
bringing race in the mix, Chris.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, UP WITH CHRIS: What strikes me is how
impotent and feckless the attacks are and how ineffective they`ve been. I
mean, it was one thing to say you have a vigorous relatively new to the
national political scene in 200 2007, 2008. He was running for president
who has a name that doesn`t sound like the names of the previous people who
ran for president, would be the first African-American president, who does
have a distinct story that is perhaps not relatable to large percentages of
the population. And yet he was elected anyway.

It`s bizarre, downright bizarre to me to choose to attack the
president of the United States who has a record, who people know what he`s
done and hasn`t done in the year 2012 for his re-elect, based on a hug he
gave to a law professor in the 1980s or, you know, or to revisit the
controversies -- supposed controversies about black authenticity when he
ran the first time in 2008.

What it speaks to me is they are trying to change the topic in a
pretty impotent fashion which is the record stands on its own. And there
was a time when they seemed anxious to run against that record. They
wanted to talk about the affordable care act and they wanted to talk about
the economy. And now they don`t seem to want to talk about any of that.

SHARPTON: But I guess, Melissa, the reason it disturbs me is I`m all
-- I`m sitting in a church that preached unity. And that stood for
justice, clearly stood against what was wrong, but wanted the world to
unite on those principles.

We had a march today that every color of the rainbow was represented.
And yet in the backdrop of that, hate groups on the rise. I was at
southern poverty law center last night. Hate groups are up 69 percent
since 2008 when President Obama was elected. Militia groups, militia anti-
government patriot groups up 755 percent.

This language, this divisiveness, this ugliness, whether it`s a
strategy or whether it`s the way they feel is awakening cooks that are
dangerous and that are divisive. And I think that`s why we`ve got to
address it.

HARRIS-PERRY: You know, I love, first of all, that Chris Hayes just
said impotent twice to talk about Rush Limbaugh twice and the Republican
Party.

HAYES: You caught that, did you?

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes, I did. I caught that. But part of, you know,
part of why I find it important to use this language. You know, I was
watching earlier as you were giving the speech. And, Reverend Al, and I
was watching all of you marching down before the moments of the speech.
And the thing that was catching my eye was the police cars, right, and, the
police cars there in front of the marchers helping to clear the way.

And, of course, that`s critically important because we know where
southern police were 47 years ago. They were not clearing the way, right.
We know that we are in a new country now. This is exactly Chris` point.
You know, you can have whatever emotions you have about so-called slave
blood or authenticity or whether or not the late, great Derek Bell is a
radical.

But the fact is the American people already made that choice. That is
done. We have moved -- we have crossed the bridge at Selma. We already
decided so many of these decisions that what you see now is this kind of
grasping, this desire to move back to a time where we will not go back.

And not just because we can kind of wave our hand and say it`s all
taken care of, but because the struggle continues. The marches continue.
The work that you are doing continues. The fact is of the 2016 Republican
Party that is going to emerge after this likely loss to Barack Obama in
2012 is going to be a much more racial party, a party that`s not going to
be able to play this particular kind of southern strategy. So actually, I
think in certain ways, yes, it`s a revival of it, but it feels like the
kind of death gasp revival of it.

SHARPTON: Chris, as we look at this ugliness, I think the good news,
the thing that encourages many of us is that it is not working. Yes, there
are certain groups that are rising up, but they are in the minority. I
think most American people have moved on and began to understand that the
fight for fairness and equality which is not over, but is clearly the right
side of history and where they want to be as American people.

HAYES: Yes, I mean, that`s exactly right. Particularly, I think of
it in the context and framework of the national political culture. The
national political culture as it pertains to the re-election of the first
African-American president. I think the place it`s most disturbing is
exactly in the place where you are today which is at the state level,
particularly in a state like Arizona or Alabama in which state legislature
have very different political climates that do seem to be following the
worst kind of demagogic device of politics around race particularly in
targeting both African-Americans at the polls and immigrants in the sort of
full panoply of their lives. That`s where I think we`re seeing the ugly
rhetoric getting channeled into actual conditions that constrain the
possibility of people`s lives. And that`s the place where I think the
fight is most vital.

