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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, March 13

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

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Guests: David Corn; Ed Rendell, Erin McPike; Chip Saltsman, Sherrod Brown, Benjamin Crump, Terry
O`Neill


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

Tonight`s lead-in, just two hours it the Republican polls will close
in Mississippi and Alabama. Polls showed those races way too close to
call. The latest polls have Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich
running neck in neck. Both states, the stakes are high. Romney is trying
to convince Republicans he can seal the deal while Santorum and Gingrich
are both fighting to become the conservative alternative.

Willard`s already moved on to the next round of voting. He is about
to take the stage in liberty, Missouri, for his only public speech of the
night. He is gearing up for his Missouri`s caucuses, which start tomorrow.

Santorum has moved on to Louisiana, where Republicans won`t be voting
for another two weeks.

Gingrich is the only one spending election night with the folks who
voted today. It is change that Romney and Santorum took off so fast. They
couldn`t get enough time with these folks over the past few days.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Morning to you all.

RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I got kin here in
Mississippi. I`m not sure - I`m very proud of them.

ROMNEY: I have been getting for these southern girls that --

SANTORUM: I heard they got the best grits, looking forward to having
some.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I like grits, I like
cheese grits, like grits with gravy, a number of ways you can have grits.

ROMNEY: Got started right this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy
grit, I tell you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Grits? That`s one thing these guys can agree on, they also
seem to agree that all the other guys are helping President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: I do not believe the other two candidates can beat Obama.
I will not leave the field.

SANTORUM: I understand why the media wants Romney they know he can
beat Romney.

ROMNEY: If we go to all the way to a convention, we would be - we
would be signaling our doom in terms of replacing President Obama. Can you
imagine anything that would be a bigger gift to Barack Obama?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now, former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell,
now an MSNBC news political analyst and Chip Saltsman, a Republican
strategist, who, was Mike Huckabee`s presidential campaign manager in 2008.

Thank you both for joining me this evening.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Chip, let me start with you. They are admitting that their
only helping the president by continuing this race. But none of them are
willing to get out. How much longer can this last?

CHIP SALTSMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Well, I guess -- the only thing
I know for sure, it is not going to end tonight and it looks like Newt`s in
it until the convention. There`s still obviously going to see what is
going to happen in Mississippi and Alabama. But they are all going to
Missouri. They are all going to Louisiana. And my guess is they are going
to stay in until somebody gets 1144. And my sense is that could be as late
as early June.

SHARPTON: Now, governor, let me ask you this, "New York times" spoke
to voters in Mississippi and Alabama and they said things like this coming
out today.

Quote, "There`s nobody that I like everything about. I usually don`t
say that in an election." Now voter says, "I don`t like anybody in our
field." And another one says, "One thing that didn`t influence my decision
is who ate the most ribs, catfish and grits."

Not an enthusiastic response from voters today. What does this say
about this field?

ED RENDELL, NBC NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first of all that last
voter is obviously very intelligent, because none of that stuff should
matter. What it says about the field is the field has not caught on. None
of them have uniformly with any broad swath of Republican voters.

But remember, Al, that only affects turnout, if people turn out in
Mississippi and Alabama, it doesn`t matter who of these three is the
Republican nominee, they are going to carry Mississippi and Alabama and
that`s been Mitt Romney`s basic argument, on the weakest in the south, any
Republican, including me, will beat President Obama.

So, where is going to matters is the lack of enthusiasm exists in
Pennsylvania, and in Ohio, and Wisconsin, and places like that, and it
dampens Republican turnout in the fall, then it is real serious problems
because I think the Democrats, they won`t be quite as wild-identify,
enthusiastic about President Obama as they were in `08, but I think there
will be a strong level of enthusiasm which will manifest itself in a very
good turnout.

SHARPTON: Now, Chip, we just got some exit poll information in. Help
me with this.

When we look at the exit polls, the Gingrich voters in Alabama, 69
percent and 68 percent in Mississippi, say that they strongly favored Newt
Gingrich. His voters seem to be the strongest committed in both states.

Santorum voters, 62 percent in Alabama, 45 percent in Mississippi.
Romney voters, in Alabama, 47 percent, Mississippi, 51 percent.

