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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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Guests: Ed Rendell, Mark McKinnon; Cynthia Tucker; Charniele Herring, David Axelrod, Viviette Applewhite, Judith Browne-Dianis


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

Tonight`s lead, gone but Newt forgotten. Newt Gingrich`s presidential
campaign ended today. What a long strange trip it`s been. From his
million dollar line of credit at tiffany`s to summing himself on the Greek
Island to get and bitten by penguin. Newt Gingrich brought to the
Republican race that needle something extra.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Today, I`m
suspending the campaign, but that does not mean suspending citizenship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, that`s a relief. You`re right not to suspend your
citizenship. We all go the citizens of this country could have done
without your ugly rhetoric on the campaign trail, the same rhetoric that
set you skyrocketing in the GOP primary.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: Most of the schools ought to get rid of the unionized
janitor, have one master janitor, and pay low cost students to take care of
the school.

Really poor children in really poor neighbors have no habits of
working. And have nobody around them who works.

We know that President Obama is the best food stamp president in
American history.

I`m not going to compete with Obama singing because I`m not running
for entertainer and chief. But, I`m running for president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Entertainer and chief? Poor kids have no habits of
working? That`s strange. I don`t remember you using that kind language
when we toured on education in 2009. But, then again, at that point, we
were doing it for the kids. This election you were doing it for the GOP
votes, and there is nothing primary voters love more than when you play to
the crowd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN KING, CNN HOST, JOHN KING USA: She said you asked her, sir, to
enter into an open marriage, would you like to take some time to respond to
that?

GINGRICH: No, but I will.

(APPLAUSE)

GINGRICH: I`m appalled that you would begin a presidential debate on
a topic like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That applause only lasted so long. Soon, Newt reclaimed
his spot at the back of the pack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: We will have the first permanent base on the moon, and it
will be American.

My wife pointed out to me approximately 219 times, give or take three.
That the moon colony was probably not my most clever comment in this
campaign, but the underlying point is real.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. President Newt`s sky walker would not back down from
a colony on the moon. And if he wasn`t all flying his cabinet to space, he
would be conducting daily troops to the zoo.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: I have a lifelong love for zoos and have been to about 100
in my life. And, early on, I thought I would be a bird ecologist studying
dinosaurs, or would be a zoo director. And I still love to go visits zoos
and I love to go - I love animals.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s a man that loves animals, but he has a tough history
with penguins.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: I got bit by a penguin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You went to a zoo? Which zoo?

GINGRICH: I went to St. Louis Zoo. And I got bit by a penguin.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But, nothing has been as hilarious as this zinger from Newt
today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: As for the presidency, I`m asked, sometimes, is Mitt Romney
conservative enough, and my answer is simple. Compared to Barack Obama?
This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a
choice between Mitt Romney and the most radical leftist president in
American history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wow! That was a ringing endorsement. Willard may not be
smiling. But Newt, you left the rest of us laughing.

Joining me now, former Pennsylvania governor, Ed Rendell, now an MSNBC
political analyst, and Mark McKinnon, cofounder of No Labels and former
advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain.

Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: Our pleasure.

SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, let me start with you. You have dealt
with a lot of endorsements in your career, what do you make of Newt`s big
non-endorsement of Willard today?

RENDELL: Well, in some ways, Reverend, I think it`s the right thing
to do. If he sang the praises of Mitt Romney, saying what a great guy he
had, it would ring hollow.

But, I think his message is, to independent voters and other is look.
I`m not going to be insincere about Mitt Romney. I don`t think he was the
greatest candidate to come down the road. But, when you compare the two,
and that`s your choice, Mitt Romney is the more viable candidate.

And I think if you put it that way, it has a higher level of
credibility than singing Mitt Romney`s praises. The one thing I want to
say if I might, Al. What disturbed me most in all things you ran there, is
when he described Barack Obama as the food stamp president.

SHARPTON: Yes.