SHARPTON: Melissa and Chris, thanks for joining me tonight, to both
of you. And catch "Up with Chris Hayes. " Catch Chris on it on weekends
from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and then "Melissa Harris-Perry" from 10:00 to
12:00 noon.

Ahead, first Willard Romney said the trees in Michigan were the right
height. Now he loves grits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m learning to say y`all and
I like grits and the things are strange things are happening to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You are correct, Mr. Romney. Something weird is happening.

President Obama and jobs, another big boost today, but Republicans are
flat out denying the facts. It`s actually getting funny.

And we are broadcasting tonight at the church where Dr. King pastured
and began his quest for civil rights. My exclusive interview with his son,
his oldest son Martin Luther King III from inside the church his father
preached in.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let`s have the same I.D. we had when we elected George Bush
Jr. for president. But you`ll not get to the re-election of Barack Obama
and now we need a different I.D.? We`re going to play the game by one set
of rules.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Three straight months of better than expected jobs growth,
but Republicans are unable to say the words the economy is improving.
Tonight, call me professor rev. I`m taking them to school with labor
secretary Hilda Solis, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation" live from in front of the
pulpit at the church where reverend Dr. Martin Luther King preached in
Montgomery, Alabama.

President Obama was on the road today promoting the latest good news
on the economy, 227,000 jobs created just last month.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The economy is getting stronger. And when I come to places
like this and I see the work that`s being done, it gives me confidence
there are better days ahead. The key now, our job now is to keep this
economic engine churning.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That economic engine has produced 24 straight months of
private sector job growth, adding 3.9 million jobs. Our favorite
(INAUDIBLE) chart shows the difference between the Bush and Obama
administrations, a clear trend of jobs growth for the current president.
But most Republicans don`t want to give President Obama credit for this.
Some don`t even want to talk about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Governor, any comment on the new jobs
numbers this morning?

ROMNEY: Good to see you. Thank you. Hi there. How are you doing?
Good to see you guys. Hi.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Governor, anything on the new jobs
report?

ROMNEY: Hey, guys. How are you? Good to see you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Governor Romney, any thoughts on the new
jobs report today?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Maybe Willard only wants to talk about jobs in a quiet
room. RNC chairman Reince Priebus even says, quote, "The situation is
clearly not improving."

Not improving? Are you kidding me? Maybe Mr. Priebus doesn`t really
know what improving means. I have a dictionary here. Let me see if I can
help him out. Improving, to enhance in value or quality. Make better.
That sure sounds like what we`re seeing with this economy.

Joining me now is Hilda Solis, U.S. secretary of labor. She was
marching with us here in Alabama to focus on voting and immigration rights.

Madam Secretary, thanks for your involvement this week and for being
here tonight.

HILDA SOLIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR: Thank you, reverend. Good to
see you.

SHARPTON: Now, let me begin by asking you, do you think we need to
mail dictionaries to our favorite Republicans so they know what a recovery
looks like?

SOLIS: You know, reverend, what I would tell you, as I`ve told other
people today is that figures don`t lie. The numbers don`t lie. We`ve
created well over 3.9 million private sector jobs in 24 months and this job
report in addition to last month`s shows some very good strong figures.
But we still have to keep our eye on the ball and continue to make
investments to get the Congress to work with this president to help the
American public create better jobs. That`s why he was out in Virginia
today talking about manufacturing, investments, creating 16 hubs for
manufacturing. So we could bring back those jobs here to our great country
instead of outsourcing jobs. That`s why you heard silence from Mitt Romney
because what can you say? The numbers don`t lie.

SHARPTON: Now Mitt Romney, though, has been saying the opposite of
that. I mean, it`s very confusing when you look at the numbers and you do
hear things from Mitt Romney. Listen to this, secretary Solis.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I don`t think the president understands the power of
America`s economy and what makes it work.

It`s critical that the person we nominate is someone who understands
the economy.

I understand the economy. We need to have a president who understands
the economy.

To make sure this country has people who understand how the economy
works.

People hurting under the stagnant Obama economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now not only have you given the figures on job creation
every month, look at the stock market. It`s up 100 percent after hitting
historic bottom three years ago today, up 6482 points since March 9th of
2009. A 100 percent increase. He doesn`t understand the economy? This is
outrageous.

