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PoliticsNation, Friday, April 13, 2012

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Guests: Melissa Harris-Perry; Chris Hayes, Erin McPike; Bob Franken, Jared Bernstein, Maria Teresa Kumar,
Catherine Crier, John Burris


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

Tonight`s lead, cutting through the GOP spin on women and work. We
start at today`s convention for the national rifle association which was
Willard Romney`s big chance to win over gun toting conservatives to
convince them he is one of them despite his past positions. And then,
here`s what happened.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There is one more person I
would like to introduce. This is a hero of mine. I happen to believe that
all moms are working moms, and if you have five sons, why your work is
never over, my sweetheart, Ann Romney.

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: Let me give a shout out to all moms
that are working. And by the way, to all dads that are working. We love
all of you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Moms are heroes. Isn`t that a different conversation than
expected at a national gun convention? Ann Romney`s appearance came one
day after a TV fondant said Mrs. Romney whose raised five sons, had quote,
"never worked a day in her life."

Republicans have pounced on this one, this one comment they have gone
over and over again, and they used it to gloss over their silliest policy
attacks on women`s right and women`s health. And Romney`s serious deficit
among women compared to the president. It`s hypocrisy at its finest.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN (R), FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CANDIDATE: The message seems
to be that why is it that some on the left choose to divide and insight
instead of just respecting women`s choices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Respecting women`s choices, like the right to choose.
Remember who your candidate is, Willard is the man who said this about
planned parenthood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Of course, you get rid of Obamacare. That`s the easy one.
But there are others. Planned Parenthood, we`re going to get rid of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Get rid of that, Romney is good at getting rid of things
that benefit women especially. The GOP budget that Romney is so in love
will with cut funding for programs that support low income women. Programs
like head start, the women, infants, and children program, and food for
pregnant mothers. Really, this guy is the new champion for women`s rights?
His own campaign didn`t know if he supported a law requiring equal pay for
women, just listen to this exchange on a campaign call.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Does governor Romney support the Lilly
Ledbetter act?

UNIDENTIFIED MITT ROMNEY CAMPAIGN: We`ll get back to you on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No, Willard, it`s women voters that are going to get back
to you this fall, and you`re not going to like the response.

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.

Great to have both of you tonight and thank you for your time.

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

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, UP WITH CHRIS HAYES: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Melissa, let me start with you. The Romney team jumped on
these comments quickly. Why was this so important?

HARRIS-PERRY: Look, this was an unforced error. As much as I agree
with you that the comments themselves take us away, distract from the real
conversation about what a war on women is in terms of policy. The fact is
that language that says that a mother of five has never worked a day in her
life becomes a very, very easy way for them to interim and start again this
kind of mumping wars conversation.

And particularly, it was interesting for Sarah Palin to weigh this.
This was something that she used to great effect during her campaign. This
idea that, you know, any criticism coming to her, she can say. Hey look,
you know, I`m the mom of young children. You know, I have been a household
manager,. I know how to do these things. So, it`s a real sweet spot for
them and this just really gave them a chance to go right for that sweet
spot.

SHARPTON: Chris, I think what bothers me is that I agree it`s a sweet
spot but let`s face it. The person that said it was a fondant on a cable
station. She doesn`t represent President Obama. She doesn`t represent the
DNC. They sort of like inflated this like it was some position they would
taken against the president or against the Democrats.

I mean, when you look at the fact that - and if you look at the polls,
President Obama verses Mitt Romney with female voters, President Obama is
opening up a big lead. In March, Obama led this group by six points. This
month, he leads by whopping 19 points. So, it`s like they had to create
some kind of battle with an opponent that is not even an official or even
unofficial representative of their opponent.

HAYES: Yes. I mean, this -- there is no actual good faith logical
connection between a sentence utter by Hillary Rosen in the cable news
network and anything having to do with what the campaign is aside from the
necessity to create some issue that they position themselves with respect
to these of the women voters that doesn`t actually have to have any
substantive content to it.

