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PoliticsNation, Thursday, March 15, 2012

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Guests: Ed Rendell; Richard Wolffe, Joe Madison; Erin McPike, Terry O`Neill, Karen Finney, Michael Eric

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation. I`m Al

Tonight`s lead, Republicans, it`s on. A fiery speech today before
Ohio voters, Vice President Biden made the opening arguments for the Obama
re-election campaign. He boiled this election down to a simple choice. A
choice between an Obama White House that cares about restoring the middle
class and a Republican party that thinks Americans should fend for
themselves. The vice president called out Republicans by name.


Santorum, and Newt Gingrich. These guys have a fundamentally different
economic philosophy than we do. They started the mantra that said, we
would make auto companies, quote, "wards of the state," was their phrase.
Governor Romney was more direct. Let Detroit go bankrupt. The president,
he didn`t flinch. This is a man with steel in his spine. He made the
tough call. And the verdict is in. President Obama was right and they
were dead wrong.



SHARPTON: They were dead wrong about the auto bailout, none more than
Willard, who somehow things the private sector would have saved Detroit.


BIDEN: No one was lining up to lend General Motors or Chrysler any
money, or for that matter, to lend money to anybody. That includes Bain
capital. They weren`t lining up to lend anybody any money, either.



SHARPTON: Bain didn`t save over million jobs, president Obama did.
He bet on the middle class, and that`s something that Republicans that
shown time and time again, that they will not do.


BIDEN: I want to tell you what`s real bankruptcy. The economic
theories of Gingrich, Santorum and Romney, they are bankrupt.


BIDEN: If you give any one of these guys the keys to the White House,
they will bankrupt the middle class again.


SHARPTON: That`s it, folks. That`s the choice. This administration
is fighting tooth and nail for the middle class, while the other side is
spending their time alienating whole groups of Americans. Like Rick
Santorum saying if Puerto Rico wants to be a state, it should learn


English. That would be a requirement. It`s a requirement that we put on
other states as a condition for entering the union.


SHARPTON: Learn English? Are you serious? And while Santorum is
bashing Latinos, Willard`s alienating women.


Obama care. That`s the easy one. But there are others. Planned
Parenthood, we`re going to get rid of that.


SHARPTON: That`s what Republicans are offering. As vice president
Biden showed today, the choice could not be clearer. It`s either a party
that`s going to fight for everyone in this country, or a party that`s only
got the interests of a few in minds.

Joining me now, former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, now an NBC
news political analyst, and Richard Wolffe, NBC political analyst. He`s
author of "revival: the struggle for survival inside the Obama White

Governor Rendell, let me start with you. Vice president Biden laid
out the case for Democrats today, the fight for fairness. What are the
Republicans running on?

ED RENDELL, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, reverend, before I answer
that question, I have to tell you, I am absolutely stunned Mitt Romney
wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood. Didn`t we see a tape of him
attending a Planned Parenthood fund-raiser several years ago?

SHARPTON: Yes, we did. We showed it right here on this show.

RENDELL: I`m pretty stunned about that gymnastic flip-flop. But,
look, Planned Parenthood, people who are against abortion, who want to
reduce the number of abortions in this country should be thankful for
Planned Parenthood. Their family planning, which is the bulk of what they
do, prevents a ton of unwanted pregnancies. And to think of getting rid of
Planned Parenthood is repugnant and makes no sense to anybody on either
side of that issue.

But to go back to your question, reverend, the Republicans have a
problem because even when the economy was in the ditch, they had no answer,
because the answer that they proposed has been tried and has failed.
Cutting taxes and doing nothing else, and assuming that the by cutting
taxes, it will generate economic growth, that failed when President Bush
did it. It failed at virtually every time in the last century. Our
biggest periods of job growth, ironically, is when our tax marginal rates
were at the highest.

And so, it makes no sense. Their philosophy doesn`t work. It`s
unfair, it penalizes ordinary working folks. But most importantly, it
doesn`t create jobs.