SOLIS: Reverend, I agree. And, you know, people need to just
remember that when the president took office, we were losing 750,000 jobs
every month. And as soon as we got in and things started to change and we
started to focus on the recovery, we started to see more confidence
building. And now we`re reaping those benefits because people are
confident. They are consuming. They are demanding products. And we see
there`s more entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs and manufacturers want to hire up new people but they
also want them to be better trained. That`s why the president is talking
about major investments in education and training. And also, pushing
forward on the transportation bill that`s going to provide thousands and
thousands of jobs and construction where we still need to see more
recovery.

So we keep our eye on the ball, keep focused and make sure the public
understands the difference between what Mitt Romney is saying and what the
facts are. And the facts are clear. Under the Bush administration, on a
monthly basis, there were only 11,000 jobs created per month. Now you put
that up next to and compare it to what we`ve done in the last three years.
There is no comparison, reverend.

SHARPTON: Now, and I think the American people are getting it. Look
at the polls. The poll on President Obama`s handling of the economy, 48
percent of those polls approve of his handling, up 9 percent since just
December.

And more people are saying the economy is starting to recover. Fifty
four percent say yes, it`s starting to recover. That`s up 26 points since
September. So the American people seem to feel the president knows how to
handle the economy and that we`re moving toward a recovery.

SOLIS: Reverend, all I can tell you is that again, numbers don`t lie.
You see record numbers now in growth in the health care arena. Also we`re
seeing an uptick now in manufacturing. But more importantly in areas like
professional business development, we`re seeing good job growth.

And these are full-time jobs. They`re not just all temporary jobs.
I`ve been asked that throughout the day. And I can tell you that even if
they are temporary jobs, they lead, too, full time jobs. So, we`re pushing
that out. Thank goodness we were able to get the UI extension and payroll
tax reduction. That means more spending. There`s a demand. People are
going to buy products. And what we want to do is make items here in
America and sell them to other people abroad and bring those jobs back home
here in the USA.

SHARPTON: Well, we`re going to have to let it go there, but thanks so
much for being with us, secretary of labor, Hilda Solis. Thank you for
your time tonight.

SOLIS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, look out. A panda bear has been spotted in the
south. He also answers to the name Willard. Wait until you hear what he`s
saying about his love for one southern food.

And our exclusive interview with Dr. King`s oldest son in the church
where his father preached. He`ll talk about the fear that his family knew
all too well when he was a boy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back in Montgomery, Alabama, where today our fight
for voting rights led us right to the steps of the state capitol. Martin
Luther King Jr. spoke on those same steps about the struggle for voting
rights back in 1965. Today, his son spoke to the crowd. Using the same
words his father made famous half a century ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., 1929-1968: How long? Not long. Because the
arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. How long?
Not long.

MARTIN LUTHER KING III, PRESIDENT, KING CENTER: Because no lie can
live forever. How long? Not long. Because truth ever on this capitol
roam forever on the throne. How long? Not long because God almighty is
still on the throne.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We still have a long way to go. But we won`t give up this
fight. Martin Luther King III joins us coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Live tonight from
Alabama. We are here in the church where Dr. King preached throughout the
civil rights movement. These days, Alabama is the center of the republican
universe. The presidential candidates have been campaigning here and in
Mississippi all day ahead of Tuesday`s big primaries. And I`m a little
concerned a bit. It seems that the heat down south might be getting to
Willard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is now turning me into
an, I don`t know, unofficial southerner. And I`m learning to say you all
and I like grits and the things are strange things are happening to me.
The governor said I had to say it right. Morning you all. I got started
right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits, I`ll tell you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Oh, that`s cheesy all right. Maybe Willard, maybe Willard
needs to rest in the shade for a while.

Joining me now is Steve Kornacki, political columnist for Salon.com
and Erin McPike, national political reporter for Real Clear Politics.
Thank you both for being here tonight.

STEVE KORNACKI, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, SALON.COM: Sure.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you first, Erin, let me go to you. Is talking
about cheesy grits Willard`s version of a southern strategy?