So, if Romney is still the presumed nominee, at least in these two
states, his voters would have won that seeming strongest in Alabama not
that far ahead of Santorum and Mississippi in terms of being strongly in
his corner.

Does this mean anything to you? You ran a Republican campaign?

SALTSMAN: Obviously, you want your voters to be as intense as
possible and passionate about you, I agree with all the points the governor
makes, it pains me to agree with his, but exactly right on the intensity as
we go into the primary and then it`s November.

But what we are seeing is we have known this, that the Newt Gingrich
supporters and senator Santorum supporters are passionate, they are
excited, they are on a crusade. They are in this to win it. And then you
see Governor Romney`s people that not quite as exciting.

Now, my guess is if you moved further north and go back to the exit
polls in New Hampshire and some of the places he was best well known, his
voters more intense than Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum voters are.

So, this is going to be a challenge for him short term, not long term,
because like the governor said, we are going to win Mississippi and
Alabama, no matter who our nominee is.

SHARPTON: Now - but governor, whoever the winner is may win Alabama,
may win Mississippi, but they also may be wounded because they`ve spent the
last few days, at least since Sunday, just continuously attacking each
other relentlessly. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: Romney is probably the weakest Republican front-runner
since Leonard Wood in 1920. Yes, he is the front runner. He is not a very
strong front runner. Almost conservatives are opposed to him, which is the
base of the party.

SANTORUM: It`s a conservative party. They are not going to nominate
if the opportunity provides itself in an open convention, they not going to
nominate a moderate Massachusetts governor.

ROMNEY: You know it`s funny to listen to these guys. They are saying
what they wish were the case but happens not to be the case. If I`m a weak
front runner, what does that make Newt Gingrich?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wow, governor, it seems like they never read Ronald
Reagan`s 11th commandment.

RENDELL: No, they sure haven`t. And all of this is obviously going
to -- wounds that are opened here won`t heal entirely come November and
that`s plus for us it is a plus for President Obama.

But remember, Al, you and very had this discussion. Once the
convention speeches are given, it`s sort of a reset, not entirely and some
of this baggage will still exist, but the American people, by and large,
really start to focus at that convention nominating speech and whoever the
nominee is will have an opportunity to sort of get back on track a little
bit. Again, some of these wounds won`t heal and the Obama folks are very
smart.

David Axelrod is one of the smartest guys I have ever met in politics.
He is going to find a way to weave in these negative statements that
Republicans have made against Governor Romney, assuming he is the nominee.
He will weave him into commercials and ads and mailings and things like
that.

SHARPTON: Now you Chip, when we look at how voters identified
themselves in terms of being evangelical voters, Mississippi, 81 percent
identified themselves as evangelical, 73 percent in Alabama. The previous
high was 73 percent in Tennessee.

So tonight, Mississippi`s the highest of those that identified
themselves as evangelical voters. Let`s fast forward. Let`s say Mitt
Romney is the nominee. Are these voters going to be enthusiastically with
Mitt Romney?

SALTSMAN: I think they will be. And I think what you find
interesting is Mississippi has the highest we have seen of evangelical
voter. But yet, Mitt Romney is competing there and could win Mississippi
tonight. And so if he does that I think that bodes well for him. And I
think at the end of the day, what governor is saying is right is we will
heal all these wounds. We are bout playing inside baseball right now. We
are still inside the dugout.

And this is an inner squad scrimmage and it`s tough and it`s mean and
it`s rough, but at the end of the day, we will come together and heal up
and know tend of the day, our job is to beat Barack Obama in November.

SHARPTON: Let`s come out of that dugout, governor. Let`s take Chip
out the dugout, let`s go on the field. On the field, independent voters
going to be crucial to who wins the real game and in the "New York times"
poll, President Obama is way ahead of Mitt Romney with independent voters.
That is the real ball game, Governor.

RENDELL: Yes, there`s no question. Mitt Romney`s been forced to move
to the right during this entire process. He has been forced to get mired
into discussions about contraception and things that are net not enough
women voters and those are moves that don`t necessarily heal.

And chip, you know that David Axelrod is going to be reminding people
all about those things, the things that were said. The positions that
Governor Romney took, all of that stuff is going to come back and it is
going to be a problem. Is it an overcome able problem? Sure. But it
certainly makes it a steeper hill.