And that`s why Melissa was exactly right. It`s a sweet for them
because they have a problem. They have a problem with women voters, right,
but they can`t turn around and say everything we just said about, you know,
birth control and the affordable care act provision for covering preventive
health care and getting rid of title ten which is from the Nixon era, for
paying for family planning for women without a very much money. They just
can`t repudiate all of those positions because it would look manifestly,
you know, preposterous on their part and also because they still have the
base they need to appease.

So, what they need to do is appeal to women without actually doing
anything substantively. So, what they need are theatrics. And the first,
they started trotting out Ann Romney because it was like, well I know a
woman, in fact I have been married to one, so how can I wage a war on
women?

So now, this was just perfect because what they need to do from here
until Election Day literally is come up with this sort of theatrical
rhetorical ways of signalizing it.

SHARPTON: It`s like, Melissa, the politics of distraction. Because
at the end of the day they created a straw person that has nothing to do
with the real debate, the president, and his policies and Romney, his
policies.

When you look at the fact that Mitt Romney among women voters, let`s
deal with his unfavorability, Melissa. He is way higher than any previous
presidential candidate at this point in this race.

In 2004, Kerry at a 53 percent favor rating. And I say women, but
this period across the board, McCain had 55 percent favorable versus 36
percent unfavorable. Similar numbers for President Obama. He had 56
favorable versus 38 percent unfavorable.

Look at Romney, he is just 37 percent favorable versus 49 percent
unfavorable. So when your general favorability and unfavorability bring is
that lop sided, and you can`t turn as Chris said, you can`t turn around to
the base and say I take all of that back because I`m going for independent
voters. You have to create straw of fights - fights with straw men and
women and hope people think that`s a real fight.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, it`s a straw man, but remember that this kind of
like let`s talk about the presidential marriage as a way of talking about
gender and our gender politics, that is actually old.

So, the Romney campaign did not create this. We have seen over and
over again, let`s go back to recent presidents, right. Think about Bill
Clinton running and Hilary Clinton on this whole question of her having
been Rodham, and whether or not having a wife who had her own surname meant
that you weren`t really man enough to be president.

Or think about our current first lady, Michelle Obama, kind of
initially on the campaign trail, she would tease about now President Obama
and talk about him leaving his dirty socks or having stinky morning breath.
And this whole question of well, if you can`t even sort control of control
your wife in public, how will you manage heads of state?

So, this is actually not completely new. And so, part of what
happened when you have this kind of re-assertion of this traditional
narrative about mother and wife, is that all, again, as Chris was saying,
the theatrics, is we care about these kinds of families, and this is the
kind of America we want where a sweetheart from high school gets married to
the one man, and they raise their five kids and who needs birth control in
the situation like that if you just make all of the right choices. And so,
it`s reasserting that.

SHARPTON: But even in those scenarios they`re using people`s lives.
You`re using somebody here that has nothing to do with the president. He
doesn`t -- I mean he may know them, but has no, I mean no connection at
all. And then just outright lies. Like all week Romney has been saying
that the president, 92 percent of the job loss --

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Let me show you this.

HARRIS-PERRY: It`s just not true.

SHARPTON: Let me show you this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY: 92.3 percent of the job losses during the Obama years
have been women who have lost those jobs.

Of the 800,000 plus job that`s have been lost during the Obama
administration, do you know what percentage have been lost by women, 92
percent.

And by the way, do you know what percentage of those jobs lost were
lost by women, over 92 percent of the jobs lost under this president, were
lost by women.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now President Obama responded, let me play his response he
just made.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Everybody who looked at
this claim knows it`s bogus. What he doesn`t mention, obviously, is that
all of these job losses, both men and women, took place as a consequence of
the worst financial crisis and worst economic crisis we have seen since the
great depression. And the vast bulk of them happened before I was sworn
into office or a few months right after I was sworn in office. A direct
result of the policies he wants to go back to.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, and I wanted to play that, of course, as you say,
Melissa, this is totally bogus. But I wanted people to see for themselves,
Romney is saying it over and over and over again. We are not exaggerating.
I want them to hear this bogus claim come out of his lips at least three
times.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, Chris and I, we been here cracking ourselves up
watching it because it`s sort of patently false.