SHARPTON: Richard, you know what is a little surprising to me, I get
it that they have policies that many of us don`t agree with. I get it that
they want to push for some of the people that have held and bolstered their
chances in terms of fund-raising and all. But when you even look at the
FOX News poll, the economy`s a central issue in this campaign. Even this
FOX poll showed the people think the economy`s turning around.

This is the FOX poll. 58 percent say, yes, the economy is improving,
40 percent say, no, it isn`t. So if I`m a Republican, if the FOX poll is
telling me people think the economy`s turning around, then how am I in
denial when my own base is saying they don`t agree with the assessment that
the economy`s not turning around? I mean, are they tone deaf?

politics call a problem. Look, the main argument is that the president
doesn`t anything about jobs. Well, you have the record when it comes to
Detroit and saving jobs there. They say that they understand something
about supply and demand with the oil industry, and they think that they can
introduce price controls or somehow manage to keep the price of oil lower
in America than it would be around the rest of the world.

And then you have their only line of attack on the economy here is
trying to convince the American people that the economy`s getting worse
when, in fact, most of them think it`s getting better. You end up having
to sound pessimistic about the country, about the nature of the economy,
about what America can do. And you never want to be in a situation, in a
way, like some Democrats found themselves, when things were turning around
in Iraq, for instance. And they had to suggest that things weren`t going
so well, when, in fact, conditions were improving on the ground.

You really want your argument to stack up reality. And when it comes
to the most important issue wit, the economy right now, Republicans have to
talk things down. And that`s not going to get them any votes.

SHARPTON: Now, Governor Rendell, another thing that doesn`t make
political sense. I mean, we`ve seen the primaries the other night is
everyone`s looking at the politics of the time.

Does it make sense for Santorum and others to offend Latino voters,
when you look at the fact that it is a growing part of the electorate? In
2005, 0.4 percent of the electorate was Latino. It went up to 6 percent in
2004, went up to 7.4 percent in 2008. It`s grown even more for 2012. What
is the political sense of offending that kind of voting bloc?

RENDELL: It makes no sense at all. And again, it`s just this
obsession with feeding the base, who is going to be there for them
regardless. And yet, they feed the base red meat, and the red meat
literally is going to kill them. You know, people think Latino votes are
important in Florida and New Mexico and Arizona, California, Texas. But
they forget.

Right now, reverend, seven percent of the registered voters in
Pennsylvania are Latino. And that is the fastest-growing group we have in
our registration pool, and they can make the difference in a very close one
or two-point election.

So it makes absolutely no sense. It`s not good policy. The dream
act, I think, is abundantly fair, and I think it`s something that most
Americans, the majority, agree with. Their policy makes no sense, and I
would like to ask Rick Santorum a question. He said Puerto Rico shouldn`t
become a state until they all can speak English. Where in the constitution
does he find that requirement? That we all have to speak English?

SHARPTON: Well, absolutely. I mean, not only where in the
constitution does he find that requirement, I thought that was the group
that didn`t want government intruding on people`s lives. But now we`re
going to tell people what language they have to have as a first language,
just total contradictions. Same with women, Richard Wolffe, 2000, 7.8
million more women; 2004, 8.8 million more women; 2008, 9.7 million more
women in the electorate. So it`s just like they have totally become
oblivious based on some hard-right ideology, totally oblivious to the whole
breakdown of the electorate and the growing numbers in certain areas, just
offend them, doesn`t matter.

WOLFFE: Well, this is not a new cycle or progression in American
politics, just as the growth of Latino voters aren`t. You know, women
voters were decisive in a successive series of elections, going back to the
`90s. They are disproportionately the swing votes, especially suburban
women, and this kind of cultural wars at this moment, which is, by the way,
completely off topic for what voters want to hear right now, what women
voters want to hear right now is going to threaten them. And, you know, if
they carry on this the track, by the way with Latino voters, they`re not
going to be within reach in Texas in 10 years, 15 years` time. A
Republican nominee will struggle to get anything like what they need in the
Electoral College on this track.

SHARPTON: Now, the one thing, Governor that I know you`ve always
stressed is, let`s be positive. Let me show you the contrast between the
president and the GOP.