SHARPTON: Well, Governor Ed Rendell and Chip Saltsman, we will be
watching tonight, thank you for your time.

RENDELL: Thanks.

SALTSMAN: Thanks rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, just when you think you couldn`t possibly do it
again, he does. Willard`s latest gaffe once again shows just how out of
touch he is.

Plus, fueling fear, things are so bad for the GOP, their only hope is
tanking the economy. We will show you their inside plan.

And Rush Limbaugh`s losing more advertisers but he is attacking an
entire group of women today. Terry O`Neill from the national organization
of women is responding exclusively tonight.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on a special primary night here on
MSNBC. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Its big primary tonight and MSNBC will have full coverage
throughout the night. For his part, Willard Romney went on sports talk
radio in Alabama, trying to connect with the sports fans down there. And
it happened again, a major, major fail. That tape is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are back with more coverage of the primaries. The polls
will close in Alabama in two hours. Right now, the Romney campaign is
trying to spin his latest gaffe, this comment about football player, Peyton
Manning.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I don`t want to see him at Miami or the jet. But I got a lot
of good friends, the owner of the Miami dolphins and the New York jets,
both owners are friends of mine, but let`s keep away from New England so
that Tom Brady has a better shot of picking up a championship for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So Willard`s trying to win over regular Joes by bragging
about his rich friends who own football teams? Just a few weeks ago, he
made a similar gaffe when talking about how much he follows NASCAR.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Not as closely as some of the most ardent fans, but I have
some great friends who thank are NASCAR team owners.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Each round of voting seems to bring us another flub from
Willard. And he admits that he is part of the problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The candidate sometimes makes mistake. And so, I`m trying to
work better and harder. I drive a mustang and a Chevy pickup truck. Ann
drives a couple of Cadillacs actually. I love this state. It seems right
here, the trees are the right height. I like seek the -- I like seeing the
lakes.

I should also tell my story. I am also an employee.

Rick, I will tell you what, $10,000, $10,000 bet?

I`m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.
If it needs to repair, I will fix it.

The candidate sometimes makes some mistakes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now from Birmingham, Alabama, is Erin McPike,
reporter for "Real Clear Politics" and in Washington, David Corn, MSNBC
political analyst and "Mother Jones Washington Bureau" chief.

Great to have both of you, with us.

David, let me start with you. Willard has been running for president
for years now. How does he continue to make mistake after mistake?

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: He is showing us his true
nature. I mean, it is a cliche to say, but once you are in a presidential
race, you are under the microscope, and you really don`t hide, all these
appearances, all these sound bites, the endless coverage that you can see
on real clear politics Erin`s site. You just can`t behind your true
nature. I mean, that is one of the wonderful things about these
presidential contests. I think we do get to know these people and more
importantly, what they think and what they care about. I mean, I would
have to expect Mitt Romney to say if asked about gas prices, you know, I
don`t buy my own gas but I have a bunch of friends who own petro chemical
firms. I mean, he just can`t help himself.

SHARPTON: Erin, you know, he, in many ways down south, tried to
connect, but he looked like he was very inauthentic and when he sees the ad
lib, go from the heart, he is talking about owners. The only thing he won
down south trying to connect was the joke of late-night TV hosts. Watch
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Folks, I got to tell you Mitt are not just walking
the walk, he`s drawing the talk.

ROMNEY: Morning you all. Good to be with you. I got started right
this morning with a biscuit and some cheesy grits.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really think you are going to appeal to
southerners by finding reference with them on the issues that matter most
to them, their accent and choosing the right breakfast starch?

JAY LENO, TV SHOW HOST: I think Mitt, I think is good guy, just
really doesn`t connect, you know?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

LENO: With the southern voters. Like he thought Mason-Dixon was a
hedge fund.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Erin, it`s kind of funny, but I mean, it is obvious the
connection is not there and he looks like he is just pandering.

ERIN MCPIKE, REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Yes. Al, you know, I
think that may be true, but look, I think the biggest gaffe that he had
down south was when he called Jeff Foxworthy, a blue collar comedian to a
blue collar audience. I mean, I think that is the biggest thing. Some of
the other things I`m not sure with were that bad.