ERIN MCPIKE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Well, you`ve got to give the guy
credit for trying, right? You know, he`s getting out of his comfort zone.
He said that being in the south is kind of like an away game for him. But
it`s funny. Who doesn`t like cheese grits. You know, I certainly do. But
I have actually seen Mitt Romney take the skin off of his fried chicken and
the cheese off his pizza before so he`s getting out of his comfort zone and
at least trying. But you know, that`s Mitt Romney`s way. He tries to
identify with people and get out of his comfort zone and do what they do.
So he`s trying. You got to give him credit for that.

SHARPTON: Well, his camp is e-mailing volunteers who worked on Super
Tuesday races, begging them to come to volunteer in Alabama. They sent out
e-mails saying, quote, "we are within one point here in Alabama. Win in
Alabama, will end this process." Sounds like to me Steve that they aren`t
generating enough volunteers in Alabama and Mississippi.

KORNACKI: Yes, I mean, I`m not surprised to hear that because the
heart of the Republican Party in Alabama, the heart of the Republican Party
in Mississippi is composed of sort of the cultural demographic groups that
had been most hostile to Mitt Romney in this entire process. I mean, in
2008, 77 percent of the republican primary electorate in Alabama, where
evangelical Christians. The number in Mississippi was 69 percent. Those
are two of the highest numbers you saw in that entire process. And we`ve
seen white southern evangelicals have been very resistant to Romney
throughout this entire process.

He`s certainly struggling there, although I will say this. They are
writing that e-mail about the opportunity here. If Mitt Romney can win
what he calls an away game in this process, that`s what we`ve been waiting
for. When he finally wins an away game, proves he can do that. That will
really ratchet up the pressure on Santorum and Gingrich is sort to end this
thing. And the opportunity exist in Alabama and probably Mississippi too.
Because you`ve got Newt Gingrich kind of going gung ho there making this
his last stand. And you got Rick Santorum. And they`re both going for
those same voters. Same Romney resistant evangelicals. If there`s no
clear distinction in those voters mind between Gingrich and Santorum,
there`s an opportunity there for Romney to win.

SHARPTON: Now, that is the concern I have, Erin because in the south,
it would seem to me that because of -- if Romney is the nominee, the
weakness he has with evangelicals it seems to me that he`s not energizing
the base. Some would go with whoever the nominee is but they`re not
energized. So, is it a political strategy by some to do things like voter
I.D. that would cut off some of the voters that President Obama was able to
get to come out in huge numbers in 2008? I clearly think that whether it
was President Obama or anybody else running, we`d be out here fighting
these I.D. laws. But from a political strategy, is that not part of the
calculus or possibly part of the calculus here?

MCPIKE: That might be, but let me add something out to what Steve was
saying which is that the Romney campaign seems to be focusing more on
Alabama because, as you know well, Alabama has more city centers in it than
Mississippi does. And that is a way for Mitt Romney to turn up the vote
and maybe beat Gingrich and Santorum in Alabama in order to have a southern
win down there. And you know, that e-mail, while maybe it does speak to
the fact they can`t get very many volunteers in Alabama itself, it does
show that they think they might be able to win in Alabama and yes, that
would maybe end this process.

SHARPTON: Now, Steve, when you look at Romney saying today grits and
he`s learning how to say you all, how do you compare that to President
Obama and his style? I mean, let`s just fast forward, if in fact Romney is
the nominee. How do you play a guy who peels the skin off his fried
chicken, takes the cheese off his pizza but comes down and says I`m
learning how to say y`all and like cheesy grits? Or the guy who seems
naturally able to relate. How is that going to play on the evening news in
September, October when they may be the candidates facing each other?

KORNACKI: Yes, well, right now this isn`t the first time something
like this has happened with Mitt Romney. We can give you a whole litany of
examples where he`s sort of looked at, he`s sort of a target voter group
and thought himself, how am I going to appeal to them? And it`s just been
awkward and painful and thinking how he talked about how he`s a hunter of
vermins and small rodents. That was his attempt to sort of win over the
second amendment crowd a few years ago. You know, Obama, let`s remember in
2008, he did sort of have his own moment with awkwardness. I remember when
he went to the bowling alley in Pennsylvania and he tried to do that whole
thing. Didn`t quite seem natural there.

