PoliticsNation, Monday, April 16, 2012
Read the transcript from the Monday show
Guests: Chris Hayes; Steve Kornacki, Erin McPike; Karen Bass; Sherrod Brown, Michael Isikoff, Danny
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation," I`m
Tonight`s lead, Mitt Romney found himself a quiet room where he could
say what he really thinks about government, fairness, and mothers. Willard
had an exclusive fundraiser last night in Palm Beach, Florida. No
reporters were allowed but the speakers could be clearly heard out on the
public street. So, Romney speech is now public, too.
For example, his candid response to comments about the stay-at-home
mothers made by liberal TV pundit, he called that comment of quote "gift"
to the campaign. And his wife, Ann, said quote, "it was an early birthday
present for someone to be critical of me being a mother, and that was
really a defining moment and I loved it."
A gift. A birthday present. That doesn`t match the outrage we saw
last week. And our colleagues in "Up with Chris Hayes" uncovered video
from Romney a few years ago showing he has a different view of nonworking
moms if they`re poor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, UP WITH CHRIS HAYES: Just three months
before, he said stay at home moms are working mom, all moms are working
moms. He said he wants to make stay-at-home parent s on kids as young as
two, mom or dad, quote "go to work" so they can have quote, "have the
dignity of work."
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I said for instance that
even if you have a child, two years of age, you need to go to work. And
people said well, that`s heartless. And I said no, no. I`m willing to
spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It
will cost the state more providing that day care, but I want the
individuals to have the dignity of work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So Romney thinks stay at home moms are working moms unless
they`re on welfare, in which case they don`t have dignity. That`s curious
logic. He writes something similar in his book saying quote "welfare
without work erodes the spirit and sense of self-worth of the recipient.
And it conditions the children of nonworking parents to be indolent and
unproductive in life."
Indolent. Kids raised on welfare are doomed to be lazy? Meanwhile,
today Romney launched back into his bogus claims about how hard women have
been hit by the recession.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: Ninety two percent, 93 percent of the jobs lost have been
lost by women during in this president`s term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This claims that been debunked repeatedly for twisting the
numbers. But Willard has never been wanted to let facts get in the way of
some good spin.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat from California.
Also with me is Chris Hayes, host of "Up with Chris Hayes."
Thank you both for your time tonight.
REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you for having us on.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman Bass, let me start with you. What`s your
response to Romney`s double standard on nonworking moms?
BASS: Well. First of all, I think it`s very interesting, him talking
about it being a gift. It`s almost as though the continued exploitation of
women is a gift to him. I think it`s just another example where Romney has
no clues how average people live, how working people live and especially
how poor families have to survive in tough economic times.
And so, people on and off public assistant tend to be because they
lost a job, or because they lost their health care, or because one of their
children was sick. That`s why they end up being without employment.
It`s as though people with tough economic times don`t know how to
work. The fact of the matter is people who have tough economic times work
harder than most other folks he is talking about.
SHARPTON: Now, now, now. Chris, I think this tape that you uncovered
I think really takes this argument somewhere serious. And really flips
this in terms of where some of the Romney supporters are saying. Because
they were outraged that the inference, they claimed, the inference was that
women at home working are not working. But Romney`s position is that women
at home not working that on welfare is something to be dismissed and
implied today as lazy.
HAYES: They lack the dignity of work, right.
HAYES: I mean, the point is that they always --
SHARPTON: I mean. You can`t have it both ways.
HAYES: You can`t have it both ways. And the point is that - first of
all, let`s remember this is not a random cable pundit. This is Mitt
Romney, himself, talking about this.
HAYES: And this isn`t him opining on an issue today. This is
actually policy he supported. This double standard we have in the way that
we conceive of what counts as work, right? That double standard actually
plays out in the policy level in terms of how to we treat women at the
bottom of the scale and at the top. And what happen last week was
everybody understood the context of the initial comment that set off this
big outrage, they just wanted to pretend they didn`t understand.
SHARPTON: No. But, what I don`t think is that, he is, I think what
is so profound about you finding this tape, is that it`s not that he
supported it, he advocating it. This is him saying.
SHARPTON: And Congresswoman Bass, this is not a pundit. This is not
somebody not connected to Romney officially, not somebody now with RNC or
his campaign, this is him. And he is basically saying that if you`re a
working mom -- I mean a nonworking mom but you have money, it`s a hard
thing to raise kids. It`s a full time job.