RENDELL: Implying that food stamps was in fact something that urban
African-American population predominates. As you know, white recipients
are more than 50 percent - more that 70 percent of the food stamp pull.
It`s more rural than urban. Americans all over need food stamps because
its economy is where it is because of the greedy people in wall street
drove it there. So that Newt Gingrich is in all, should stop this business
about food stamp president.

SHARPTON: And, the fact of the matter is, a lot of children on food
stamps and more people on food stamps under George Bush than under Barack
Obama. But let me go back to the original point, Mark.

When you talk about -- when he said that Mr. Gingrich shouldn`t go
backed a hypocrite and just embrace Mr. Romney, eventually he will have to
get there. When he does, he will have a problem because of all of the
things he said through the primary.

Let me remind you and our viewers about what he will have to overcome
before he does that embrace out of his own mouth, Newt Gingrich.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: The Romney machine can drive down turnout, he can run over
opponents with negative ads, it doesn`t seem capable of inspiring positive
turnout, and the result is I think very, very worrisome if you`re thinking
about the fall campaign.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANCHOR: Is he still the most anti-
immigrant candidate?

GINGRICH: I think of the four of us, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Are you calling mitt Romney a liar?

GINGRICH: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now Mark, this is an ad released by the Obama campaign. So
clearly the Obama campaign is going to use this, and clearly as Newt tries
to do his moonwalk toward embracing Romney, he is going to be constantly
facing the fact that the public and the voter wills be reminded by his own
words and tape of what he said about Willard mitt Romney.

MARK MCKINNON, COFOUNDER, NO LABELS: Well. That`s right, and team
Obama will be reminding American voters all along the way about all of the
things that Mitt Romney`s primary opponents said about him.

But, I agree with the governor. He did the right thing today by not
giving him too close of a hug and take maintain some degree of credibility.
But it`s remarkable to me having watch politics for a long time, how
quickly the breach heals in these primaries, and how often combatants they
come together for the general election. And so, you know, the reality is
that Gingrich served a good purpose which was made Mitt Romney look pretty
good.

And, the thing I found unfortunate about is his candidacy where he was
supposed to be the candidate of big ideas. And the fact that he was really
kind of pretty lazy candidate and you always kind of felt he was just going
along to keep Newt inc. going.

So, what I think was unfortunate is we didn`t see a real comprehensive
program of great ideas come from Newt Gingrich. But, maybe he can pass
along some thoughts to Mitt Romney during the summer in terms of something
more muscular.

SHARPTON: Yes. Maybe, we`ll see. But talking about Mr. Romney.
Today, he vowed to do the opposite of what President Obama has done to help
the economy, listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I would do -- people
ask me what would you do to get the economy going? I say, well, look at
what the president has done, and do the opposite.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Governor, do the opposite? The president reduced every
month since he has been president. He has been able to bring back Detroit
when Romney was saying let it go bankrupt. Do the opposite? The opposite
would bring us back toward a recession?

RENDELL: Yes, and the problem, everyone keeps saying well, Mitt
Romney`s strong suit is strength on the economy. What have we heard about
from Mitt Romney other than criticism on the president? What do we heard
about his economic plans? Cut taxes? Eliminate burdensome regulations.

Now, as I recall, that`s what President Bush tried, and we had
following of the five years, five of the worst seven years of job creation
we have had in the last six decades. So, there is nothing that Mitt Romney
is talking about that`s work in the past, any reason to say to work right
now. And do the opposite? Well, President Obama has invested in our
infrastructure. He wants to invest more in it. That`s putting good jobs
and bridges and roads and factories that produce steel and asphalt and
concrete. If Romney wants to do the opposite of that? Doesn`t make any
sense at all.

SHARPTON: Mark, if you were advising Romney, you advise Republicans,
look at the Obama record, 25 straight months of private sector job growth,
4.1 million jobs added. Auto industry back from the brink, stock market up
63 percent.

How do you advice Willard to run against that as the one with the
better economic plans and better economic policies?