The president`s been able to strike a positive tone while Republicans
have just gone purely negative. Everything is down, down, down, while he`s
tried to stay positive. Let me show you this kind of match between tones


OBAMA: They know that America is great not just because we`re
powerful, but also because we have a set of values that the world admires.

ROMNEY: If Barack Obama gets re-elected, Iran will have a nuclear
weapon and the world will change.

OBAMA: With we can fight for an economy that`s built to last.

SANTORUM: Crippling our future generations.

OBAMA: No one has a greater diversity of talent and ingenuity.

secular, I think, much worse future.


SHARPTON: The contrast is very striking, governor.

RENDELL: No question. But you know the answer to that is pretty
obvious, Reverend Sharpton. The answer is that they don`t have as much to
talk about.

President Obama, given all the circumstances he inherited, has a very
fine record to talk about, a record of accomplishment, a record of
progress, a record of sensitivity towards the basic corps of American

Their plans are nothing but negative. They`re nothing but
destructive. They say they want to repeal Obama care. OK, what`s their
plan? Have you heard it yet? Have you heard their plan for health care
for Americans?


RENDELL: Of course not because there isn`t a plan. And that`s the
problem with their position.

SHARPTON: Well, governor, you are right. I am still waiting to hear
what you`re going to do, other than just trying to stop this president.

RENDELL: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Governor Ed Rendell, Richard Wolffe, thanks for coming on
the show tonight.

RENDELL: Our pleasure.

WOLFFE: Thanks, reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama slams Republicans for playing
political games with gas prices and calls them out for being stuck in the
past on energy.


OBAMA: They must have been founding memories of the flat earth
society. They would not have believed that the world was round.



SHARPTON: But first, even some of Willard`s supporters admit he`s a
bad candidate which is why they`re getting ready to play dirty in election.
And we have the details.

And a Republican governor has some outrageous advice for women being
forced to take ultrasounds.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." The race goes on, and
Willard Romney`s here in New York, trying to convince big donors
everything`s just fine.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign is off and running. The early message,
the president is cool under pressure. That`s not what we`ve seen out of

ROMNEY: If I`m a weak front-runner, what does that make Newt
Gingrich? And by the way, last night I got more delegates than anybody

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: People say, he can`t relate --
he`s so rich, he can`t relate to the rest of us. Why do you keep doing

ROMNEY: Megyn, guess what. I made a lot of money. I`ve been very
successful. I`m not going to apologize for that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: America`s right and you`re wrong!

ROMNEY: Brett, your list is just not accurate. So one, we`re going
to have to be better informed about my views on issues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is there a misconception about you --

ROMNEY: You know you get to ask the questions you want, I get to give
the answers I want.


SHARPTON: And the longer the race goes on, the happier the comedians
will be.


ROMNEY: Look at his energy policy! What is his energy policy? You
can`t drive a car with windmill on it.

drive a car with a windmill on it! Because if you put a windmill on top of
your car, then where does the dog go?

more foreign policy experience than he has.

DAVID LETTERMAN, HOST, THE LATE SHOW: We`ve compiled a list of other
things that he has never said. Number four, we can`t lay people off, it`s
Christmas. Number three, I think the dog would be more comfortable inside
the car.


SHARPTON: He`s talking about Romney`s now-infamous trip, when he
strapped his dog to the roof of his car. And it`s in the headlines again
today. It all adds up to the fact that he has trouble connecting.

Today`s campaign launched at contest to grab a bite with Mitt. He`s
trying his hardest to connect, but let`s be very clear here. This election
will not be easy. They know they have a flawed front-runner, so they have
a dog plan in place.

The first part is, divide it. Karl Rove and the Koch brothers plan on
raising over $440 million. The second part is the plan to suppress the
vote with extreme voter I.D. laws in key states.

In the wake of Pennsylvania passing their voter I.D. bill yesterday,
the Brennan center released this map today which shows voter I.D. laws in
key swing states could impact 189 electoral votes. That`s 70 percent of
the amount needed to win the presidency. They`re in trouble, but they`re
willing to do anything to win.