SHARPTON: But if you`re on welfare, it`s not a hard thing. It is not
a full-time job.
BASS: Exactly, and you must, you know, whether you`re working on a
job or working at home, work should always be respected and valued. And as
a working mother, I know how difficult that is. And so, a job inside a
home or outside a home is still work. And you can`t say that it`s only
valid when you`re wealthy.
And it`s interesting because some of the working women that he is
referring to, people who have worked hard all throughout their life, and
they might have hit a tough time. And so, they might not have the two jobs
which is the job outside of the house and the job inside of the house
temporarily. But they should certainly not be disrespected and that`s what
SHARPTON: Now, Chris. Romney`s adviser, Ed Gillespie, tried to claim
on FOX News Sunday that defunding Planned Parenthood isn`t really defunding
Planned Parenthood. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED GILLESPIE, MITT ROMNEY`S ADVISER: Defunding from a federal budget
perspective, Planned Parenthood is not the same thing. It`s not fair to
say that not having funding for Planned Parenthood is defunding Planned
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And in English --
HAYES: Clearly, it is not the case that he could as the president`s
just get rid of a private charity, right? I mean. He could not entirely
defund it. What he could was advocate through cut it off from federal
dollars which would have a significant budgetary impact for the
organization. That`s all he - that is the totality of what is within his
power. And he is advocating the maximum use of that power, right?
SHARPTON: But what they`re really doing is trying to back away from
some of the anti-women position.
HAYES: Well. They hate that clip that keeps getting play where he
says Planned parenthood, were are going to get rid of that. And the reason
is Republicans thought that they could turn Planned Parenthood into the New
HAYES: They thought they can turn them into this, this scary boogie
man or boogie woman, right, that they could run against. And what they and
what they can get - they had to learn time and time and time again, over
the past year particularly, is that people think fondly of Planned
Parenthood because it plays a crucial role in delivering health services to
women all over this country, right? And they cannot make it out into this
terrifying monster that there been slay and so now they have to walk away
SHARPTON: Well. Congresswoman Bass, he has a lot more he has going
to have to try to spin his way out because part of what Romney`s attempt to
deflect the what he has stood for, he supports personhood which would then
abortion and a hormonal birth control. He wants to defund Planned
Parenthood as we just said. And he supports the Ryan budget which slashes
discretion in spending that women rely on. So he has a lot to walk back
And now, thanks to my friend and brother, Chris Hayes, he has to
explain how he is really talking about a certain class of women working at
home apparently, because if we go by this tape, he doesn`t share the same
feeling for women maybe raising three, four, or five kids, whatever the
number, at home. So, he has a got a lot of walking back to do,
BASS: Well, exactly. But, you know, I mean. He is consistent. You
have to give that to him. Whether you were talking about attacking poor
women, whether you are talking about he wants to get rid of hood, housing
and development. He`s talking about cutting back or getting rid of the
department of education.
The class attack I think is very consistent. It just happened to play
out on women this week. But again, to say that a poor woman at home is not
working, but a wealthy woman who is home taking care of her kids, well,
that is work. We value the work of the wealthy. We do not value the work
of people who are low income.
SHARPTON: And Chris, we had, as I said at this fundraiser last night
that could hear out in the street what he was saying. He said that he
would - when he was question about hood, that it may not be the there
anymore. He said other things. He also talked about needing to reach a
broader audience than FOX News. He said, and I`m quoting. He said "his
campaign was well covered by FOX News; but that FOX was watched by quote
"true believers" and that he knew he had to reach out to a broad audience
in order to win over independents and women voters that will decide the
election in November." Does Rogers (INAUDIBLE) know that -- that women and
independents don`t watch FOX? So, that`s just the home crowd. I have to
talk to the broad America. I can`t talk to FOX if I want to talk to women
HAYES: And I know. I speak for both us. I would say, each of us
would be only too delighted to have the former governor --
SHARPTON: I would cancel all of my guests.
HAYES: We could do it for two full hours on a Saturday or Sunday.
But - I mean. That shows -- that`s an obvious fact, right? But it shows
that he absolutely heinous campaign absolutely understand, that they have
dug themselves a hole. They absolutely dug himself a hole in running this
primary. And the new CNN polling out today that shows a huge gender gap
that are still there, that troubles them. They are not idiot. They
understand that in order to win the election, they have to outperform John
McCain among women and outperform on Latinos, otherwise, it`s not going to
happen. And they are looking at the polling right now coming out of this
primary and they understand. They have an uphill battle against those
BASS: I`m sure if either of you had him on again, it would be a etch-
a-sketch moment because he would say whatever it was going to do to benefit
of course particular audience. We know this about Romney.