Now, as far as knowing and having several friends or NFL team owners,
I think that was a bit intentional and the reason, a lot of speculation for
that. But people say, you know, after he said that he had friends who were
NASCAR team owners, there was a big uproar about this. I think the Romney
campaign may have planted the NFL line sort of intentionally just so to
minimize some of the damage and say, hey, this is who he is.

SHARPTON: David, but he has been playing the pandering game before in
2002 when he was running for Massachusetts governor, pandering to
independent Democrats. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: It is always a burned for someone to run with R for
Republican after their name. The very clear I think it is to people of the
commonwealth that my R doesn`t stand so much for Republican as it does
reform.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, is this a serial problem with him, with pandering?

CORN: Yes, the issue is not Mitt Romney`s likability. The issue is
that people know he is not being authentic and that is true to himself.
What is he? He is a northeastern country club moderate Republican ex-
governor. Much in the, you know, -- in line with, say, George h. W. Bush.
Now you that type of person cannot win the Republican primaries given how
the Republican electorate has moved so far to the right, particularly drive
than way to a large extent by Obama hatred. So, he has to be something
that he is not. And some politicians are better at that than other
politicians.

He is not that good at it. And it shows and the longer this goes on,
because Santorum and Gingrich stay in the race, and make it competitive,
the more harm he is doing to that little left of that soul inside Mitt
Romney.

SHARPTON: But Erin, you know, in 2004, I ran for the democratic
nomination for president. I know what those hot lights are like. I
watched the others that were on that stage. And one thing people will see
is who you really are. You can`t fake it all the time. It comes out. And
they trust you or not trust you, not only by your positions but by your
authenticity.

This has to bother Romney when you look at the polls and it says that
-- the question was raised who understands voters` needs and problems,
President Obama or Willard? President Obama got 55 percent, people
believing that he understands the needs and problems, Mitt Romney only 31
percent. And I don`t think this is all on policy. I think this is all on
who they think really understands their dreams, their problems, their
needs.

You have been out there with them. Do you see this reflected as you
travel around following and covering him?

MCPIKE: Yes, you know, I think that is a big concern for a lot of
voters but I think what the Romney campaign is doing to correct that is
going out and saying to voters, I want you to make the right decision in
this primary.

I just saw Ann Romney yesterday in Montgomery and she had an event
with about 75 people. It was actually at union upscale restaurant, it was
kind of to their base, but she was saying, we want you to go out and do the
right thing and pick the guy that can turn around the economy.

So, I don`t think that now he is trying to say anything to the effect
of I understand the problems but more, listen, give me the reins to the
economy, I can fix t in a way. So, in a way, I think they are moving
around this issue of does he understand average Americans. Because, you
know, honestly, he doesn`t. He has always been a multimillionaire. And
no, he doesn`t understand the everyday middle class struggles.

SHARPTON: Now, David, I don`t want to paint an overly rosy picture
because the president did get some bad news in the polling, the "New York
times"/CBS news poll says March 7 to 11th, he went down and he now has a
favorable rating of only 41 percent.

How does he deal with that? Does this mean anything? Make a big deal
when he is up. This is down. How do we read this?

CORN: Well, it`s not good news for the White House. That poll may be
an outlier, may be an indicator what is going to happen with polls the
coming weeks. It could be because of gas prices or any - a lot of things.

But the thing to remember is that all politics is Einsteinian, it is
relative. Barack Obama will be compared to whoever the Republican nominee
is, presumably Mitt Romney, but not necessarily.

And so, while he has fallen in the approval ratings, he is still
leading Romney and I would think given the external circumstances that our
economy is facing, even though a slight tick up in growth and employment
numbers, it is still in a pretty bad place, that any decent Republican
standard bearer should be 10 points ahead of an incumbent president with
this sort of economy.

So, the fact that Obama is still competitive even leading Mitt Romney
is really probably the more important indicator. Although I still think
overall, no matter how bad Mitt Romney is doing, and how much of a clown
show the Republican primary may continue to be it is still pretty much a
50/50 proposition if you look toward November.

SHARPTON: Well, David, thank you for being on tonight.

Erin, you know David, why I like to have Erin on, David?

CORN: Why?

SHARPTON: She is authentic. She`s there in Birmingham, still has on
her very nice necklace and her nice attire. She didn`t come home with a
bowl of grits tonight playing with me. Thank you, Erin.

CORN: She is a great reporter though.