MCKINNON: Well, the key is not just to see the opposite, but to
articulate exactly what that plan would be. There is still a lot of
anxiety among American voters and small business owners. They don`t have a
high degree of confidence. Things may be picking up a little bit but that
as soon as seem to be, we get some bad economic news. And so, we should
engage in this debate. But Romney needs to engage it and talk about what
the opposite means. And I`m sure that will be talking about his version
and his view of the stimulus and why it did or didn`t work, and Obama will
defend on that. But, Romney will have to say what he would do instead of
stimulus funding of government creating jobs, and programs what he believes
would create more private sector jobs that would be more permanent through
tax cuts and whatever it might be. But that would have to be clearly
articulated. And, you know, if the economy is the issue, which should
appear it will be, Romney will have to make clear what that plan will be.
But, he just came out of the primary that played how to do that.

SHARPTON: Well. Let me ask you this, governor. Richard Grenell, a
Romney foreign policy advisor who is openly gay, he stepped down today
saying his role was quote, "greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan
discussion of personal issues."

Does this further hurt Romney and the Republicans with independent
voters who have views that vary, but who are not into these personal views
as much as how we`re going to deal with broad independent policy matters
that will help the country?

RENDELL: Sure it does. It`s a very difficult challenge for the
Republican party and governor Romney. On the one hand, he has to curve all
of this hate out there against gay Americans. Because it`s not just gay
Americans that react against it and God knows how there`s anybody left on
the log cabin Republicans, they should have all jump ship.

But its independent voter who look at that and their not gay, but they
don`t want a divisive America. They don` want a hate from America. And
they look at this and they ship their edge here. He was trumpeted as
evidence that governor Romney was friendly to gays.

SHARPTON: Right.

RENDELL: And of essentially driven out of the campaign on personal
issues. It`s disastrous.

SHARPTON: Mark, before we go, you`re writing today about the GOP
attacks on Obama and bin Laden`s ad and saying, it`s misguided. Why are
you writing that?

MCKINNON: Well, it just reminds me of 2004 when we launched our
campaign, the Bush re-election campaign, and we very subtly refereed to
9/11. I mean, how do you run for president 2004 and not talk about 9/11,
had some very subtle images of 9/11in an add, and Democrats went completely
bananas criticizing and saying that we are politicizing 9/11 by using in
the campaign.

Well, that absurd. It`s just as absurd for Republicans today to be
suggesting the same thing about Barack Obama, talking about the death of
Osama bin Laden. It is part of our history, it`s arguably his most
significant foreign policy achievement, it`s something all Americans were
hoping for and rooting for when it happened.

So, it would be -- it is silly to think that Obama would run a
reelection campaign without talking about that significant achievement.
So, my -- and by the way in 2004, we were thrilled when that happened
because it brought more attention to the issue we wanted to talk about. So
if I were the Obama people, I would be pretty happy about the fact that
what all Romney has done is bring more attention to that issue and has kept
him off his economic issue which he ought to be trying to keep his message
focused.

SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, Mark McKinnon. Thank you both for your
time tonight.

RENDELL: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the Republicans including Willard have a problem
with women. And today in Virginia, we saw what he plans to do about it.

Plus, blocking the vote, this 93-year-old woman marched with Dr. King
for voting rights, but new voting laws have taken away her vote. It`s
outrageous. She will be here in an exclusive interview coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: One quick clarification. I said in the last segment that
there were more people on food stamps under George Bush than Barack Obama.
What I should say to be clear, is more were added under George Bush having
to get food stamps than have added under President Obama. Let us not have
wrong facts even if we have different opinions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." Willard Romney was in
the crucial swing state of Virginia today speaking at a signage company.
It was the first time he has been there as the presumptive nominee.

But wait, wait, wait. Stop that tape. There`s something strange
about this picture. There is something very off in this Kodak moment.
Look at that, everyone on stage with Romney just happens to be a woman.
What a coincidence, and he just happens to be at a female run company in
Virginia, and Ann Romney just happened to show up today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN ROMNEY, MIT ROMNEY`S WIFE: We appreciate all these women being
here. It is a great country and it`s exciting to see what women can do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So Willard`s in the state that pushed an extreme invasive
ultrasound bill, and suddenly all of these women love him. We all know he
is trailing President Obama among women after going extreme on many women`s
issues. And Virginia is ground zero for the war on women.