Joining me now, Erin McPike, national political reporter for "Real
Clear Politics," and Joe Madison, nationally syndicated host of "Mornings
with Madison" on Sirius XM radio.

Thanks for both of you for being here tonight.

XM: Thank you, reverend.

SHARPTON: Erin, you followed the Romney campaign. How concerned --
let me start with that. How concerned are they about the negative press
that they`ve been getting as this race goes on?

They are very concerned about it, which is why they`re addressing it by
putting Mitt Romney out in more interviews like he did yesterday with FOX
News. He`ll be doing more of those.

Now, I would say to you that the Republican Party in Washington,
Republican officials, Republican operatives, and just big Republican
supporters here in D.C. are more concerned about it than the Romney
campaign is. And they are talking a little bit more about how they would
fix the Romney message if given a chance.

I`ve talked to some of those people within the last month or so, and
they say that they`d like to see Mitt Romney talk more about his turnaround
credentials that he went in, turned around businesses, turned around the
Olympics, change a - a deficit in Massachusetts into a surplus when he was
governor. As opposed to just saying he knows how the economy works and how
to create jobs. Because when he says things like that, it can turn around
to bite him. Because as you know, when he was in charge of Bain, and they
were turning around businesses, they often cut jobs. And so that`s not
really the best message for him.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, in light of they, themselves wishing he were
projecting different things, in light of the fact the polls, even the polls
that we have now, FOX News has the president winning against both Romney
and Santorum, head to head. President Obama, 46, Romney, 42. President
Obama, 51, Rick Santorum, 39. These are FOX polls.

Is it any wonder that some of us feel that they are planning to do
other things that are not quite, in our opinion, principled and fair, like
come in with crazy money and using these PACs s in ways of using negative
campaigning? And in ways as this Brennan report comes out today, affect
the electoral vote by having some very strange and stringent voter I.D.
laws in key swing states?

MADISON: Yes, you`re absolutely right. When -- everybody must
realize, any president running for a second term will always have a close
second race. I`ve read a report the other day, North Carolina, very
important state, with once again, voter I.D. law. Thank goodness the
governor there had sense enough to do what she did.

But here`s the deal. If they`re saying that it could be a one-point
swing. Let`s go to Wisconsin, voter I.D. law. Wisconsin, Milwaukee. I
was in Milwaukee. You`ve been to Milwaukee. The voter I.D. law in
Milwaukee may very well disenfranchise 75 percent of African-Americans in
that city, just Milwaukee.

Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania just passed it. Governor is going to sign
it immediately. Not only will they have a voter I.D. law -- by the way
former governor, your contributor, will tell you, there`s no voter fraud
problem in that state. Well, guess what they`re also planning to do. If
I`m not mistaken, and that is that they want to divide the Electoral
College votes.

See, it used to be winner take all. They`re planning legislation.
And then to go to your point about these -- this money, these ads, you have
Sherrod Brown, who has introduced a bill to say, at least, let`s have
transparency, so that the American people know who`s paying for these ads.
Well, guess what, Republicans in the Senate are going to filibuster and
block it. They don`t even want transparency. ?

SHARPTON: And you see, Erin, when Joe talks about Pennsylvania, with
I.D. laws, let me show you how the race there is tight in Pennsylvania.

According to the polls, President Obama`s at 45, Rick Santorum`s at
44, Romney at 40 to President Obama`s 46 against Romney.

So if you can cut off a lot of voters in Pennsylvania, you could
actually turn the vote and win those electoral votes, only because a lot of
people that voted last night and have voted for years using their I.D., all
of a sudden that I.D. is no longer enough. That`s very, very, very, very
bad in a democracy in my opinion, Erin.

MCPIKE: Yes. And I think we`ll be seeing a lot of efforts to block
those pieces of legislation, as the year goes forward. I mean, this has
been in play for a couple of years now. And it`s something that the
Democrats are always talking about as a problem. So it will be one of
those heated issues in this election, that`s for sure.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, when you talk about, as I was referring to, the
money on negative ads, one of the reasons that I think that that is
something in the air is look at President Obama`s favorability rating, even
on FOX. Again, I keep going to them. And FOX as the favorability at 50
percent, Mitt Romney, 39 percent.