HAYES: But it`s false in a way that`s ridiculous and rings ridiculous
to anybody who has lived in the actually world. It`s like saying 160
percent of the job losses from been women.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Be careful, Chris, he might be listening and use it
tomorrow.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, it doesn`t matter if all these women lost their
jobs, right, because as long as their moms their still working.

HAYES: That is exactly right. There is no such thing.

HARRIS-PERRY: No such thing as an unemployed woman.

SHARPTON: And by the way, let`s bring back the policies that cause
all of the job losses in the first place while we `re at it.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right.

HAYES: Yes.

SHARPTON: Melissa Harris-Perry. Chris Hayes. Thanks to both of you
for your time.

HARRIS-PERRY: Thanks Reverend.

HAYES: Thanks, rev.

SHARPTON: And please watch their shows, I do. First from 8:00 a.m.
to 10:00 is "Up with Chris Hayes," and then "Melissa Harris-Perry" from
10:00 a.m. until noon. Watch them this weekend.

Coming up. President Obama releases his dozen years of tax returns
and dares Romney to do the same. Democrats want to know what he hides.

Plus, Willard is trying to score political points over at the NRA, but
let`s not forget how the gun lobbyist laws have literally have life or
death consequences.

Also, why George Zimmerman`s lawyer may try to get the judge tossed
off the case before it even starts. What it means in the trial seeks
justice for Trayvon Martin.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Mitt Romney once said he didn`t see eye to eye with the
NRA, but now he is trying to convince them that he is one of them. More
from the Willard Romney flip-flop files. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the issue of guns in America.

In the wake of Trayvon Martin`s shooting death, there is a laser focus
on the controversial "Stand Your Ground" law. It is a law that allows
people to use deadly force if they reasonably believe their safety is
threatened. It`s been called the shoot first law, and it`s been at the
center of controversy.

So where did it come from? It was created by the National Rifle
Association, and the NRA has been the driving force behind the law. In
2005, the NRA got "Stand Your Ground" on the books in Florida. Since then
it systematically pushed the law in 24 more states, and it doesn`t stop
there. Remember the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and it
sparked calls in congress to ban the sale of high capacity ammunition
magazines? Why would anyone need to carry around a 0.09-millimeter Gluck
filled with the 33 rounds magazine?

But the NRA, crazy lock. (INAUDIBLE) and the bill has gone nowhere.
Yet today, Mitt Romney was front and center at the NRA`s convention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY: It is great to be with so many friends here today from
the National Rifle Association.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, friends. The friends that drew up the stand your
ground law. He pretends he one of them, but the truth is he has been in
every chamber of the six shooters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY: We do have tough gun laws in Massachusetts. I support
them. I won`t chip away at them. I believe that they help protect us and
provide for our safety.

I don`t line up 100 percent with the NRA. I don`t see I am with the
NRA in every issue.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And even with that sound, can you really believe this guy?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY: I`m not a big game hunter, I made it clear. I have
always been, if you will, a rodent and rabbit hunter, or a small apartment
if you will. And I began when I was 15 or so and hunted those kinds of
varmints since then more than two times.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I remember you were teased moodily a few years for
saying you hunted varmints. I just wonder if you gone hunting since 2007.

MITT ROMNEY: I`m not going to describe all of my great exploits, but
I went Mustang actually - not mustang, I`m sorry, elk hunting with friends
in Montana. We have been hunting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Bob Franken, the syndicated columnist
with king`s features and Erin McPike, national political reporter for "Real
Clear Politics."

Thank you both for joining us.

Bob, Romney, a champion for the NRA?

BOB FRANKEN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Well, you know. This is really
interesting. First of all, the man is obviously slip-sliding over his past
positions. But beyond that we have the spectacle of him coming before the
NRA, an organization that wants to expand the right to own instruments of
death, let`s be honest about what we are talking about here.

SHARPTON: Right.

FRANKEN: As evidenced by what happened in Florida, so it`s in that
context, and here he is groveling before the National Rifle Association and
very transparently changing positions. I don`t think it`s unfair to see if
this really calls into question his character.