Months ago, thousands of protesters turned out in force against a
radical ultrasound bill that was given the full go ahead from governor Bob
McDonald. And tomorrow, that same governor will be stumping with Willard,
some call it a beep tryout.

But get this. Romney is trails Obama in Virginia by eight points.
And Ed McDonald as a running mate that you give no change, none.

Governor, do on top of the things and you will become unpopular.
Willard needs all the help he can get in the women`s department. That`s
why you see this staged picture. Bob McDonald won`t do him any good.

Joining me now is Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize winning syndicated
columnist and now a visiting professor of journalism at University of
Georgia and Virginia delegate Charniele Herring, Democratic minority with
(INAUDIBLE) of the state`s reproductive right s caucus.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Thank you.

CHARNIELE HERRING (D), DELEGATE, VIRGINIA: Good to be here, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Charniele.

HERRING: Yes.

SHARPTON: Charniele, let start with you. What do you make of this
staged production by Mr. Romney today.

HERRING: Well, it`s exactly what you said, it`s staged and it`s
blatant attempt to try to attract the women voters. And what I find really
ironic, is that his side of business is actually thriving in Virginia as
many businesses are. He is trying to make the point that women are
suffering under President Obama, but this the woman owned company and they
are thriving.

So, I think it`s pretty ironic and it makes the point that President
Obama has done well by this nation and especially Virginia. We have one of
the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, and the reason why is the
president`s economic policies. We benefited from it. We benefited from
his economic stimulus. That`s why Virginia is in the place that it`s in.

SHARPTON: Now Cynthia, he is doing really bad, with women voters.
And let me show some of his extreme views on women, had being Willard
Romney. He supports defunding Planned Parenthood. He supported the blunt
amendment, he supported radical personhood laws. He would not say if he
would have signed a Lily Ledbetter care pay act. I mean, these are extreme
positions to try and appeal to woman voters, wouldn`t you say, Cynthia?

TUCKER: Absolutely, and he has also thrown away a couple moments when
he could have said something in passing that might have improved his
standing with women. When Rush Limbaugh attacked the Georgetown student
for her activism on contraception.

SHARPTON: Sandra Fluke.

TUCKER: Exactly. Instead of slamming Rush Limbaugh, he says that`s
not something I would have said. So, taken together all of these things
make Mitt Romney quite unattractive, particularly with unmarried women. He
does OK with women who are married. Those women tend to be more
conservative. But he doesn`t do nearly as well with unmarried women who we
can separate into two groups.

Some of those women are younger. Their good feminist like Ms. Fluke,
their career women and looking toward a more progressive party headed by a
more progressive person like President Obama.

But, some of those women are suffering economically, and they
understand that they need a strong social welfare net. They need Medicaid.
They need unemployment benefits. They the affordable care act. None of
which obviously does - well, certainly Mitt Romney doesn`t support the
affordable care act, and he has spoken about cutting the social safety net.
So, it`s no wonder he is in trouble with women.

SHARPTON: Now. Let me ask you, Charniele. In your state, governor
McDonald has been mentioned by some as being in the sweepstakes for being a
vice presidential nominee, yet, he was the one behind this invasive
ultrasound bill, but he tried to walk it back.

Let me play for you when he tried to walk back on the intrusive
ultrasound bill last month on Bloomberg TV. Watch this.

HERRING: All right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE HOST: Now, some anti-abortion advocates say you got
(INAUDIBLE), you got cold feet, you reversed you position and then you
signed that original top bill.

BOB MCDONNELL (R), VIRGINIA GOVERNOR: The bill we amended this year
was actually at my original bill 12 years ago to put a big consent bill in
for abortion. And all I did was say we ought to join 23 other states that
have an ultrasound law some for it, so that a woman gets all the medical
and clinical and legal information she needs before she makes rest of us to
support the decision of our lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is that true, Charniele?