But I don`t think they ever, you know, his campaign kind of learned
from that. They kind of stopped forcing those moments. This keeps
happening with Romney and he keeps reinforcing sort of the worst impression
of him. One of his biggest vulnerabilities potentially in the general
election. And that this is a guy who really doesn`t seem to know or be
comfortable with who he is and who looks at the electorate and says, all
right, what do I have to do to win over X and I`m going to do it. And it
looks awkward and it looks unnatural. And the more it happens, the more
that impression gets created.

SHARPTON: Steve Kornacki and Erin McPike, thank you all for your time
tonight.

KORNACKI: Sure.

MCPIKE: Thank you, too.

SHARPTON: Lots more ahead. Here on this special edition of POLITICS
NATION live from the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church in
Montgomery, Alabama. We`ll have our exclusive interview with Martin Luther
King III talking about our effort to protect and expand his father`s
legacy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. I`m here tonight at the historic Dexter
Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, where Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. preached and organized the historic Montgomery bus boycott in 1954
after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a public bus. Earlier
today, I had the honor to talk to Dr. King`s eldest son, Martin Luther King
III about his father`s legacy.

We had a great day. You were on last Friday telling people to come
out to the march and the five days of marching. And I guess they heard you
because by the thousands, we just ended the march earlier this afternoon.
But let me take you back, Martin. You were born in Montgomery while your
father was pastoring in this very church.

KING: That is correct. Actually, from the site that we left this
morning, at St. Jude`s, the hospital.

SHARPTON: And I don`t think that people that marched with us today
for voting rights, against voting suppression and immigration understands
with this march having 47 years ago, how dangerous it was for your father
and his team. In fact, the house that you were born in Montgomery had been
bombed during the Montgomery boycott. Give us a sense of the danger you
came to understand as you got older that your family lived in when they
were here in Montgomery.

KING: Well, you know, thank God America has changed in many ways
although but we more changed just to make. But any number of times, people
would call our home I`m told, I would remember I was about two years old
when we actually moved. But people would make threats on a daily basis. I
remember my mother sharing those kinds of things. To have the resilience
to sustain all of that and you may remember Reverend Sharpton that when the
home was bombed, there were folks who came in with guns and they were
really ready to use those guns. And dad had to quell them to say,
nonviolence is still the way, in spite of the fact that my family could
have been lost, but fortunately it was just a small hole in the home. So
dad had the capacity and tenacity to constantly use and reinforce
nonviolence. But in `65, which would have been ten years later, when the
march took place, we remember and know that Jose Williams on the first day,
bloody Sunday, and John Lewis, were beaten. In fact, John Lewis, I
believe, had a concussion and was in the hospital for about 10 or 12 days.

The fact is, even after that first demonstration, now these were
policemen from Selma and state troopers who were beating the marchers.
When the federal folks came in, you know, that day, most of those folks
would have been -- there would be very few African-Americans and they were
doing their job because military people do those jobs. But they may or may
not have liked any of what the marchers were doing. So anything could have
happened. But today, now we can walk down the highways peacefully. But
the reality is, there is a problem because Americans` right to vote is
being suppressed. And that is what we are marching for. And I applaud you
for calling all of us together, quite frankly.

SHARPTON: Now, we`re marching today. How do you see the issues of
today that still requires these kinds of demonstrations and shows of
outrage that we showed today and the last five days?

KING: Well, number one, this continues to raise the issue. And as
you and obviously have stated, we`ve got to be in the courts. We`ve got to
be at the state legislature. We`ve got to be tweeting. We`ve got to be
using Facebook. Every modern technology that exists has to be used because
if elected officials don`t understand the consequences of what they are
voting for, which is not really to create the opportunity to vote but to
suppress votes. That is why it is so important. And when we think about
what`s happening as it relates to immigration, I`m really saddened about
this state where I was born, quite frankly, that they are -- there are
these repressive immigration laws that are being voted on as we speak. And
a similar law in my state of Georgia. Fortunately, I think the state
courts will address it to some degree. But the legislatures have gone too
far. But that is because they are not hearing from the people. When the
people stand up and be counted, changes occur.