SHARPTON: Now, the problem, Erin though, is that the base doesn`t
trust him yet. And he has got to try to get the base, the NRA is a big
part of that base. I mean, when you look at the fact that you have polls
showing that Romney is still beating other Republicans by just a very slim
margin among these groups, Romney`s lead is less than 10 points.
Midwestern Republicans, young Republicans, religious Republicans,
conservative Republicans, he is very narrowly above other Republicans. He
has got to build up some enthusiasm in his base.

ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: He certainly
does, and as you know, he unofficially game the Republican nominee this
week when Rick Santorum got out of the race, and of course, this speech was
scheduled before Rick Santorum got out of the race. So, it is always he
needed to do. You`re right, if you read some of the coverage that`s come
out over the last day with mitt Romney going to this convention, it`s clear
that many of these single issue gun owners and voters rather, don`t seem to
be that enthused by Mitt Romney.

And the other thing that I would point out to you is if you look
toward the general election, when you have these single issue gun voters,
back in 2008, the Obama campaign made a push to get those voters in a
number of states in the Midwest like the Indiana, and will tell you that
because they won the Indiana by targeting a lot of those voters with direct
mail that said there is no daylight between John McCain and Barack Obama on
guns. So, if that`s your only issue, look to something else. And the
Obama campaign is already talking about doing that in states like Ohio, and
Missouri, and other Midwestern states.

SHARPTON: But Bob. You tell me the base, he has been accused -- he
looked silly varmints then, you know he`s been pondering I mean. Look at
what he says and how he`s been I think justified on criticized on both
sides of this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY: This is like a sardine can in here, we`re all nice and
wet. Last night I was in Mississippi by the way and had catfish.

I`m learning to say you all, and I like grits. I like this state, the
trees are the right height, I like seeing the lakes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Suddenly, he just panders and saying things that make him even
look silly. But this is his way of trying to get to this base.

FRANKEN: Well, for those of us that cover politics, he is the gift
that keeps on giving. He really is. A question, by the way, I hate to
admit. I don`t know what a varmint is, but it`s not safe around Mitt
Romney.

(LAUGHTER)

FRANKEN: But here, we have - here we have somebody going to be an NRA
and trying to etch-a-sketch his point about guns an effort to pander to
that constituency. And he combined it, interestingly, with you know,
trying to exploit more the little fisher that`s come up in the Obama
advantage with women. He sometimes appears to be disingenuous which a word
I love. To me, it means sort of borderline liar.

SHARPTON: Right. Well Erin, but beyond the part of this is that he
has got a real kind of delicate balance because he has to go at the base
but not lose the independents. Because if you take a listen to this, he
only used the word gun one time with this. So he is trying to be one of
them, but he`s also not trying to give a lot of sound bites that would hurt
him with independents. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY: We need a president who will enforce current laws, not
create new ones that only serve a burden law for gun owners. President
Obama has not, I will.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The only time he used the word gun in front of the National
Rifle Association.

MCPIKE: It`s a fascinating thing that we will see in the next six
months is a pivot to the general election, and just as we say to CPAC back
in February, I was a severely conservative Republican governor. We
probably won`t see the word Republican or mean even not conservative over
the next few months. He is trying to connect with all kinds of voters, and
he has done that for the last five years. And really, last five years, he
has been running for president.

SHARPTON: Well, when you look at the lack of enthusiastic support,
Bob, among the Republican voters, March of 2012, Romney`s support was 35
percent enthusiastic. In February John McCain was 47 percent enthusiastic.
When your enthusiasm is that low in your base, he`s trying to get his base
up, but at the same time having to watch out for independents, he has a
real, real delicate balance and a hard way to go.

FRANKEN: Well, he does. But I think I want to put a little context
here. The one thing that Republicans are united about is beating Barack
Obama. The Democrats would probably be more enthusiastic if they were
voting against a Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. Mitt Romney is a little
bit more wished he was, he might not really drive up the passions of the
Democratic base. So, I think in that case for Democrats, he is a big
dangerous.

SHARPTON: Well, we better go get varmint.

Bob Franklin and Erin McPike. Thanks for your time tonight and both
of you have a great weekend.