MCPIKE: I had grits and a biscuit for breakfast this morning. I tell
you I did.

CORN: Bring some back.

MCPIKE: Cheese grits and a breakfast.

SHARPTON: Lord. You are not running in the primary though.

MCPIKE: I am not, but I just tell you, I did have it.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you both.

Ahead, pumping fear. The candidates are making all kinds of false
promises when it comes to gas prices. We have a fact check. And we are
marching against voter I.D. laws, suppressing voters. Attorney General
Eric Holder is cracking down. That exclusive interview is next.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on a special primary night here on
MSNBC. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are back with important news about the fight against
unfair GOP voting laws. Attorney general Eric Holder is making big moves
to crackdown on voter I.D. laws and protect the vote. The justice
department just rejected Texas voter I.D. laws under the voting rights act.
Earlier, it said no to South Carolina`s effort to suppress the vote.
Tonight, in an exclusive interview with NBC, Holder spoke out on why he`s
getting tough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: These voter I.D. laws solutions
that deal with a problem that does not really exist. These laws that
disenfranchise people, perhaps as many as 800,000 in Texas, are unnecessary
and go counter to the great tradition of the American people, which was to
expand the opportunity people have to vote.

What we are talking about here is a constitutional right, this is not
a privilege. The right to vote is something that`s fundamental to who we
are as Americans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Fundamental as to whom we are as Americans. He is right on
target. This is exactly why we spent a week in Alabama, marching from
Selma to Montgomery, so shed a light on one of the worst tack it was the
GOP is employing to steal the election by trying to disenfranchise millions
of voters. We are making progress. But the fight back is only beginning.
Both South Carolina and Texas, those states have said they are going to
fight the Justice Department. I can assure you that activists, ministers,
labor leaders in those states organizing to protect their right to vote.
And we will be with them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. It`s less than an hour
and the half until polls close and keep sudden battlegrounds of Alabama and
Mississippi. This contest could have a big impact on the republican
contest and on who will face President Obama in the fall. Here on MSNBC,
we`ll be covering the race all night following this show. Stay tune for a
live edition of "HARDBALL" at 7 p.m. followed by Ed, Rachel and Lawrence
and remember to stay tune for live edition of Ed Schultz and Rachel Maddow
at 11 and midnight. No matter what the outcomes in tonight primaries,
republican know, this is going to be a tough election. So, how do they
plan on winning? By crippling the economy.

Michael Tomasky in the "Daily Beast" connected the dots in an article
today. Step one, attack jobs, the private sector has seen 24 straight
months of growth. But Republicans across the country has used their slash
and burn mentality to cut 22,000 public sector jobs. Each month in 2011.

And that fits into step two, slash budgets. So, local governments
have even less money to put into the economy.

And step three, blame President Obama for high gas prices, even though
a real driver of soaring costs is the right-wing`s constant talk of a war
with Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The biggest driver of these
high gas prices is speculation about possible war in the Middle East, which
is why we have been trying to reduce some of the loose talk about war
there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There`s plenty of loose talk from the GOP. Another thing
they are loose with, the facts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He said it`s because
republican presidential candidates are talking in a very muscular way about
Iran and their nuclear program. It is a real stretch, even for a guy who
has gotten pretty good at making excuses.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you like the idea of
$10 gallon gasoline and bowing to a Saudi king, you ought to be with Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The administration policies are actually designed
on purpose to bring about higher gas prices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wrong. Wrong! Domestic oil production is at its highest
level since 2003. But apparently, facts don`t matter, not when this is all
you care about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Our top political
priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second
term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Senator Sherrod Brown, democrat from
Ohio. Senator Brown, thanks for coming on the show.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Polling out today shows the President`s approval rating as
taking a big hit. Do you think rising gas prices are to blame and is this
something that you are worried about in the -- in our own election?