HERRING: You know, I don`t know his record. I do know in the sense
that his record, I do know he put in that bill in the past, but what I find
interesting, he wants to join 23 other states, and violating a woman`s
right to privacy. I mean, that`s what is the most astounding.

The specific bill, he did amendment the bill, and it was an invasive
procedure, but what he is saying then is that what he filed 12 years ago
was a mandated inter-vaginal - trans vaginal ultrasound. That`s what he is
saying. And that is tend amount in states sponsor rates. So, that
something I would not brag about.

In fact, and to suggest that women are not getting information from
their doctors, what he is saying is that he believes government should be
big enough to go in a doctor`s office and consult with the woman, patient,
and use the doctor as a tool of the state. Very inappropriate. Very wrong
for women.

SHARPTON: All right. Cynthia Tucker, Virginia delegate Charniele
Herring. Thank you both for your time tonight.

HERRING: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, president Obama`s top political strategist,
David Axelrod will be here live talking about bin Laden and the official
launch of the Obama campaign.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION, President Obama landed
back in Washington this morning fresh off his surprise visit to Afghanistan
where he addressed the nation to mark exactly one year since the death of
Osama Bin Laden. And now, for the first time, were hearing from the
President himself about what was happening during that raid. Part of an
exclusive interview from inside the situation room with NBC`s Brian
Williams.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: This is, if I`m not mistaken,
this picture was taken right as the helicopter was having some problems.
But you might not remember, yes, that`s what it feels like, because I
remember Hillary putting her Hanover mouth at that point. There is silence
at this point inside the room.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: When you look at it, what does it
conjure up inside you?

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF THE STATE: Well, that`s the way, I
usually look when my husband drags me to an action movie. You know, what
it all conjures up is all of the emotions that were running through my
every other person in that small group. It was just an extraordinary
experience, and a great privilege to be part of.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The President also talked about seeing a photograph of Bin
Laden`s body for the first time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You have a picture of a dead body, and there is, you know, I
think regardless of who it is, you always have to be sober about death.
But understanding the satisfaction for the American people. What it would
mean for 9/11 families. What it would mean for children of the folks that
died in the twin towers that never got to know their parents. I think
there was a deep-seated satisfaction for the country at that moment.

WILLIAMS: And then you place a call to George W. Bush 43 on who`s
watch the attack happened, and what was that like?

OBAMA: Well, you know, I think it was an important symbol of who we
are as a people. We get into these partisan fights, administrations come
and go, but there`s certain continuity about who we are, and what we care
about, and what our values are. And for me to be able to call my
predecessor and say a lot of the work that you did under your
administration was continued in my administration, and there is that
constant threat that ultimately leads in, justice being done. I think it
was symbolic of how our government should work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It was a nonpartisan issue, symbolic of how our government
should work. But Mitt Romney has jumped all over the President this week
accusing him of turning Bin Laden`s death into, you guessed it, a partisan
issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The idea to try and
politicize this, and to say, oh, President Obama would have done it one
way, Mitt Romney would have done it another, is really disappointing.
Let`s not make the capture or killing of Osama Bin Laden a politically
divisive event.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Willard doesn`t want the President to politicize the
killing of Osama Bin Laden, but yesterday, he was at a fire house in Lower
Manhattan where 11 firefighters lost their lives in September 11th. Side
by side with Rudy Giuliani, the man who Vice President Joe Biden once said,
only new three words to use in a sentence. A noun, a verb and 9/11.
Willard`s blatantly politicizing September 11th, but just listen to him
talk about the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The important role in taking Osama Bin Laden, I think
politicizing it and try to draw a distinction between himself and myself
wasn`t inappropriate of the very important event that brought America
together which was the elimination of Osama Bin Laden.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is David Axelrod, chief strategist for the
Obama campaign. David, thanks for being here tonight.

DAVID AXELROD, CHIEF STRATEGIST, OBAMA CAMPAIGN: Good to be here,
Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now, you just heard Mitt Romney attacking the President
for politicizing Bin Laden`s death. How do you respond?