Still ahead, there would be a big chance, and a big change in the
George Zimmerman case. Some develop wants out of Florida today.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back, folks, tea party freshman Allen West has been
dominating headlines with his efforts to bring us back to the cold war.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALLEN WEST (R), I believe there is about 78 to 81 members of the
Democrat Party that are members of the communist party.

No, they actually don`t hide it. It`s called the congressional
progressive caucus.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Communist party? Yes. A U.S. congressman is calling 80 of
his colleagues communist. Three days later, and this is what we`re hearing
from the Republican leadership.

Crickets, nothing, Speaker Boehner is not denouncing this garbage. At
least Boehner is consistent. He has not taken on the birthers either. And
now he is trying to cash in on the comment. He e-mailed his supporters
today writing quote, "I stand by the point of my comments and I need you to
stand with me today by making a contribution of $10 or more".

He is using this to fundraise, wow, the leaders must be speaking out
to denounce this right now, right?

Nope, nope. Crickets again. Nothing, Eric Cantor goes silent. Worse
things the liberal media is targeting him, because he`s not afraid to speak
the truth. Now, we just think it`s really in poor taste. Did the GOP
think we wouldn`t notice their convenient silence on west`s behavior? Nice
try but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. We have some big news
tonight. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Willard Romney released
his taxes from the last 12 years. The "Washington Post" says, quote, "Only
Romney has been willing to talk about in complete candor about his
financial affairs." The polls went on to say also, Governor George Romney
has put all presidential contenders on the spot. Oh, wait, that`s the
wrong Romney. Those articles are from 1967 when Mitt`s father, George,
became the first presidential candidate to released his tax returns.
George Romney set the President, he`s son isn`t following. He only
released one full years return showing he made $21.6 million, but he paid a
tax rate of just 13.9 percent. That`s far below with secretaries, and many
other middle class Americans paying taxes. People who make a lot of money,
who make less money than Mitt Romney are paying a lot more in tax rates.
President Obama wants to change that. He wants the rich to pay more, while
Romney wants then to pay less. The Vice President was on the road Thursday
talking about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: The Romney rule says, let`s
double down on tax cuts for the wealthy. That`s another trillion dollars
in tax cuts over the next ten years going to the top one percent of
American taxpayers. I don`t blame her for crying, she is going to inherit
it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Jared Bernstein, MSNBC contributor and
former chief economist, Vice President Joe Biden, and Maria Teresa Kumar,
executive director of Voto Latino, and also an MSNBC contributor. Thanks
for coming on the show.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, VOTO LATINO: Hi, Al.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Jared, let me start with you, the President released his
new tax returns today. It showed Obama`s paid just over 20 percent taxes
on an income of $790,000. Jared, the White House says, the President`s
plan would make wealthy people like him and Romney pay more, isn`t that
just simply fairness?

BERNSTEIN: I think it is and a lot of people are thinking about the
buffet rule, of course, and even with an income of almost 800,000, you
wouldn`t hit up against the Buffet Rule because that takes in over a
million. If you`re talking about Mitt Romney, you`re talking about an
income that`s well over 20 million. But let`s not forget that the
President is proposing to increase tax rates on folks above $250,000. This
is the sun-setting of the high end Bush tax cut. It should have happened a
while ago. This is a tax cut that expires at the end of this year along
with a bunch of other expirations.

The President has consistently said and it`s in his budget that that
tax rates should go up. And yes, that would being him. I think most
important, Reverend, is you know we`ve got a couple of rich people arguing
here about stuff. I mean, $800,000 puts you way up in the income scale.
The median household income in this country is 50,000 bucks and those folks
are struggling and there`s a lot of people below that who are struggling
too. And they`re asking, what are these guys going to do to really help my
situation and I think that`s the key question here.

SHARPTON: And I think you`re right. Maria, I think he`s hit the nail
on the head by saying, when you`re dealing with the average American,
working, struggling, trying to make ends meet, and they are paying a higher
rate than people making 10, 20 and even more times, their amount of income,
aren`t they more concern about A, what is it means for them? And B, what
is fair to them?

