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PoliticsNation, Friday, May 4, 2012

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Guests: Chris Hayes; Jonathan Capehart; Jared Bernstein, Hilda Solis, Rosa DeLauro, Melissa Harris-Perry, Allison Samuels


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

Tonight`s lead, getting the job done whether the Republicans want to
help or not. President Obama hit the road today after job reports showed
some progress on the economy, but we still have a long way to go. He told
the GOP now is the time to slam the brakes on recovery.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our businesses are now
created more than 4.2 million new jobs over the last 26 months more than
one million in the last 26 months alone. But, there are still a lot of
folks out of work which means that we have to do more.

That`s why next week I`m going to urge Congress, as they started to
get to back to work, to take some actions on common sense ideas right now
that can accelerate even more job growth. That`s what we need, and my
message to Congress is going to be just saying no to ideas that will create
new jobs is not an option.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Just saying no is not an option. But don`t worry, folks,
the GOP is working on all sorts of job creation proposals, things like the
mark twain commemorative coin act. Apparently, Republicans want to give
those coin collectors back on the job.

Also, the sports men`s Heritage act because fly fishers have been hurt
the hardest in this recession. And the permanent electronic duck stamp
act. I guess duck stamps will save us from high unemployment.

Republicans in the house have passed only 60 pieces of legislation
this year including bills like these. And when they have not been pushing
coins and staffs, they have been arguing that cutting public sector jobs
will somehow fix our unemployment problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, MINORITY LEADER: Because the fact is we will
not get this economy going again by growing the government.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Right now we have a
government so big and so expensive that is sapping the drive out of our
people and keeping our economy from running at full capacity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to reduce the expenditure with the growth
of federal employees.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The primarily protected
people in the government sector which is probably the sector that should
have been shrinking.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Really Willard? Shrinking the workforce will put more
people back to work? Really? The new GOP logic is most illogical.

Take a look at this chart. The president`s policies have led to 26
straight months of private sector job growth. What all that cutting the
Republicans preached, it resulted in nearly half a million public sector
jobs lost, real people, real families affected. When the president tries
to fix this problem, the GOP does what it does best. It says no. No to
the American jobs act, no to jobs for teachers and first responders, no to
construction jobs. This will be the choice in November trying to get
things moving in the economy, or wasting everybody`s time.

Joining me now is Hilda Solis, the secretary of labor, and Jared
Bernstein an MSNBC contributor and the former chief economist for vice
president Joe Biden.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

HILDA SOLIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR: Thank you.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: Secretary Solis, let me start with you. In your mind,
where would the recovery be if both sides of the aisle were working toward
a meaningful solution?

SOLIS: Well, I can tell you right off of that if we were able to pass
that infrastructure project that the president has been talking about, we
would have a lot of construction workers back to work side and we probably
see another percentage point dropped off from the unemployment. We would
probably go a lot lower.

But you`re right, there`s a lot of stalemate right now. A lot of
Republicans don`t want to move this agenda forward, so we have to do other
things. And part of what we`re doing is making investments in job training
and making sure we can fill those jobs that are available for people to get
skilled up and to get credentials. That`s why the president is touting so
much reform and education training. Because people do need to have better
skills to compete, to get into those three million jobs, that are still out
there.

But, Reverend, let me remind you. Just eight months ago, the
unemployment rate was 9.1 percent. It`s now at 8.1 percent, and 4.3
million private sector jobs now have been corrected.

SHARPTON: So today, the new job number is 8.1 percent, certainly not
where we want to be, but it was just eight months ago at 9.1. So, it`s
moving on the right direction.

SOLIS: Absolutely, it`s a steady good growth. And we see it across
the board in manufacturing, and hotel, restaurant, leisure, also in
business and profession and in manufacturing.

SHARPTON: Now. Let me ask you Jared. The public sector jobs, when I
hear the Republicans and the nominee, the apparent nominee, say that
shrinking government jobs will help the economy, you`re an economist, it
doesn`t make sense to me, can you explain to me how we can go from negative
and get a positive from that?

BERNSTEIN: No, I can`t because I don`t do that kind of math. If you
suck jobs out of the economy, I don`t care if they are in the public or
private sector, you are going to have a problem. And in fact, as the
secretary correctly pointed out, the private sector continually has been
generating jobs over the past couple of years. Month after month, we have
whacked on the public side. And that is because states and localities have
to balance their budgets and that means they have been acting in ways that
are actually deepening the problem, and they can get tougher to recover.