So if you`ve got the Republican front-runner at 39 percent on the FOX
poll favorability and the president, 50, you`ve got to try to muddy them up
and muddy up all of those that you can, that may raise the questions, that
won`t help you.

MADISON: And it`s not in the air. I`ll just add one observation that
you said, it`s in the air. It is on the ground. We are seeing a preview
of what Mitt Romney is going to try to do to President Obama because he`s
doing it to every opponent he has, and he`s using again, this money, where
we, the average voter out here, we don`t even know where the money`s coming

SHARPTON: I have no idea.

MADISON: And so, but I think - I think the strategy should be just
what the president is doing, but most important of all, we who have voices
need to expose this for what it is. But they better be careful, because
again, someone once said, you expose a devil, and people will rise up and
take care of that devil. So they can keep being evil, but you might just
motivate us to go out and --

SHARPTON: Vote in big numbers. It may motivate a huge vote.

MADISON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Erin McPike and Joe Madison, thanks.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: For being on the show tonight.

Ahead, a feisty and downright funny President Obama handed those
Republicans promising low gas prices today.

And Pennsylvania governor, Tom Corbett, tells women forced to have an
ultrasound to just close your eyes. What is he talking about?! Stay with


SHARPTON: Folks, we`re used to hearing outrageous things from Pat
Robertson, but something he said this week really grabbed my attention.


PAT ROBERTSON: The whole thing about global warming, it hasn`t been
scientifically proved. As a matter of fact, a lot of the science has been
debunked, as not being valid.


SHARPTON: This is nonsense. The facts show global warming is real.
Ninety seven percent of climate scientists say, climate change is
happening. I`ll trust them, not Pat Robertson. But what`s really funny is
that Robertson used to think global warming was a serious issue. In fact,
he and I made a public service ad about it in 2008.


ROBERTSON: Al, let`s face it. We`re polar opposites.

SHARPTON: We couldn`t be further apart. I`m on the left.

ROBERTSON: And I`m usually right. And we strongly disagree.

SHARPTON: Except on one issue. Tell them what it is, Reverend Pat.

ROBERTSON: That would be our planet. Taking care of it is
extremely important.


SHARPTON: What is it with that couch and conservatives? They`re
always running away from what they said there.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We don`t always see eye to eye, do we, Newt?

country must take action to address climate change.


SHARPTON: But these days, Newt`s got a different attitude about his
efforts to save the planet.


GINGRICH: The ad I did with Nancy Pelosi is the dumbest single thing
I`ve done in the last five or six years.


SHARPTON: Don`t be so hard on yourself, Newt. I`m sure you`ve done
dumber things than that. As long as these guys are trying to forget all
the reasonable views they used to have, I`ll be here to remind them.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. We`ve been talking a lot
about the war on women`s health. Mandatory ultrasound bills are on the
books in eight states. Pennsylvania`s pushing a law that makes a woman
watch the ultrasound. Here`s Governor Tom Corbett on that.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Making them watch, does that go too far in
your mind?

GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I don`t know how you can make
anybody watch, OK? Because you just have to close your eyes.


SHARPTON: Close your eyes? Just like you`re closing your eyes to the
injustice of these laws? That`s outrageous. And this goes on in the
states as this is happening in Washington, the Senate is taking up the
violence against women act. It`s been law since 1994. It aids victims of
violent crimes. For 18 years, it had overwhelming bipartisan support,
until now. Republicans are threatening to vote against the bill. Why?
Because this latest version protects battered undocumented immigrants and
people in same-sex relationships. And it provides free legal assistance to
victims of domestic violence. Democrats are calling, shame!