KUMAR: I think you`re absolutely right, what is happening right now
is between the Buffet plan and the Ryan plan is how they see two different
worlds. And President Obama who`s married to the Buffet plan is, you know,
what? I`m making a lot more money than the average American, tax me more.
Whereas, Mitt Romney saying, is very married to the Ryan plan saying, I`m
uber rich, tax me less and let`s tax the poor, so I can actually get off
Scott free. And what we need to have is an honest conversation is that
individuals in this country, when everyday pay taxes, it`s an investment in
our future, an investment in stimulating our education, our infrastructure
and an investment in our innovation and where we`re going in the next 50
years.

The fact that the wealthy who`ve already reaped the benefits of the
hard-work of either free public education or tax cuts don`t want to go head
and reinvest in America. I think that says something about much larger
about where we`re going as a country. And it`s a fair for middle class
Americans to say, you know, what? I pay 35 percent in taxes, and Mitt
Romney and the President pay less than 20, there is something twisted going
on.

SHARPTON: Now, Jared, the point in this and it`s going to be
throughout this election, is really going to come down to people feeling
that it is either fair or unfair. And the part of the Republicans and Mitt
Romney`s defense Jared, has been well, if the wealthy is able to maintain
more money, it translates into jobs, but there`s no way they can tangibly
show that that is the case.

BERNSTEIN: Right, I think what people have to realize is that you can
dress that up any way you want, but at the end of the day that is pure
trickledown economics. It`s supply side trickle down economic, and you
know, one thing that`s pretty rare in economics Reverend, is to have a kind
of a real controlled experiment. We did that big time in the 2000s with
the Bush deregulatory cut taxes at the high end, trickle down supply side
agenda. And what we saw was just about the worst business cycle expansion
for poverty for middle incomes and for job growth. And so we tried that.
Been there done that.

And I think what we were just talking about is particularly germane.
It`s bad enough that you`re talking about supply as I trickled down but at
the same time, if you look at the Ryan budget endorse by Romney, you`re
talking about cutting away the safety net, you`re talking about reducing
the ability of government to actually help people who need help. To
achieve retirement security, to make the kinds of investments that would
help with all of the inequality we have. So, it`s a huge assault on just a
basic, fundamental good economics.

SHARPTON: Now, Maria, let`s look at that Romney plan a minute.
Because under Ryan`s plan which Romney supports, taxes rise for the poor.
Wealthy see massive tax cuts. Now if you`re below $20,000, $193 tax
increase. One million dollars, $265,000 tax cut. So, you`re looking at a
real, real unfair scenario as far as I`m concerned, and that maybe while
poll just came out, when you look at the Buffet plan, most Americans are
supporting the buffet plan. Gallop just came out with a poll saying 60
percent of all voters, 63 of independents support the Buffet plan. So, you
have the Ryan plan that helps the rich, you have the Buffet plan that says
let`s have fairness, that`s the politics, Maria.

KUMAR: That`s absolutely the politics, and what happens is right now,
the last time America was in this deep recession was the great depression.
What do we do is we rolled up our sleeves, we invested infrastructure. We
got Americans working back again. And it was those strategic government
plans that were paid by American taxes that allowed us to create a robust
middle class that we enjoyed for the last 50 years. And if we don`t take a
playbook like that and say, it`s time right now again to ensure that
everybody is paying taxes fairly, every time someone writes a check, it`s
an investment in America and not basically sending it off to offshore
accounts. Then, we`re all of a sudden saying, this is where we`re going in
the next 50 years. And it has to be a strategic investment and it`s
principally, again, they`re seeing the world in two different views, either
the rich gets richer or you distribute the wealth and that`s why President
Obama is saying, you know what, let`s distribute that. Thank you so much
Reverend.

SHARPTON: All right, Maria Teresa Kumar, Jared Bernstein, thank you
for your time, both of you have a great weekend.

BERNSTEIN: You too, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, big developments in George Zimmerman`s case.
His attorney may try to disqualify the judge. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: There could be a twist in the case against George
Zimmerman, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with a new twist in the
Trayvon Martin case. Today, the judge revealed her husband works at the
same law firm as an attorney who just got hired as a TV analyst for this
very case. The potential conflict may lead George Zimmerman`s attorney to
ask for a new judge. It`s just one indication this will be a very dramatic
time leading to trial.