SHARPTON: Mr. Romney, go on any night you want. I`ll give you the
whole hour. I`ll only ask three questions, I want you to just be able to
talk. I want to get call you Willard.
Congresswoman Bass and Chris Hayes, thank you for your time.
HAYES: Thank you, rev.
BASS: Thanks for having us on.
SHARPTON: And of course, you can catch up with Chris Hayes weekends
from 8 a.m. to 10:00 Eastern time.
Coming up, we go back into the quiet room to see what Willard says to
his rich buddies when he thinks we are not listening, turns out he has got
some bad plans for some government program.
Plus, new details about and new details at the secret service sex
scandal. Allegations of prostitution and misbehavior from the men who are
supposedly protecting the president.
And my interview with Trayvon Martin`s parents, talking about today`s
big news that could shape the trial of their son`s killer.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Governor Romney`s talk to rich donors caught on tape.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are there no fair questions about the
distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy though?
ROMNEY: I think its fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Remember that? Willard Romney saying we should save talk
about inequality in quiet rooms. Well, it turns out he has been doing a
lot of talking in those quiet rooms. Rooms like the close door big money
Palm Beach fundraiser he held last night. He was feeling right at home
among fellow, one percenters. He went - he was so far from quiet. He went
down right into the world of being candid. Little did he know, reporters
could hear him talk openly about his expanding this nation`s inequality.
On the department of education he said quote, "I will either
consolidate it with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot
smaller." Housing and urban development are the problems Romney own father
used to hear though. Quote, "might not be around later." That means 4.5
million of the nation`s poorest families will lose rent subsidies.
These are Willard`s choices. Trillions in tax rates for the rich,
while slashing vital programs for the poor. This won`t be popular and he
knows it. In a campaign call today, his people said quote, "Romney was
just discussing ideas that came up on the campaign trail. He wasn`t
announcing a policy yesterday." I guess it`s time to find a more quiet
Joining me now is Steve Kornacki, political writer of salon.com and
MSNBC contributor, and Erin McPike, reporter for "the Real Clear Politics."
Thank you both for joining and coming on the show tonight.
Steve, let me start with you. What do you make of these comments?
STEVE KORNACKI, POLITICAL WRITER, SALON.COM: Look, couple of things.
First of all, this really plays tight for Romney when you talk about - it`s
extent there`s a crisis and I think he likely to stick, you know, through
the ball campaigning. He is particularly vulnerable. It`s that as
politicians go, he is unusually driven by calculation. That what you see
is not necessary what you are going to get. There is no core to this guy.
And this is the kind of anecdote that can be sort of repeated, it can be
brought up through the rest of the campaign.
Every time he makes them that statement, every time he questions
whether, you know, questions of a liability of President Obama, this is the
sort of thing that can be brought up and hurt him. But, you know, I think
more broadly to this speaks to the nature of the campaign that Romney wants
to run. He is designed to be the generic Republican candidate. The guy
who says as little, you know, in terms of substance as possible. The guy
who says vague as possible, and the guy who gets by and gets him into
office, hopefully if you are Republican solely because people want to get
rid of President Obama. Basically, he let this election from the
Republican stand point hinge on the desire of the public to get Obama out
of office, and do as little and do as little as possible to dismayed them
measuring the election on those terms.
SHARPTON: Now, Erin. Even though those some of Romney`s, you know,
has outlined some cuts. He was short on specifics in many areas. Let me
show you. Quote, he says "I`m going to take a lot of departments in
Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate. But I`m
probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go."
Now, is he being vague on purpose, Erin, because he knows how damaging
it would be to outline massive cuts?
ERIN MCPIKE, REPORTER, THE REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Yes, can and Romney
himself said he does not want to lay out specifics because not all voters
like certain specifics. Now, I would say that I`m a little surprised that
he said he would want to eliminate hood entirely. It`s a very important
agency and not one that we hear people talk about eliminating.
But the ore thing I would point out say that even lots of mainstream
Republicans think that trying to eliminate any federal agency does not make
sense and they should stop talking about doing that. You know, so, it was
just surprising comment for him to make - to be quite frank about it.