SEN. DIANNE FEINSTEIN (D), CALIFORNIA: Is the violence any less real,
is the danger any less real because you happen to be gay or lesbian? I
don`t think so.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D), WASHINGTON: This is a bipartisan bill. We
authorized this law last time here in the Senate unanimously. I`m
disappointed that these issues keep coming up.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: Combating domestic violence and
sexual assault is an issue that we should all be able to agree on.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization for Women. Terry, thanks for being here tonight.

Reverend. Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: First, what is your take on Governor Corbett`s comment
about women closing their eyes?

O`NEILL: You know, it is -- it reminds me of the legislator in
Alabama, who specifically said he wanted women to have a choice as to
whether they would be humiliated with what Duns Berry calls that 10-inch
shaming wand, that is the trans-vaginal probe, or should they be humiliated
with an external sonogram. The Governor is clearly out of touch with what
is important to women, clearly doesn`t care about women`s health care. It
is, as you say, a shocking and outrageous comment. And this is a man who
is governor of an entire state. He really should not be in that position
at all.

SHARPTON: Now, it`s outrageous, but let`s go to the Senate debating
this bill. And I notice there`s some ray of hope. Some Republicans are
getting a little nervous. Senator Lisa Murkowski on the Senate floor
today, even republican Senator Murkowski said she thinks her colleagues
should vote for the violence act. Listen to this.


SEN. LISA MURKOWSKI (R), ALASKA: Something else that we all care
about is the violence, the assaults of that women often endure, their
sisters, their daughters, their neighbors, their friends. And the violence
against women act is an important commitment to victims of domestic
violence and sexual abuse, that they`re not alone.


SHARPTON: And we see that Senator Collins and others are Republicans,
at least three, are coming out for this bill. Is that encouraging to you?

O`NEILL: It is. We have six Republicans that have sponsored the bill
so far. Mike Crapo is one of the co-authors and Mark Kirk from Illinois.
Obviously, Lisa Murkowski. And you know, for her to go down to the Senate
floor today and make that speech in favor of the bill was very courageous.
My understanding is that republican senators are experiencing enormous
pressure to oppose the violence against women act. It`s really
astonishing. This is a bill, as you say, that has had near-unanimous,
bipartisan support in the past. The law provides programs for battered
women. Who thinks it`s OK to allow an immigrant woman to have to be stuck
in a violent relationship? And you know, the new bill recognizes the
special issues that immigrant women face. For example, sometimes if their
husband or their intimate partner is their sponsor, that person may have
control of their documents. And so you need these special things. And yet
the Republicans are saying, oh, no, if it`s immigrants, we don`t want it.
This is only unifying our side to really win these elections in 2012.

SHARPTON: No, you`re right. But let me also say, I see you`ve got
some other very good news. The AFL-CIO in their executive meeting in
Orlando came out with a resolution fighting for women. Saying that, I`m
quoting the resolution, "As a strong supporter of health care reform, the
AFL-CIO believes all women should have universal access to quality health
care at a reasonable cost that is not determined by political agendas."
That`s big help.

O`NEILL: That is a huge help. And, you know, and that statement
also says that the attacks on workers` rights are having a disproportionate
impact on women. The AFL-CIO recognizes it, and it`s absolutely true,
which is why we are really thrilled to be working with the unions in this
extremely important year.

SHARPTON: Terry O`Neill, president of NOW, thank you for your time.

O`NEILL: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, pumping the truth. President Obama took on the
Republicans promising low gas prices. And it was pretty funny.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Republicans keep coming
up with some funny numbers to push their views on the economy. Remember
Herman Cain`s 9-9-9 plan? Well, now one candidate has a new magic formula
for gas prices, two-five-0.


GINGRICH: As I went around both states talking about $2.50 gasoline,
having all sorts of folks in the elite media saying, oh, that`s not

Trying to get gas down under $2.50 a gallon.

Well, I know, I think I have to keep moving forward, return gasoline
to under $2.50 a gallon.


SHARPTON: Sorry, Newt, but you can`t drill your way back to $2.50
gasoline. President Obama went on the road today to call out Republicans
for playing political games with gas prices.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: They start acting like we`ve
got a magic wand and we will give you cheap gas forever if you just elect
us. I guess this year they decide we`re going to make it $2.50. I don`t
know where, you know, why not $2.40? Why not $2.10?