Joining me is Catherine Crier, a former judge, prosecutor, and
journalist. She`s also the author of "Patriot Acts." And John Burris, an
experience criminal defense attorney. Thank you both for your time and for
joining me tonight. Let me start with you, Katherine. Is it significant
that this judge might be forced to step down from the case?

CATHERINE CRIER, FORMER JUDGE: Well, the way you phrased it, yes.
That would be significant issues for us to step-down, although since there
really haven`t been proceedings yet, it`s not that it would be a problem.
But I don`t see that an analyst in her husband`s law firm is a conflict
that would require this judge to recuse herself. Unless you can show some
more influential relationship between the judge and that person or through
the -- of her husband. I don`t think this is a recuse-able circumstance.

SHARPTON: All right. Let me go to you, John. The lawyers have kind
of staked out where they are. You have the special prosecutor, and you
have Mr. O`Mara. Mr. O`Mara marked America`s practice law, almost 30
years. He`s handles high profiled trials, represented serial killer, local
radio celebrity, gang members, known for calm, savvy litigation style. And
almost from the beginning, he`s shown sympathy to the family, he has not
come off as amateur like as his predecessors in handling this case. He has
tried to kind of be cool and calm and respectful. You have on the other
hand the prosecutor who has been very compassionate, raising the pain of
the parents, the loss of life, so we`re seeing their styles and their
playing to potential juries in the public.

JOHN BURRIS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I see that. The
lawyers approach, the defense lawyer approach is a sound one, I think is
highly professional, and what he really needs to do is calm everybody down.
What he really wants to do is to hone in on his particular strategy, keep
all of the distractions away, and make sure everyone stays focused on the
case. It`s appropriate for the prosecution to do what he`s doing. But at
the same time, what the defense wants to say, we got all of this emotion,
we have all this passion, but when you look at these facts on these facts,
you will see that my client has a good self-defense, everyone wants to keep
an open mind towards that and to calm things down. And also to suggest, he
doesn`t have any kind of negativism towards the family, he is really just
doing his professional job as a lawyer, and that`s the approach he`s really
going to take and it`s a good approach.

SHARPTON: Catherine, a lot happening this week, well, how do you see
this week, what do you think we are looking at and what do you predict?

CRIER: Well, I certainly think that we`re going to have to take a
deep breath because both the prosecution and the defense want a little
time, particularly the defense. They obviously need time to prepare but as
O`Mara has said, I want things to simmer down, before I seek, you know, the
bail bond hearing, before we move forward, let it get a little more
dispassionate. He also has been very good about saying there may be real
problems with stand your ground laws, but in fact I believe my client can
avail himself of the law as it stands. So, it`s clear that he`s going to
concede. There could be some problems with the statute, that`s very, very
smart. But at the same time if it applies to my client, that he should be
able to assert that particular defense, wise strategy on his part.

SHARPTON: Well, John, let`s look at what both the Prosecutor Ms.
Corey and what O`Mara said about the possible use of stand your ground.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANGELA COREY, SPECIAL PROSECUTOR: If stand your ground becomes an
issue, we fight. If we believe it`s the right thing to do. So, if it
becomes an issue in this case, we will fight that affirmative defense.

MARK O`MARA, ZIMMERMAN LAWYER: That statute has some troublesome
portions to it and we`re now going to have discussions and conversations
about that as a state, but right now it`s the law of Florida, and the law
that`s going to have impact on this case.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, that`s where both of them are, how do you read that,
John?

BURRIS: Well, what I think what the defense lawyer saying is look,
there is a lot of political -- public discussion about this law now, and it
may get amended, there`s a lot of issues that sometime, it may not have
been applied properly in other places. But in this case he is going to
apply it, make no mistake about it. The mistake here is not about the low
itself, it`s how you apply the facts of this particular case. He has
problems with those facts, he is definitely going to make this approach,
the prosecution knows she`s going to defend this particular issue, and she
thinks it`s going to be successful because of the, you know, the chasing
and all of that. But at the same time, this will be a major element in the
case and more importantly even if they lose, the defense lawyer knows it`s
going to get another bite out of the apple at some later point at the
trial. So, he knows he will going to get two shots of self-defense in this
case.