I looked the education numbers today. They`re down 100,000, 100,000
education jobs over the last year have been lost. So the next time a
politician stands in front of you and says austerity, cuts and aim for
education, you know, you need to point their hypocrisy.

Now, let me say one of the things about what the secretary said. And
it`s an honor to share the stage with her because I like where she started.
She didn`t start out by pointing fingers saying it`s your fault, it`s your
fault, it`s your fault. She started out with policy, and she`s exactly
right.

What the secretary Solis said, and I know she fights for these issues
every day. I used to work with her. What she said is we have solutions to
this problem. And one of the best is to marry the problem of our weak
infrastructure with our unemployment. And put those two together. There
are 100,000 schools across this nation we could start fixing tomorrow.
Getting folks back to work, helping to improve our economy. And the
president has our plan, secretary Solis has that plan, I don`t see why
we`re not doing that or at least talking about it.

SHARPTON: Well, Romney has a plan as well. Let`s not act like they
don`t have a plan. Let me show you Mr. Romney`s plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per
month. This is way, way, way off from what should happen in a normal
recovery.

The unemployment rate has dropped to 8.1 percent. And normally that
would be cause for celebration. But in fact, anything over eight percent,
anything near eight percent, anything over four percent is not cause for
celebration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now Secretary Solis, when your administration, the
president`s administration came in, we were at a devastating point in terms
of this economy. Is there any possible way we could be at four percent
today? I mean what is he talking about?

SOLIS: You know it would be a hard, hard push to get that
unemployment rate down that quickly. Because you have to remember back in
2009, we lost eight million jobs. By February, when the president came in
to office, eight million jobs have already been lost. We`re now 3 1/2
years into this administration and we created 4.2 million private sector
jobs. And we continue to see that steady growth and more confidence.

But certainly, we have to move faster. There`s a lot going on out
there because our population, our demographics have changed. You see
youngsters staying longer, going to college and you see baby boomers that
are retiring.

So, it isn`t so much that people are not finding jobs. What we are
finding is that we have to retool the population. We got to get them
credentials. That`s why the president is touting community colleges,
certificates, getting into job training in using the partnership programs
to get there. We got to compete globally now. We got to compete with
Japan, with China. We got to compete with India, and with Brazil. We got
to produce a better workforce that we can. That`s why the president is
saying don`t give up on the American workforce.

BERNSTEIN: Can I comment on that? Let me comment on Governor
Romney`s statement.

I have a slightly different take on this. I very much support the
aspiration of full employment. The secretary is right, four percent is a
very tough goal, but I like that goal. I think we should be at full
employment.

The problem is he is looking at a map and is saying over here is full
employment city and I would like to get here. But, if you actually look at
the road map that he is plotting that his policies take you, they go
exactly the other way. They go to the deregulatory supply side trickled
down stuff that got us into this mess. They don`t head towards full
employment city. They head off the very cliff that those policies took
this economy off in 2007 and 2008.

SHARPTON: Well, including public sector layoffs and other things. I
think all of us have a goal of unemployment. He didn`t say that, he said
we should be there. Not that that should be the goal.

Secretary Solis and Jared Bernstein, thank you both for coming
tonight.

SOLIS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Have a good weekend, both of you.

BERNSTEIN: Thanks you.

SOLIS: Thank you, happy Cinco de Mayo.

SHARPTON: Happy Cinco de Mayo to you.

Coming up, Republicans loved the swift voting of John Kerry so much,
they`re doing it again with President Obama. A new video attacks the
president over the death of Osama bin Laden. You`ll want to see this.

Plus, with friends like these, who needs Democrats? Mitt Romney has a
Rick Santorum problem, and it says a lot about his place in the GOP. We`ll
look ahead to the official launch of the Obama campaign tomorrow, and the
key role being played by the first lady.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Back in 2004, Republicans reached into their bag of dirty
tricks, and pulled the swift boat ads out to help bring down John Kerry.
Now, there is a new ad against President Obama, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the new right wing effort to discredit
President Obama for one of his greatest accomplishment, the death of bin
Laden. A group called veterans for a strong America has released a new web
ad accusing the president of disrespecting the Navy S.E.A.L.s who completed
the mission.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There will be no parades. They have already gone
back into the shadows without the outside world even knowing their names.