SHARPTON: President Obama also outlined his plan to invest in new
sources of energy and ridiculed Republicans who are stuck in the past.


OBAMA: If some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail --
they must have been founding members of the flat earth society. They would
not have believed that the world was round.



SHARPTON: Joining me now is Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst and
columnist for "The Hill," and Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC political analyst
and Georgetown University professor. Thank you both for being here



SHARPTON: Karen, what did you think of that speech?

FINNEY: I loved it. I love watching the President have a little fun
at the GOP`s expense. Because anybody that tells you that they can get gas
prices down to a particular number is selling you something. And we know
that Newt Gingrich is a big snake oil salesman. So it was great to see him
have some fun with that.

SHARPTON: Now, Dr. Dyson, you are a words man yourself. And is the
strategy with 9-9-9, $2.50, is to try to have things simple, thinking it
will stick to someone`s mind and brain, that you`ve really come up with a
formula that they can remember, even though it absolutely has no connection
to any sound policy?

DYSON: No sound policy at all, Reverend Sharpton. And as Miss Finney
said, I`m glad to see the President indulge in some rhetorical luxury
there, to really spurn the advances of the darned GOP. What does that
sound for? Giving oil to people? Well, they don`t have any to give. The
reality here is that, you know, the only gas in the room is the gas they`re
leaking from the other end of their face, and it`s not their mouth. The
reality here is, that look, they`re talking about the President, his
policies blocking the domestic production of oil. Well, what about bio
fuels? What about solar power?

That`s the reality here that they don`t want to deal with. And the
President was right, they are anti-scientific. They`ve been well-known to
be anti-scientific, and as a result of that, they don`t want to deal with
the realities of energy prices being linked to our gas prices, being linked
to energy policies that they don`t want to indulge. So, the President is
way ahead of them on this and yes, they`re like a bad rapper with a
horrible hook. They keep repeating it, but it bears no mention of the real
problems there and it doesn`t have a good tune.

SHARPTON: Well, but continuing in that, let me show you Karen, what
they have on rotation. Because they keep saying it over and over again.
Listen to this.


GINGRICH: His policy has been outrageously anti-American energy. The
high price of gasoline is a direct result of Obama.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If he`s re-elected, he will
continue to put the hold on natural gas and oil and coal.

United States, when he ran for office, talked about, talked about how we
need higher prices for gasoline.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: The administration`s policies are
actually designed on purpose to bring about higher gas prices.


FINNEY: I mean --

SHARPTON: Now, Karen, what do you think about, is the plan, high
rotation, keep saying it, everybody`s saying and it becomes true because
people keep hearing it?

FINNEY: Yes, well, you know, that is the way of the leaders of the
Republican Party. If they feel like if they just keep saying it enough
times, that will make it so. But that doesn`t mean that it`s the truth.
You know, the other piece of this, following on to what Dr. Dyson was
talking about, is that the truth is, under this President, he has approved
more leases for drilling.


FINNEY: He has approved -- we have actually increased our oil exports.
And we`ve actually decreased consumption. What they won`t give him credit
for, and all these false arguments they make. Let`s talk about the
keystone pipeline. The reality is, A, it won`t create as many jobs as they
say it will. B, the oil from that pipeline would actually go on the world
market. So, it wouldn`t be in this country. And three, the pipeline by
the time it was yielding oil, we would have, you know, we`re already past
this problem. So they know that this is an easy, cheap shot to take at a
president. I`ve got the same talking points that as Democrats we used
against George Bush, that they`re now using against the President. And
certainly, all of these guys, particularly Gingrich and Santorum, they know
better. They know that there is not much the President can do, unless he
decided to open up the strategic oil reserve, to change gas prices. And
that`s just reality.

SHARPTON: And we can have different opinions, but not different
facts. You`re laying out the facts. Dr. Dyson, though it seems that the
American people, though, are a little clearer than they thought, because
when you look at the polls, 66 percent blame big oil companies and Mideast
nations. Only 23 percent blame President Obama for rising gas prices.