SHARPTON: Now as far as we can see, there`s been a tremendous change
at one level in Montgomery and throughout the south. And then at other
levels we`re still fighting immigration laws that are unfair. And we are
fighting poverty. We`re fighting the issues of voter suppression. Many
ways your father had a lot more vision and his team and his contemporaries
probably understood because in this last effort he really was trying to get
all the people together in a poor people`s campaign saying it was about
Chicanos and the Mexicans and blacks and Latinos and women and poor and
working class whites. And in many ways, those are the issues that are on
the table today that he told us we had to deal with. When I look at
Dolores Huerta who was here the other day from United Farm Workers who
worked with your father, Reverend Joseph Lowery and others that have really
raised many of those in the movement and all of us to this point, really,
I`m amazed at how far your father had vision and far he could see. And
we`re dealing with the effects of what was not done after his passing.

KING: No question. He was talking about in 1968, he was talking
about a living wage. We have unfortunately the minimum wage is not where
it needs to be in most communities. And he was talking about creating a
wage for all people. The other thing he was talking about was the radical
redistribution of wealth. So, you`ve got to occupy that is talking about
the one percent that`s controlling more and more. And that has to change,
not that people shouldn`t be able to make money that they need to make, but
the reality is we`ve got to find a better way to ensure that more people
can participate.

SHARPTON: I remember maybe 20, 25 years ago, I came to this church
with you for a rally with Jose Williams. And I was amazed that this small
church that shook the world. And we`re here trying to continue your
father`s work and trying to continue the work of your mother who I think
people must always remember her and because of you, I got know her very
well. Today and this week meant a lot, but it meant even more to walk with
you and do it. Martin Luther King III, thank you again for you and your
family.

KING: Thank you for your leadership, Reverend.

SHARPTON: It`s been an inspirational week in Alabama marching from
Selma to Montgomery. We`re back with final thoughts next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: For six days, we`ve marched for voting and immigration
rights. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Are you all ready to march?

(CROWD) Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Fire it up!

(CROWD) Fire it up!

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We keep marching for justice for voting rights,
for civil rights, for immigration reform and for a new democracy in our
country.

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

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We come here to be renewed. We come here to be
inspired.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: A vote less people is a hopeless people.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Sending a message to all the copycats that want to
follow the footsteps of our - we won`t stop the footsteps here in Alabama.

SHARPTON: This is a day to fight against the worst immigration laws
in the country.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It separates families. When one person is
discriminated against, we are all discriminated against.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: There really is a tremendous sense of solidarity
here. You have black and white and brown. People from across the country
marching 10, 12 miles every day.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m here to protest the blatant attack on working
person of today.

KING: The moral arc of the universe is known but bends toward
justice.

SHARPTON: We didn`t come to commemorate what happened 47 years ago.
We came to continue what happened 47 years ago. If we lock arms like we
did coming out of highway 80 and cooperate rather than compete, we can make
America work for everybody. It`s time to stand up again. It`s time to
hold up again. Forward ever, forward ever, forward ever, backward never.
Thank you. God bless you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: As we end this week of protests and marching, of
continuation and celebration, two thoughts I leave to go and follow up as
we fight for voter rights and fight for immigration rights. One was
personal. When I came to first do the show Monday night, I was at the
archives of Alabama. My daughter Dominique was with me. The men that run
that department showed me a family tree. My mother`s family and mother
comes from Alabama, though I was born in Brooklyn. He showed me how in the
1800s my great, great grandfather was registered to vote two years after
the emancipation proclamation and the Carters, my mother`s maiden name,
voted all the way to the 1890s. Because of segregation and because of
state`s rights, nobody voted again until the middle of the 1960s.

That gap in my family`s voting history represents the gaps of states
standing against the rights of voters. I`m determined that that gap will
never come in my family again. I also leave thinking about how 47 years
ago Martin`s father, Martin Luther king and Reverend Joseph Lowery and Dick
Gregory and others marched here. They marched against great danger. They
marched where they didn`t know whether they`d be beaten or even killed.
And some were. Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner and Viola Liuzzo was. We
marched today. We marched this week with state troopers protecting us. We
marched with an African-American as president. With a Catholic white male
as vice president. With a woman as secretary of state. It shows we can
win. It shows America can do better. We don`t march out of cynicism. We
march out of hope because marching has worked. We`ve won and we`re going
to continue to win. And we`re going to keep marching until the total
victory has been achieved.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. I`ll be on NBC`s "Meet The
Press" this Sunday morning. Check your local listings for the time.
"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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