SHARPTON: Yes. What we saw in the affidavit that was filed by the
prosecution on probable cause, that the road map of where she is going in
terms of the prosecution, one Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle
ensued, Martin was profiled by George Zimmerman and Trayvon`s mother
reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon
Martin`s voice. All of this Catherine would indicate that if in fact, this
is how the prosecution is proceeding that would be problematic to have a
stand your ground defense to these --

CRIER: Absolutely, in a stand your ground defense, you need to be
acting lawfully, and then, you know, someone else an aggressor comes at you
and you fear serious bodily harm or death, and you respond accordingly.
The facts that the prosecution is asserting and we will of course see at
the time of trial, you know, is that in fact, he was the aggressor, he was
threatening Trayvon Martin, Trayvon Martin was the one crying for help, and
so she certainly was confident in pursuing second-degree murder that she
had the facts to support that and we will see as the case unfolds.

SHARPTON: That`s right, we will see, Catherine Crier, John Burris,
thank you both. Thanks to you both and have a nice weekend.

CRIER: You too.

BURRIS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the long road to justice, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, it`s been a remarkable weekend in the
Trayvon Martin story. Forty six days after Trayvon Martin was killed,
George Zimmerman was finally arrested and put behind bars. It`s been a
long road to get there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`re back with disturbing news about a shooting in
Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Tonight, a deadly shooting in Sanford, police have
the gun, they`ve got the shooter, but they have not arrested him.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We don`t have the grounds to arrest him.

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

SHARPTON: The police have now finally released the 911 tapes in the
case.

911 OPERATOR: Are you following him?

GEORGE ZIMMERMAN, TRAYVON`S SHOOTER: Yes.

911 OPERATOR: OK, we don`t need you to do that.

ZIMMERMAN: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Trayvon Martin`s mother and father have not asked
an eye for an eye, they`re just asking for an arrest. Wouldn`t you want
that if that was your child?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I must temporarily remove myself from the position
as police chief for the city of Sanford.

TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON`S FATHER: He died right up the sidewalk here,
he did not deserve to die. He don`t deserve it.

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: You know, if I had a son.
He`d look like Trayvon.

SHARPTON: From the day I heard about the Trayvon Martin case, I made
it very clear that we`re not asking for a conviction, we`re asking for an
arrest.

FULTON: This is not about a black and white thing, this is about a
right and wrong thing.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We`re going to take as much time as we need to
find out every fact and circumstance.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: George was out of breath, he was barely conscious.

SHARPTON: This new tape seems to refute key portions of Zimmerman`s
defense and raises some troubling questions about the police.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: When you look at this videotape, do you think it
backs up your client`s claims or might it contradict them?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I don`t think it does either one, it`s a very
grainy.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We could see no physical signs like there had been
a scuffle or a fight.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The lead investigator from the Sanford Police
Department stood in my family room and told me this was absolutely not
self-defense and they needed to prove it.

SHARPTON: NBC News can report two agents from the special
prosecutor`s office are canvassing the Twin Lakes retreat area where
Trayvon was shot right now.

Breaking news tonight, George Zimmerman`s defense team quits.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: At this point, we`re withdrawing his counsel.

SHARPTON: There`s now just one person in the world with the power to
arrest George Zimmerman and that`s Angela Corey.

COREY: Today we filed an information charging George Zimmerman with
murder in the second degree. A Capias had been issued for his arrest.
With the filing of that information and the issuance of the Capias, he will
have the right to appear in front of the magistrate in Seminole County,
within 24 hours of his arrest, and does formal prosecution will begin.

FULTON: First of all, I want to say thank God.

COREY: We only know one category as prosecutors and that`s a V, it`s
not a B, it`s not a W, it`s not an H, it`s V for victim, that`s who we work
tirelessly for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: When I first was called by the lawyer and family and many
of us in the civil rights community and Michael Baisden and others
mobilized, we wanted an arrest. We felt that this young man`s life was
worth something and his family should have answers. This week we got that
arrest. A lot of people have a lot to say, now, let the system move
forward. We`ll make sure it`s fair, but we couldn`t do that until the
process began.

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

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

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