An in addition to that, the Obama administration is already beginning
to consolidate agencies. They launched a couple programs to do that
already in this past year.
SHARPTON: Now Steve, he said that the president is -- he accused
President Obama to play hide and seek on issues and of being dodgy. Let me
show you this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: He wants us to re-elect him so we can find out what he will
actually do. With all of the challenges the nation face books, this is not
the time for President Obama`s hide and seek campaign. Unlike President
Obama, you don`t have to wait until after the election to find out what I
believe or what my plans are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now. He won`t tell us what agencies he`s going to combine.
He won`t tell us what agencies he is going to cut, but we don`t have to
wait for the election. We can`t get him to release his tax forms. I mean,
what -- he called the president dodgy and playing hide and goes seek?
KORNACKI: Right. There goes that talking point right there. I don`t
think we are going to be hearing the President Obama hide and seek
criticism from Romney anymore. But again, I think he gets to the strategy
that his campaign has been using. Some people call this sort of the rubber
and glue approach. Of course, you know, whatever I say bounces on his -
passes on me and stick to you.
He takes his vulnerability and he projects it on to Obama. So, you
know, the criticism of Romney alone has been, this guy is not leveling with
the American people. So he tried that on Obama. The criticism of Romney
and the Republican Party was, you know, war on women. So he tried last
week to turn that on Obama. That is basically the strategy these guys are
going to use, and when it comes down to is they do not want this election
to fundamentally be about Mitt Romney, about what`s he`s proposing about
what he say. They want him to say and propose as vague as possible so the
agenda so this election can rest squarely on, in their minds, hopefully the
economy is bad enough, that people just wanted to get rid of the incumbent.
And they do not want to mess with that sentiment.
SHARPTON: But Erin. He has been a little sore of himself because he
said during the interview with Diane Sawyer at ABC today. He said the
president should quote, "start packing." Let me show you this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DIANE SAWYER, ABC NEWS ANCHOR: As it beginning toward November, what
would each of you to president and Mrs. Obama?
ROMNEY: Well, start packing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Start packing, his wife says it`s their turn. They`re
getting a little confident, don`t you think?
MCPIKE: You know, that is just a standard political line. And of
course, a lot of Republican aren`t yet enthused about Mitt Romney. They
don`t think he has that good of a chance to take out an incumbent
president, and so that`s just a standard political line to try to get them
SHARPTON: Well, the reason why I suspect, Erin is right because if
you look at his unfavorabilities, I mean, Romney`s unfavorability is way
higher than previous presidential candidates at this same point in the
race. So, it`s a little early for him to be so cocky.
In 2004, Kerry had 53 percent favor rating right now verses 36 percent
unfavorable. 2008, McCain had 55 percent favorable versus 36 percent.
Similar number for President Obama, he had a 56 favorable rating versus 38
But look at Romney. He has just a 37 percent favorable rating versus
a 49 percent unfavorable rating at this point.
I mean, Steve, start packing? What does he do to turn this
unfavorable rating around?
KORNACKI: Well, and those numbers tell a few things, is there`s look.
Romney`s personal unfavorable number is alarmingly high. The unfavorable
number of the Republican Party is alarmingly high. This is as unpopular as
the Republican Party has been since the Clinton impeachment in 1998, 1999.
KORNACKI: And you look at the comments, look at how generic as we see
from this sort of secret encounter in Florida, how generic Romney is
determine to be. When his party is that unpopular, when he is that
unpopular and he is trying to be vague and generic, it raises the question.
He has to do something, I think at some point in this campaign to really
stand out individually in a way that makes a favorable, positive, unique
impression on swing voters who right now do not like him and do not want
his party. Those numbers are suggesting to me that, you know, if this is
sort of a toss-up race, the economy is not good enough to guarantee Obama`s
re-election, not bad enough guarantee he loses. Romney is got to do
something to make people like him under that, you know, circumstances.
SHARPTON: And Erin. You say on top of the fact that he has got
problems with independents, problems with moderate voters, problems with
women that the base is still not fired up. I mean, you traveled with him.
You covered him throughout this whole campaign, so you know the base is not
fired up, is that what you`re saying?
MCPIKE: A lot of the base isn`t fired up, and you see that in some of
the things Romney has to continue to do. The campaign is not yet quite
ready to pivot to the general election, and that`s part of the reason they
keep hiding things from us, if you will. They`re not ready to go full
speed ahead into a general election issues because they thought they are
the shore up that base.