DYSON: There`s no doubt about it. You know, it`s like Gandhi said.
Let me catch up with my people, so I can lead them. The darn president,
you know, the people out here understand that the President doesn`t
regulate gas prices. That`s why he scorned them today with that why not
make it $2.40? Why not make it $2.10? Keep jabbing them, President Obama.
He proves himself to be a pugilist of the rhetorical order. He is just
jabbing at their arguments and he`s just puncturing them with holes. And
the American people already understands, this guy has no more to do with
the regulation of gas prices than the Republicans have anything to do with
high intelligence and a tremendous insight. So, I think that on this case,
the American people are way ahead of the curve.

SHARPTON: And we can see, Karen, if you`re talking about the
pugilist of the rhetorical order, we also must talk about who buys the
ringside seats. Because big oil companies donate big money. During this
campaign in 2012, this cycle, 88 percent of the big oil money, $20.5
million, is the exact figure so far, 88 percent went to Republicans. Only
12 percent went to Democrats.

FINNEY: Well, that`s exactly right. And that`s the other point I
wanted to raise. Let`s see the politics in this for what it is. Part of
the reason that you have Mitch McConnell and other republican members of
Congress attacking the President, they also know there`s nothing the
president can do to truly lower gas prices. But they go home and they get
their butts kicked by their constituents, who say, how come you haven`t
created jobs? How come my gas prices are so high? And the only answer, so
far, they have is, well, you know, we voted against Obamacare, and we voted
against this and that. They haven`t done anything. And so they`re trying
to push the blame off on to the President, when really what they ought to
be doing is joining into Democrats in Congress that are looking at this
and the White House is looking at, what can we do to go after the
speculators because that`s really where...

SHARPTON: That`s where it came from, the speculations. Got to leave
it there. You`re absolutely right, though, Karen. Thank you, Karen
Finney, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, thank you both for your time tonight.

DYSON: Thanks.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back. I`m freaking out man.


SHARPTON: Forty seven years ago this month, America was at a boiling
point on civil rights. Protesters and police had been clashing for weeks
over a planned march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to highlight
discrimination against African-Americans at the polls. Bloody images of
the brutal crackdown at the Selma`s Pettus Bridge flashed across TV
screens, sparking international outrage. Stunned Americans watched in
horror as protesters were beaten and tear gassed. Others were murdered.
Some shot to death in the middle of the night, simply because they stood up
for what`s right. The pain of their sacrifice reached all the way to the
oval office. President Lyndon Baines Johnson made a courageous decision to
stand up for justice. On March 15th, 1965, he gave a historic speech,
introducing the voting rights act. It was one with week after the bloody
Sunday attack on the Selma marches. And it forever changed this country.


should be no argument. Every American citizen must have an equal right to
vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There
is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure
that right. What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which
reaches into every section and state of America. It is the effort of
American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American
life. It`s not just Negroes but really it`s all of us who must overcome
the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.



SHARPTON: The voting rights act of 1965 made voting a constitutional
right for the first time. It blocked states from imposing barriers, like
the literacy tests or poll taxes. And it barred states from blocking the
vote based on race, color, or language. Johnson called it his greatest
achievement. Now that achievement is under attack from so-called voter
I.D. bills. And we`re going to defend it. That`s why we`re speaking out.
And it`s why we were in Selma last week, marching in the footsteps of Dr.
King and Congressman Lewis and activists who died in the struggle.


SHARPTON: We didn`t come this far to get tricked now! Whatever
scheme you play, we`ll be ready to meet you and beat you! Our fathers beat
Jim Crow! We`re going to beat James Crow, Jr.!



SHARPTON: Congressman Lewis told me that as Dr. King watched that
speech, March 15th, 1965 with Lyndon Johnson, tears rolled down his eyes.
I was a little boy then, but I`m grown now, going through ups and downs,
made my mistakes, but I never stopped dreaming in Dr. King`s dream. I
never stopped believing Lyndon Johnson was right when he said, we shall

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


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