AXELROD: Well, look, this was an important event for the entire
country, this was the anniversary of it. Of course, it was going to be
noted and we and others would note it. As for any references we made, to
Governor Romney`s position, they would base on his statements. He was the
one who said, that he would not go into Pakistan to go after high value al-
Qaeda targets. Obviously, Osama Bin Laden was the number one target. And
so to raise that, and you know, understand that reverend that throughout
this campaign, Governor Romney has been savaging the President. Generally
base on erroneous pronouncements on foreign policy. And so, you know, he
gets uncomfortable when you raise past statements, but that`s part of the
campaign.

At least the ones we raised are based in fact, and that`s what he
said, and you know, I presume he meant it when he said it. The other thing
he said was, anyone would have done what the President did. But, you know,
I think back to what Secretary Gates said in an interview with "60 Minutes"
shortly after that raid, when he said that he had been in Washington for
three decades, and this was among the guts he is caused that he had seen
any president make. So, let`s acknowledge what it was. And, you know, it
may run counter to Governor Romney`s narrative. But the facts are the
facts.

SHARPTON: Now, are they trying to have it both ways accusing the
President of politicizing same time standing what former Mayor Giuliani at
a site that all of us really mourn for the first responders lost at 9/11.
Isn`t that kind of trying to have it both ways, David.

AXELROD: You know, Reverend. I don`t be grudging him going to that
site. I think all Americans should remember what we as a country went
through and particularly what the victims of 9/11 went through and their
families and remember the brave firefighters who are involved. So, I don`t
be grudge him that, but you know, then don`t use it as a platform to accuse
others of being political.

SHARPTON: Now, in your opinion, do you think Mitt Romney is ready to
be commander and chief?

AXELROD: Well, it`s hard for me to judge based on the pronouncements
he made. It`s been all over a lot on so many different things. Just take
Afghanistan, you know, he said that he, as President, would not negotiate
with the Taliban. Almost everybody involved in the situation from left to
right have suggested that part of the answer here is for there to be
negotiations between the parties there to get some sort of a stasis that
would allow Afghanistan to move forward. So, obviously that has to be part
of the mix. That was worrisome. He has been back and forth on whether we
should or shouldn`t be operating on a time table, but he seemed to imply
that we should stay there indefinitely. He also complained when we left
Iraq that we had made a mistake leaving Iraq.

But, you know, we Reverend have to look after our National Security
needs and at the same time, we have to look after our own domestic needs as
a country. The country we need to build is our own, and we can`t stay in
these other countries indefinitely. We have to get out in a responsible
way. We went to Afghanistan for a reason, which was to go after those who
attacked us, to dismantle al-Qaeda. We`ve had tremendous success in the
last few years in doing that, including the death of Bin Laden. Now, it`s
time to responsible transfer security to the Afghan people for their own
sake. And that`s what the President has done. That was the agreement that
he signed yesterday in Afghanistan. I think that is what American people
want and in it`s our country`s best interest. Governor Romney`s been all
over the map on this.

SHARPTON: Now, let me get a little political with you. The campaign
kicks off this week in Ohio and Virginia, and you have a new slogan for the
campaign, forward, it has been unveiled in a new video that highlights what
this election is going to be about, let me, let people see this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: On the day Barack Obama took office, America had already
lost 4.4 million jobs. An economic disaster, the worst in a generation.
Some said America`s best days were behind us. And like America, he dug
deep, fought back, and never lost faith in our ability to meet the
challenge. But instead of working together to lift America up, Republicans
were waging a campaign to tear the President down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Put me in the no
column.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Vote no. Vote no.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Republicans are getting a rap as the party of no.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, the team there, forward thinking, republican pundits
are attacking the President`s campaign for using the word forward, believe
it or not in their slogan. Breitbart.com says the word forward quote,
"Borrows from communist iconography." And then the Washington Times says,
forward has "Rich association with European Marxism." And Bill Kristol in
"The Weekly Standard" says the campaign is "Citing Mad." And at the
gateway pundit, they say forward was a "Marching song for Hitler`s youth."
I mean, did I miss something in English class?