SHARPTON: Great, great, thank you. Great job both of you in getting
this and putting focus on this.
Steve Kornacki and Erin McPike, thank you for joining us tonight.
SHARPTON: Ahead, the secret service prostitution scandal erupts. The
list of people involved is growing. We`ll get reaction from a top former
And the case against George Zimmerman just took a turn, big news out
of Florida today. Trayvon martin`s parents joins us ahead.
SHARPTON: We`re back with breaking news. You`re looking at a live
picture of the Senate floor where they voting right now on the Buffet rule
which would require people earning a million dollars a year to pay at least
30 percent in taxes.
The Senate vote has been under way for more than 20 minutes.
Republicans are in the minority against this, but are expected to
filibuster the bill and block it.
Joining me now is Senator Sherrod Brown, a democrat from Ohio.
Senator Brown. Thanks for coming on the show tonight.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back, thanks.
SHARPTON: Senator. You and your colleagues just voted on the Buffet
rule. It would require a tax rate of 30 percent for people earning $1
million or more which is about 210,000 people. It would create $47 billion
in revenue over 10 years. Isn`t this a good thing for our recovering
economy should the rich pay their fair share?
BROWN: Yes. It`s a good thing for a lot of reasons, it`s a good
thing because it`s fair. That when, you know, when the middle class public
paying pretty high taxes, are in a position where they`re seeing hedge fund
managers paying 15 percent, some people billionaires paying at that 15
percent tax rate on their hedge fund profits, it`s just something that
went, you know, this is billions of dollars that will go to deficit
reduction, it`s billion of dollars that will have to cut spending other
programs that matter to families. Pell Grants, all kinds of health and
education programs, and it`s just something that Congress we should have
done a long time ago. And I hear the same kind of call. John Boehner
calls a gimmick, John Kyle just goes to the Senate floor and says that`s
just playing politics. Well, it`s the right thing to do. It happens to be
politically popular, yes, because it is the right thing to do.
SHARPTON: But you said deficit reduction, but they claim to be all
about deficit reduction, how do they claim to warrant deficit reduction,
yet, turn down these kinds of revenues that could be committed toward
getting us close to that?
BROWN: Well, they I think, history shows they don`t really care about
deficit reduction. Ten years ago, or 11 years ago, 12 years ago and
President Bush, we had the largest budget surplus in American history.
Eight years later, we had the largest budget deficit when President Obama
took office. The Ryan Buffett that they tramp in all the time, will
generally try to do very little to bring the deficit down. Some estimate
says, it would make the deficit go up. So, they`re interested in the end
in protecting the wealthiest people in this country. Continuing to give
them tax cuts and continuing to give them tax breaks and tax -- whether
it`s the oil industry, whether it`s hedge fund operators, whether it`s
billionaires tax payers. That seems to be where they go.
And if they really cared about deficit reduction, they would do things
like jobs programs, that means the highway bill, it means passing my
legislation on China currency which will cause the treasury zero but will
level the playing field, put millions of people back to work and stop China
from gaming the currency system and gaming the world trade system, and that
will bring you in tax revenues because we`ll have so many people back to
work. So, if they were really concerned about deficit reduction and not
just tax breaks to the rich, they do all of these other things in addition
to the Buffett Rule.
SHARPTON: But they`re going after it pretty harshly. Senator Mitch
McConnell today on the House floor really went after President Obama and
the Buffet Rule, let me show you what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: By wasting so much time on
this political gimmick that even Democrats admit won`t solve our larger
problems, it shown the President is actually more interesting in misleading
people than it is in leading. For him it`s not about jobs or the economy.
It`s about his idea of fairness. About imposing it on others. And if we
lose more jobs in the process, oh well, so be it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Political gimmick, this kind of fairness? I mean, Senator,
how does this play to your voters back here in Ohio, you`re doing with
voters this year, how does this play to your voters?
BROWN: Well, nobody buy that`s it`s a gimmick. The American people,
something like two to one, support the Buffet Rule. Support making the
richest people in the society who have done very well in the last ten
years, while the middle class, the broad middle class and working class
voters, by in large have had no raise. They`ve had stagnant wages. And
this just brings some fairness to this. And for Mitch McConnell to say
it`s a gimmick for him to say, we`re wasting time, remember, this is the
same man that two years ago, whenever it was, a couple of years ago, Mitch
McConnell said, his number one political goal is to defeat Barack Obama.