BROWN: Well, I`m not worried about it. I think, first of all, I
think that McConnell clip that you showed from a couple years ago, you
could you sort of end this show right there. When everything they do comes
out of that, whether it is blocking appointments on the Senate floor or not
passing jobs bills or undermining the President on a whole host of
initiatives we have seen it since 2009, we know that put that aside for a
moment. I`m very concerned about higher gas prices, not for the
President`s re-election, I don`t think the public is blaming him for that
but I`m concerned because, you know, every time there`s a type line outage,
every time there sapphire at a refinery, every time there is turmoil in the
Middle East and what the president said about loose talk about war, every
time any one of those things happen, the oil industry and the Wall Street
speculators use that as an excuse to spike up oil prices. And that new
study that just came out, 56 cents a gallon -- 56 cents has been added at
the cost at the pump of every gallon of gas because of Wall Street
speculation. And that is the biggest part of this coupled with what the
President said and the fear mongering that the presidential republican --
republican candidates are doing and beating, you know, what he said the
loose talk of war President Obama talked about.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Senator, I`m glad you said a couple of
things, let me show you two things. One, even the Murdoch-owned "Wall
Street Journal" says, the President cannot be blamed for the recent spike
in gas prices. Let me quote them. It says, U.S. gasoline prices like
prices throughout the advanced economies, are determined by global market
forces is hard to see how Mr. Obama`s policies can be blamed. And then you
contrast that with the fact that in 2011, big oil profits were at a record
high. Yet the GOP continues to cater to them, whose side are you on? A
hundred and thirty seven billion dollars, setting an all-time record for
profits and they are catering to them while doing this fear mongering and
blame game on the President.

BROWN: Yes, exactly right. You know, one of the things, it`s the
hardest to do around here because the oil industry`s influence especially
with Republicans is to take away those subsidies that the oil industry
gets, the profits for Exxon and other big oil companies are huge and seems
to be growing, been huge for a year now and even with that, when we -- when
those subsidies and tax breaks, the oil industry were set when oil was $10
or $20 or $30 a barrel, now it`s over 100. Yet, they still get them, we
can`t take them away because Republicans block it. The other thing I
think, Reverend Sharpton is that, you know, you learn as a kid how supply
and demand works.

SHARPTON: Right.

BROWN: And when supply is relatively high, as it is as you pointed
out, President Obama during this period right now and President doesn`t get
all the credit for this, certainly, but there has been more drill, more oil
production and because of conservation, demand has not particularly high,
now it`s been pretty flat. So prices should go down if supply is up and
demand is down a little, but it doesn`t because of the speculation and
because of the loose talk about war in the Middle East and the oil industry
having that as an excuse to spike up oil prices.

SHARPTON: And then you hear the GOP actually saying the President
wants these prices to go up. Governor Mitch Daniels, listen to what he
says, I mean, this is outrageous.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. MITCH DANIELS (R), INDIANA: Let`s give the President credit for
one domestic policy that worked, he wanted higher gas prices and he got
them. So, they`ve gotten the doubling of gas price and perhaps worse is a
conscious policy of this administration, maybe the one thing they set out
do and actually accomplished.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, is he serious?

BROWN: Well, it`s hard to believe a guy that would say something so
stupid would ever been elected governor, especially a state like next to
mine. A lot of people in Indiana, and I got to think that would embarrass
them a little, their governor would actually only say, the only one of the
only successes the President has had is that he wanted to double gas
prices. I mean, no president wants to do that. That kind of politics is
just shameful and it`s just, it`s not good for our country. We have got to
focus, my biggest fear is not the President`s re-election, he is going to
win again, he`s going to win my state, he`s going to win the country. My
biggest fear is that these oil prices caused not by the President but by
partly republican intransigence, partly republican talk of loose talk about
war and the speculation on Wall Street that that is going to hurt this
economic growth. We have had -- my state, we`ve had, I believe 13 of the
last 14 months, we have seen economic growth, manufacturing job growth. I
want to keep that going. Two hundred thousand new jobs. Not enough.

SHARPTON: Right.

BROWN: But 200,000 new jobs each of the last three months. And some
of these guys want to pull back on this and that`s just --

SHARPTON: Well, we cannot let them because people really need the
jobs and people certainly need to have gas prices where they can go and do
what they do work as well as their family outings. Senator Sherrod Brown,
thanks for coming on the show tonight.

BROWN: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Ahead, this 17-year-old young man was shot and killed in
Orlando. The shooter claims self-defense, even though the boy was un-
armed. Mounting questions for the Police Department tonight. And we will
try to get some answers.