AXELROD: Yes, that`s a little nuts in my view. Obviously, we`re
talking about, let`s move forward with our recovery. Let`s keep pushing
forward to try and build an economy in which the middle class is growing
and not shrinking, in which people work hard can get ahead. In which
everybody gets a fair shake and a fair shot. That`s what forward means.
And there is another side to this. Which is when you look at what Governor
Romney is proposing, it`s very much going backward, massive tax cuts for
the wealth, budget busting tax cuts he doesn`t pay for. Today, the Boston
Globe did an excellent peace knowing that he wants tear down the financial
reforms that we`re passed.

Dodd Frank to provide oversight for Wall Street in the financial
sector after the disaster we`ve saw. And he offers nothing to replace it
which may be the reason why the five biggest banks have giving him more
money than all of the other candidates combined. But it`s not good for
America to go back. We don`t want to go back to the same policies that
created the disaster in the first place. And that`s really the choice
people are facing. Do we want to go forward with a more hopeful future
that holds out more possibility for hardworking people across this country,
or do we want to go back to the very same policies that`s a narrowing band
of people do very well. And everybody else running faster and faster just
to keep their heads above water. That is not a prescription for a better
future, and we`re looking forward to that debate.

SHARPTON: Well, let me thank you David Axelrod for your time tonight.

AXELROD: All right. Good to be with you though. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, how a 93-year-old woman who marched with Martin
Luther King, Jr. is now being denied the right to vote. It`s outrageous
and we have to stop it. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Coming up, blocking the vote, this 93-year-old woman
marched with Dr. King for voting rights, now her vote has been taken away.
It`s outrageous, exclusive interview is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We can add horror writer Stephen King to the chorus of
voices calling for fairness. Mr. King just wrote a column calling out
Republicans for protecting the one percent. King writes quote, "I don`t
want to apologize for being rich. I want you to acknowledge that in
America, we should all have to pay our fair share. That`s called stepping
up and not whining about it." But for Republicans asking millionaires to
pay their fair share in taxes, it`s like a scene out of scary movie, it`s
like a scene out of the shining.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: Come on, the top one percent pay 38 percent of the income
taxes in America, how much more do you want them to pay?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s about his idea of fairness, about imposing it
on others.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Red rum. Red rum. Red rum.

ROMNEY: It`s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: What is in room 1237?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Nothing. There ain`t nothing in room 1237.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republican tax policy, be afraid. Be very afraid.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the republican effort to suppress the vote
this time in Pennsylvania. A state with Governor Tom Corbett signed a
strict voter ID law six weeks ago.

Joining me is Viviette Applewhite, a 93-year-old voter from
Philadelphia that marched with Martin Luther King Jr., but now cannot vote
for the first time in 50 years because of the state`s new voter ID law, she
is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed this week challenging that law.
Also with me Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project
which joined the ACLU to file the lawsuit.

Thanks to both of you for joining me tonight.

JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Viviette, let me start with you. Tell me your story, how
is this voter ID law in Pennsylvania keeping you from voting?

VIVIETTE APPLEWHITE, DISENFRANCHISED VOTER: Because I don`t have the
ID, state ID, which I would have to go to the -- to get it. And I don`t
have a birth certificate.

SHARPTON: So, you have been voting now for 50 years. The ID that you
have used has been all right, but now, all of a sudden, the new ID that is
required, you can`t make that qualification or reach that bar because you
don`t have a birth certificate? They`re denying you your right to vote.

APPLEWHITE: That`s right, that`s correct.

SHARPTON: Now, you marched with Martin Luther King for the right to
vote. Did you ever think that you would come 50 years later and be denied
the right to vote?

APPLEWHITE: I never heard anything like this in my whole entire life.
And never expected it.

SHARPTON: It`s not that you did not use ID down through the years,
it`s this new voter ID requirement. Because I want people to understand,
we`re not talking about people should identify themselves, we`re saying
that why it`s necessary to have new ID. So, you always qualified with your
ID, it`s the new laws that is giving you the problem.