He has done nothing to cooperate, almost nothing to cooperate on job
creation, almost nothing to cooperate on tax fairness, almost nothing to
stand up to the oil industry on gas prices and on the subsidies they get,
and we have this kind of gridlock because he won`t work with the president
and he won`t work with people in both parties to get this done right.
SHARPTON: Senator Sherrod Brown, thanks for your time tonight.
BROWN: Thank you very much Al Sharpton. Ahead, scandal at the secret
service is growing, what will be its impact? That`s next.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION, the secret service is
reeling from a sex scandal that erupted over the weekend ahead of President
Obama`s trip to Columbia. Today we`re learning as many as 20 agents and
military personnel were involved. We do know 11 agents were put on
administrative leave and we`re sent home before the President arrived. And
today, the top secret security clearances of all 11 agents were revoked.
The President called for a thorough and rigorous investigation, and said if
true, he would be angry.
Joining me now is Michael Isikoff, national investigative
correspondent for NBC News, and Danny Spriggs, former deputy director of
the Secret Service who worked for the agency for nearly 30 years. He`s now
vice president of Global Security for the Associative Press. Thank you
both for being here tonight.
MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS NATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Thank
you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Let me start with you, Michael, can you explain the
scandal? I mean, how did it start and what`s the status now?
ISIKOFF: Well, there`s a lot of unanswered questions, and a lot of
this is going to depend on how the investigation plays out. But we do know
this that apparently, at least 20 people, both secret service and military
are alleged to have brought back a prostitutes in Cartagena to their hotel
room at the hotel Caribe. They`re apparently was a dispute between one of
the counter assault team agents and a prostitute about whether she had been
paid or not or whether she was supposed to have been paid. The prostitute
complained to the hotel, the reported this to the U.S. embassy, and the
U.S. embassy reported it to the secret service. What makes this so.
SHARPTON: So all 20 allegedly were engaged in some kind of direct
involvement with the prostitute.
ISIKOFF: That`s the allegation, not the same prostitute, by the way,
separate prostitutes. But what we do know is at least two secret service
supervisors, three members of the counter assault team. That`s the elite
team that you`ll see in presidential motorcades, part of the wearing black
commando outfits that are there to repeal any potential attack on a
presidential motorcade, and three members of the counter sniper teams. The
folks you see on top of buildings with rifles scouting for any potential
threats. The counter assault team members are secret service agents, law
enforcement agents, they`re not just members of the uniformed device. So
while the secret service has said that this is not just -- that none of
those involved were members of the President`s protective detail, these are
people with highly sensitive information, they all had access to the
President`s daily minute by minute schedule, and the concern is that they
could have been subject to blackmail or if any of the prostitutes got
access to that schedule, they could have given it to a foreign intelligence
service, drug cartel or even a terrorists group.
SHARPTON: Now, this is stunning, Danny, because even though none of
them were directly with the President`s direct protection, these are senior
guys with very sensitive minute by minute information that as Michael said,
could have been compromised anywhere from black male. I mean, you were
with the agency 30 years, how do you react to this? These are big guys in
DANNY SPRIGGS, FORMER SECRET SERVICE DEPUTY DIRECTOR: Well, let me
just say that first of all it`s not important to distinguish the different
responsibilities of the agency. It`s one agency that with many divisions
and the uniform division is very much a part of the special agent division.
And therefore, it`s not really important to distinguish the two. Yes,
these are senior, well trained highly educated agents who appear to have
exercised some poor judgment in their responsibility as for as professional
conduct. We`ll emphasize though that there is a comprehensive
investigation taking place as we speak. The director has demonstrated as
in the past his willingness to make sure that those agents, as well as all
of the secret service employees operate at a very high standard and with
professional conduct second to none.
SHARPTON: Now, I know that they were all there before the President`s
arrival, just so viewers and I can understand, what would they be doing
before the President? What kinds of things do people in the agency go in
and do at their level before the arrival of the President?
SPRIGGS: Well, first of all, you have an advanced team that`s going
to be working closely with law enforcement in that particular area here.