And as advertisers flee Rush Limbaugh, he attacks women again. Stay
with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Alabama`s immigrations law is hurting innocent people. The
latest victims, snoopy and Charlie Brown. An Alabama high school couldn`t
get the rights to the musical "You`re a good man Charlie Brown" when a New
York licensing house refused to submit a document required under the new
law. The controversial HB 56, which was passed by the republican-
controlled legislature last year, says any company doing business with the
state must submit sworn documents saying they don`t employ illegal
immigrants. The high school had been rehearsing for weeks before the
company forced teachers to pull the plug on the production. The New York
licensing company finally relented and filed the paperwork on Friday. That
was a close call for snoopy. Republicans, you`re not working for peanuts,
you`re working for the American people. I have two words for this, good
grief!

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with disturbing news about a shooting in
Florida. Three weeks ago, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was walking back to
his father`s girlfriend`s house in a gated community near Orlando, Florida.
He was shot and killed by the neighborhood watch captain. That man claimed
self-defense even though the teen was unarmed and he is free today. The
police chief says, there`s not enough evidence to charge him. Trayvon`s
family is devastated and fighting back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON`S MOTHER: This guy was not arrested. I don`t
understand, as a mother. My heart is broken.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Self-defense against an unarmed teenager? There`s a lot of
unanswered questions and we need answers now.

Joining me now from Tallahassee, Florida, Martin family Attorney
Benjamin Crump. He is suing the police for more evidence. Thanks for your
time tonight.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.
And the Martin family, thank you.

SHARPTON: And tell them that I -- I appreciate that and we will be
with them through this investigation. But let me show you this, here is
what the police chief said yesterday about the watch captain, George
Zimmerman. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHIEF BILL LEE, SANFORD POLICE DEPARTMENT: Mr. Zimmerman has made the
statement of self-defense. Until we can establish probable cause to
dispute that, we don`t have the grounds to arrest him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Your response, Mr. Crump?

CRUMP: Reverend Sharpton, where else in the world does that happen,
where I can shoot and kill you and then say self-defense and the police
take my word for it on the scene? And this one of those things, when you
think about the facts of this case, the neighborhood watch Homeowner`s
Association loose cannon calls 911 and says he sees a suspicious person,
and the question is, what makes Trayvon Martin suspicious? He is just a
kid walking home. But that 911 tape will tell us that but they won`t
release the tape.

SHARPTON: Why won`t they release the tapes? What are they saying and
why are you suing to get those tapes? What do you think is on the tape?

CRUMP: Well, I think the tapes are going to tell us three important
things. It`s going to tell us why he ignored and just disregarded the
police instruction when they told him to stay put, we are on our way. And
then number two, they are going to tell us why he thought Trayvon Martin
was suspicious. And then thirdly, overall, it is going to tell his general
overall mentality when this grown man, 28-years-old, 200 pounds, got out of
his car with a 9-millimeter gun and confronted this young man weighing 140
pounds who had a bag of skittles and a can of iced tea. After he was shot
and killed, the police told his parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin,
that`s all they found on him. So, you had a man with a 9-millimeter gun
and a kid with a bag of skittles and he claims self-defense and the police
don`t arrest him, he goes home and sleeps in his bed that night while
Trayvon Martin goes to the medical examiner, dead.

SHARPTON: So, this young man is dead. The police confirm all he had
was skittles and an iced tea. The other man, who was not a policeman, not
in uniform, we don`t even know if Trayvon knew who he was, approaches him,
kills him, and he says, self-defense? Even if they got in an altercation,
how is that self-defense and how do you -- how are you allowed to kill
somebody?

CRUMP: You know, Reverend Sharpton, all he had to do was follow the
police instructions and he never confronts this kid. It`s -- you can`t
claim self-defense if you go start the altercation and if he would have
just stayed put and followed the instructions, it wouldn`t have mattered.

SHARPTON: Followed what instructions, Mr. Crump? Quickly, what --

CRUMP: Neighborhood watch is you see something that you think is
suspicious, you call the police. You don`t go try to confront the person.
It`s called neighborhood watch, not neighborhood shoot.

SHARPTON: Well --

CRUMP: It`s --

SHARPTON: I think that that`s critical there, so the neighborhood
watch supposed to watch, call the police, he didn`t do that went and took
it in his own hands with a 9 millimeter?

CRUMP: Exactly. Reverend Sharpton, you hit it right on the nail. We
think Trayvon Martin didn`t know who the heck this white man was who
approached him before he got killed.