APPLEWHITE: Just the new laws, everything that they got about this a
thing, I will not be able to vote because I definitely do not have the
qualifications that they want. And expect me to have.

SHARPTON: Now, let me play for you your governor, Governor Tom
Corbett there in Pennsylvania defending the voter ID laws in Pennsylvania,
watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Contrary to some claims, this
bill does not interfere with anyone`s legal right to vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He says that it won`t interfere with anyone`s legal right
to vote. Here you are, 92-years-old marched with Dr. King, it interferes
with your right to vote, is that not right?

APPLEWHITE: Yes, it`s in the -- I will not be able to vote.

SHARPTON: Let me bring in Judith Browne-Dianis. Judith, when you
look at the fact that out of 31 million votes cast, only 0.00004 percent
have resulted in a claim of fraud. I mean, there is no reason at all to
have changed the ID laws, and make them more difficult to deny people like
Mrs. Applewhite the right to vote.

JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, CO-DIRECTOR, ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: That`s right
Reverend Sharpton, this is really not about preventing fraud, it`s about
preventing voting. You know, in the middle of the game, to change the
rules, it`s not fair. And to undermine democracy by taking away the
precious right to participate in our democracy is a shame. And there`s no
evidence of impersonation of voters, and people like Ms. Applewhite to
have voted for all of this decades to participate, to have a voice in our
democracy, and then to be ripped off solely because some people want to
stack the deck for partisan gain. This is a problem and that`s why
Advancement Project and the ACLU have filed a lawsuit because we want to
stop these laws from spreading because we believe everyone should have the
right to vote.

SHARPTON: Now, this is outrageous. I mean, let me show you
something, Judith, and Mrs. Applewhite that Governor Corbett said in 2010
before when he was elected to Governor. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

The Governor said yesterday that Bob Brady should resign as chairman
of the Democratic Committee in Philadelphia if he doesn`t get 50 percent
turnout. We want to make sure that they don`t get fifty percent. Keep
that down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They actually said they were going to keep turnout down,
we`re going to make sure he could not get 50 percent. So, we`re talking
about people that clearly do not want to see voter turnout, and have come
up with a law that is totally unnecessary, only 12 cases in Pennsylvania of
voter fraud out of 31 million votes cast, in many ways, many of us feel
because they want to keep turnout down.

DIANIS: That`s right, and we know Reverend Sharpton, we know who
these impacts, it impacts African-Americans, Latinos, elderly voters and
students. And those are the people that turned out in record numbers in
2008. So we know that`s what this is about. It is about cutting off
participation of those who turned out in record numbers in 2008.

SHARPTON: Ms. Applewhite, you marched and you voted, and you continue
to be a model citizen, and now you`re denied the right to vote. I think
that this it is clear that we need you to stand up as Americans and fight
to protect those that gave us the right to vote in the first place. And
we`re honored that you came on our show and we`re going to continue to talk
about voter ID and what it does to people. And to make sure that the fight
that you and Dr. King and others have fought for has not turned around in
this generation.

APPLEWHITE: Am I allowed to say anything?

SHARPTON: Yes, go ahead. Say whatever you want.

APPLEWHITE: I want to say what I think the reason that they`re doing
it.

SHARPTON: Why?

APPLEWHITE: I think that the reason that they won`t decide -- and
everything is because there`s so many of the black people that doesn`t have
ID, and I think it is because they don`t want Obama in there, so I think
they`re trying to do something to keep the black people from having the
right to vote, because they know that they don`t have all of these papers
and things that they`re supposed to have. And they`re not going to get
them. So, there`s so many of them that I live in a building where it look
like to me, I didn`t even realize it, looked like most of the people in my
building, they are senior citizens, but they don`t have the proper thing to
vote with. There`s going to be a whole lot of people that`s not going to
be able to vote.

SHARPTON: We`re going to keep on this, and I am glad you expressed
how you feel. A lot of people feel that way. Viviette Applewhite and
Judith Browne-Dianis. Thanks to both of you for your time tonight, and
good luck.

DIANIS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And we`re going to keep on talking about the attempts to
block the vote.

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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