And we`re talking about Cartagena, Columbia, so the advance team is there
way in advance. What we`re seeing here now of the personnel that was there
under this scrutiny is a support entity to the agents coming in off of Air
Force One. Those agents are then making surveys of their different
responsibilities, as well as getting the lay of the land, making sure
they`re introduced to their various conducts. Let me say this though in
that regard, these agents are there to support those agents coming off of
Air Force One.
The information that`s available to them often times is not really
divulged in detail until the day of the visit doing briefings and what not.
So, those agents don`t necessarily know all the details. Yes, they know
the itinerary, they know the purpose by which they are there, but they
don`t always necessarily know all of the details surrounding the security
plan that the advanced team has put together. So to say that that
information might be compromised might be a stretch. I think the
investigation will reveal whether or not that information, whether agents
and officers actually had written information relative to the overall
security plan and that`s up for discussion.
SHARPTON: Michael, has anything like this ever happened before? And
how do you react to saying that it`s a stretch to say it could have been
compromised. I mean, even if they didn`t know the details that day, it
doesn`t involve being compromised.
ISIKOFF: Well, look, first of all, the people I`ve talked to today
can`t remember anything analogues in the secret service involving this many
people in this kind of compromise. And it`s important to remember that the
secret service is all about planning for every possible contingency.
That`s what the secret service does. To maximize protection for the
President, and eliminate any possible threat, any possible compromise. So
to say that, you know, the agents engage in this activity didn`t
necessarily compromise or might not have gotten, you know, had all of the
information is really not the kind of answer I think anybody senior in the
secret service would want to hear at this point. It`s anything potential
that could go wrong, that could lead to a compromise in presidential
security. And certainly the scenarios that we have been given today, and
the fact is that they did have advanced hard copies of the President`s
itinerary, that would be the kind of information, it`s not public that
nobody in the secret service would want anybody to possibly have access to.
SHARPTON: Well, that`s amazing if they had a hard copy of the
schedule. But I won`t have to live it there. Michael Isikoff and Danny
Spriggs, thank you for your time tonight.
Still ahead, Trayvon Martin`s parents join me to talk about some big
news today that could reshape the trial of their son`s killer. But first,
Mitt Romney has got a problem with Latino voters, and his friends in the
GOP aren`t helping, stay with us.
SHARPTON: Breaking news, the Senate Republicans had just blocked the
Buffet Rule. They have blocked the Buffet Rule, live.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION, Republicans are struggling
to win over Latino voters in this election, and even Mitt Romney knows it.
At a fundraiser this weekend, Willard said, quote, "We have to get Hispanic
voters to vote for our party. He also said, recent polling of Hispanics
quote, "spells doom for us." He is right, a FOX News Latino poll found
Hispanic voters prefer President Obama over Romney by more than 50 points.
These voters have clearly been watching Willard on the campaign trail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So, if you don`t deport them, how do you send them
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, the answer is self-
deportation which is people decide that they can do better by going home
because they can`t find work here, because they don`t have legal
documentation to work here. I think you see a model here in Arizona.
If I were elected and Congress were to pass the dream act, would I
veto it? And the answer is yes.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And Willard`s mistakes are giving Democrats new
opportunities. In fact, "The New York Times" says, President Obama`s
campaign is hoping the Hispanic votes will turn solidly red Arizona into a
swing state. But the biggest slip up may have come from the National
Republic Congressional Committee. "The Huffington Post" reports the NRCC
put together a list of 27 Latino Republicans running for Congress. The
only problem is, they`re not all Latino, they`re not even all Republicans.
Two of the candidates the republican committee found say, they`re not
Latino. And one candidate isn`t even a registered republican. How can
Republicans think they could win over the Latino vote if they can`t even
figure out who the Latinos are, nice try guys, but we got you.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION, today in a Florida court,
George Zimmerman`s lawyer filed papers to remove the judge. Mark O`Mara
pointed to a potential conflict involving the judge`s husband`s law firm.
Could it change the landscape of the case? Earlier, I sat down with
Trayvon Martin`s parents, Tracy Martin, Sybrina Fulton and their lawyer
Benjamin Crump today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Let me start with you Attorney Crump, what do you make of
the motion to remove the judge?
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: You know, it`s fascinating
that they would make that motion especially when the state attorney saying,
they have no quorum with it, it seems like it would be beneficial to the
defense if the judge stayed on the case, being her husband is married to
Mark Lee James who has some relationship with other defense lawyers O`Mara.