SHARPTON: Well, they need to release the tapes and I`m going to be
coming to Florida to see you and the family. The tapes need to be
released. All sides need to see what happened here.

CRUMP: Yes sir.

SHARPTON: Benjamin Crump, we are going to stay on this story, as I
promised you. Thank you for your time tonight and let the family know we
are going to stay right on this and look for these tapes to be released.
We will be right back.

CRUMP: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Nearly two weeks after calling a Georgetown Law student
Sandra Fluke a slut, Rush Limbaugh still is in big trouble. Hundred and
forty advertisers bailed on him. And today, we learned his fake apology
didn`t fool anyone. A new poll shows only 29 percent of Americans believe
his apology was sincere, and 53 percent say, it was insincere. But Rush
was right back at it again today, only this time, he was attacking an
entire organization of women.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: The nags, the National
Association of Gals, it is our pet name for the now gang. Anyway, the
President of the now gang was speaking to the assembled NAGs, you know, at
the convention, laughing about what I had done, laughing about what a great
-- they are not offended, folks. They are not outraged, they are not upset
over the moral depravity of any of this, it, they are happy, they are
clapping their hands, it was a God send.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Calling her and a fellow women nags, giving them a pet
name? This is outright appalling.

Joining me now exclusively is Terry O`Neill, president of the National
Organization of Women. Thanks for joining us. Terry, what is your
response to Rush Limbaugh today?

TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WOMEN: You know,
the fact is that Rush Limbaugh appears to think that he can somehow gain
from continuing his relentless attacks on women and the reality is that
what he is in fact achieving is women are mobilize on their own, through
now chapters around the country through organizations that are allied with
us like the feminist majority foundation, the American Association of
University Women, women`s` groups around the country are sitting up and
taking notice of his relentless attacks on women and frankly, we are going
to make a big difference this year.

SHARPTON: Now, a lot of other organizations is getting in it.
Moveon.com has a new grassroots ad that calls for Rush and other big
Republicans out on the latest comment about women. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Pay for you to have sex, we want you to post the
videos online so we can all watch.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: A woman impregnated through rape should accept
that horribly created gift, the gift of human life, accept what God has
given you and make the best of a bad situation.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: These aren`t our words, they are all real things
said by prominent members of the Republican Party.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Judging from their comments, the GOP must have a
serious problem with women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Has this galvanized, Terry, and backfired in a big way this
kind of misogynist anti-woman stuff we have been hearing the last few weeks
from Rush and even some of the GOP primary candidates for president?

O`NEILL: It has backfired hugely. In fact, the meeting that he was
referring to, the conference he was referring was to the conference of a
now region, several states, now activists gathered. What we had in New
Orleans was an enormous number of women from other organizations in the
area came to this meeting because they are galvanized and they are
mobilizing. And what they wanted to know was, how can we help? How can we
feed into what the now chapters are doing. I mean, this is really huge.
And the move on ad is absolutely right. There is a relentless war against
women who knows why it is happening the way it is happening, but this these
politicians are actually saying those things about women.

And honestly, women are not going to take it. We are mobilizing from
the 2012 elections, we are having a massive nationwide voter education
project to let women know what`s really at stake in the 2012 elections and
I believe that we will going to be far more successful than I think anyone
would have predicted maybe six months ago, simply because these elected
officials just don`t get it, and they don`t get that ordinary women,
republican women, independent women, and the men who care about them do
not want this relentless war on women and they`re going to make the
politicians who support the war on women pay for at the polls.

SHARPTON: I`m glad you said the men that care about them because I`m
a son of a woman and have two daughters. And a lot of people are offended,
for him to say, people weren`t offended, you weren`t offended, I mean, is
an outrageous, insensitive assessment.

O`NEILL: It is, and what he said about Sandra Fluke was deeply
offensive and it was not the words slut and prostitute that were really the
most offensive. What was offensive was three solid days, three hours each
day on his program, basically engaging in verbalizing sexual fantasies
about this 30-year-old young woman.

SHARPTON: Yes. It`s terrible. Well, we are going to have to leave
it there Terry, we`re going to keep watching and working with the women of
this country together. Thanks for your time, Terry O`Neill. Thanks for
watching, I`m Al Sharpton. A special live edition of "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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