But for whatever reason, they`re making a motion to get her off, we think
she`s qualified, the state attorney think she`s qualified, and most
importantly Reverend Sharpton, she is accountable to the people. We don`t
want a retired judge on this matter, we want a judge who has to be elected
so she will be accountable to the voters.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you as well as Sybrina and Tracy. The lawyer
has been saying the trial might not happen until next year. Do you think
they`re trying to stall? And hoping that a lot of the attention would go
and is part of trying to remove the judge, part of a stalling tactic to run
the clock so to speak?
CRUMP: You know, I would hope as officers of the courtroom, there
weren`t be any delay tactics here because justice delayed, and justice
denied. And we had to wait so long just to get to first base. You know,
so we pray that`s not the case. But we`ll see. It should not take any
longer than any other trial.
SHARPTON: Are you concerned how would it affect you all if they keep
-- if they try rather to delay this into next year?
TRACY MARTIN, TRAYVON MARTIN`S FATHER: I think it`s been delayed long
enough especially with the arrest coming 40 plus days after the crime was
committed. And it just goes to show further that, you know, it`s a fight
just trying to get justice.
SHARPTON: What do you think Sybrina?
SYBRINA FULTON, TRAYVON MARTIN`S MOTHER: I think there may be a
possibility that they`re trying to delay it but we will going to be
steadfast and we`ll going to continue to support the cause.
SHARPTON: One of the things I thought about last week, we hadn`t seen
each other since the day they`re not convincing whether they announced the
arrest, it`s amazing when I first met you all, we were trying to get the
case out on the attention. Now the whole world is watching this case, and
he is charged with attempted murder. This has been a great journey for you
all. How has life changed for you? How have you been handling this?
FULTON: It just gives us a little more peace to know that the person
that shot and killed our son has been arrested and will be held accountable
for what he has done. We can`t stop right now. We have to keep pushing
forward for justice. It`s not over just because he has the arrest, we
still have to go for the trial.
MARTIN: I think ever since the rest it put our hearts at ease knowing
he was off of the streets. But still, there`s still a long drawn out
process. So we`re going to continue to stay in the trenches.
SHARPTON: Are you satisfied so far with how the process has begun
working since the arrest?
FULTON: Yes, we`re satisfied.
MARTIN: Pretty much. Yes.
SHARPTON: And there has been some push back, people saying ugly
thinks about Trayvon or you all. Even some of us that support you all.
But you have handled that with real cool and calm having responded.
FULTON: What we see those things as a distraction, we have to stay
focused on what we are doing which is justice for Trayvon. We can`t worry,
be concern with those things because it will take our focus off of what we
need to be focused on.
SHARPTON: I think you`re right, I even saw where Bill O`Reilly said
to Sybrina should he -- not asked me to apologize, I don`t know what else I
suppose to apologize for. Because all we asked for was an arrest, and we
emphasized that every rally peace and we don`t want any problems. But, you
know, Bill and I go to dinner all the time, we have a relationship, I don`t
know why he didn`t just call me, let`s go to dinner and talk about it. So
Bill, you need to come on the show, we`ll talk about it or let`s go to
dinner, don`t play to your crowd like we don`t get along, you know, you
have dinner with me uptown. You`ve heard O`Mara now, the defense attorney
talk, do you feel we can get a conviction, that in this case, that there
will be a conviction?
CRUMP: I believe in my heart that based on all of the evidence, that
George Zimmerman will be convicted for killing Trayvon Martin. And what
those charges, he will be convicted of, we have to wait and see but we
believe there`s enough evidence there for him to be convicted.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you this Tracy and Sybrina, and I`ve seen you
all steadfast with your faith, throughout all of this, and I think from the
National Civil Rights Groups and all, I was first one to come in, and so I
can say, I`ve seen through all of it, you`ve called for peace, you`ve
called for calm, and we joined you in that. No matter what the outcome of
this, is that going to still be what you call from, peace and calm?
FULTON: Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: And you`re committed from the beginning no matter where it
goes, that`s where will going to do.
MARTIN: From the beginning, actual peace and calm.
SHARPTON: No matter what.
MARTIN: .until the end.
SHARPTON: Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin and Ben Crump, thanks for your
FULTON: Thank you.
CRUMP: Thank you Reverend Sharpton.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
There can but different views and different opinions on this case, but
let`s not distort what we`re saying and what the family is saying. Let`s
all do it civilly and let us all do it with proper calm and peace.
Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton, "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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