OBAMA: I can report, I directed Leon Panetta. I was briefed and met
repeatedly. I determined at my direction. I called President Karzai. I,
as commander and chief --.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Karl Rove called it a powerful add on twitter, and FOX News
invited the group`s founder, Joel Arends, on TV to talk about it, giving
him eight minutes of national air time to plug his ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOEL ARENDS, FOUNDER, VETERANS FOR STRONGER AMERICA: He not only
spiked the football, he signed it, he threw it up in the stands with the
fans. He is doing a dance in the end zone now. It is steady. He should
give the real credit to the real heroes who made the kill bin Laden
possible.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course, the ad is totally misleading. The president has
given credit to the military over and over again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: I could not be prouder of you. America could not be prouder
of you.

You performed heroically in some of the most dangerous places on
earth. You have done everything asked of you and more. And you have
earned a special place in our nation`s history.

This future is only within reach because of our men and women in
uniform.

I have 100 percent faith in the Navy S.E.A.L.s themselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But facts don`t seem to matter to the man behind the ad.
Joel Arends is a former field director for the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign.
He worked for John McCain`s 2008 campaign, and he is a former field
director for the Coke brothers group, Americans for prosperity. If you had
any doubt about his intentions with this ad, check out what he told Mother
Jones. He said yes, quote, "yes, it`s the swift boating of the president
in the sense of using what`s perceived to be his greatest strength and
making it his greatest weakness." The notorious swift board ads in 2004
attacked Democratic nominee John Kerry for his honorable service in
Vietnam. It worked to gets Kerry. And now the right may be trying to do
the same thing against President Obama.

Joining me now is Chris Hayes, host of "Up with Chris Hayes" here on
MSNBC and Jonathan Capehart, an opinion writer for the "Washington Post"
and MSNBC contributor.

Thanks for both of you being here.

CHRIS HAYES, MSNBC HOST, UP WITH CHRIS HAYES: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Chris, let me start with you. Are you surprised the right
wing may try to swift boat the president on one of his greatest
achievements, the death of bin Laden?

HAYES: No. I mean, I`m not surprise at all. I think that this is
essentially how they operate, and I do think this effort seems slackly and
amateurish compared to the actual swift boat effort. And I also think this
swift board effort would mean it. So, the stabilizing was it, there was a
factual contest station about the facts of the matter. This is a much more
removed and abstract argument that he handled it afterwards poorly, but the
actual facts of the matter, you know, the fact that Osama bin Laden is
dead. He was killed by American special forces troops in Abbottabad
ordered by the president are established, and what people are going to do
with that information what they are, and that`s going to dominate or
overwhelm any and you think attempts to spin it.

SHARPTON: Well Jonathan, though the facts are certainly different,
and clearly their trying to go beyond the facts because they need to do
this in order to win. I mean, when you hear the ads saying the Navy seals
will never get a parade or know their name, that`s part of the
understanding of being in the Navy seals which you don`t know their names.
I mean, so to act like the president is not giving them credit, and that
that is by definition what Navy seals sign up for, is they have to remain
anonymous. These are the kind of desperate moves their making to try to
politicize something that has no real basis.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Right. You know, the president
-- they make it sound like the president took credit for it without
acknowledging the Navy seals. And what people should remember is that the
president met with seal team six. He met the men -- the soldiers who were
involved in that raid and thanked them personally.

The other thing is while they are trying to take the president`s
strength and turn it into a weakness, what they are doing, for all of the
reasons that Chris laid out, the fact that this attack is removed in a way
that it was under with the swift boating of John Kerry, this gives the
president, the administration, and his reelection effort one more time to
talk about the president`s deep and personal involvement in ensuring that
this raid went off well. It gives the president, the administration, and
the reelection team another opportunity to tout this major success. How
these guys are going to try to turn this strength really into a weakness is
beyond me.

SHARPTON: Well. Let me ask you Chris. Let`s connect some dots here.
Political donations of Bob Perry to Texas home builder. He gave in 2004 $3
million to fund the swift boat ads against John Kerry. Well, guess what?
He gave $3 million to Mitt Romney`s super PAC restore our future, in 2012.

HAYES: Right. I mean, Perry is just one of the small coterie right
wing millionaires and billionaires who are going to be funding the Romney
super PAC. And again, the change in the law post-citizen united is going
to make this easier for everyone. There was just a new analysis out today
that said, at this point four years ago, only nine percent of ads were
negative, and this year it`s 70 percent. So, there`s - there`s - it is
going to be - it even more negative campaign that it was in 2008 and even
more than 2004. Partly because I think the mood of the country is
relatively sour, partly because of the amount of money that is going to be
poured particularly through the channels and super PAC. So, this is just
the beginning. I mean, this is fairly like I said, this is fairly slackly
and amateurish undertaking. It`s a first salvo. But just think we got six
months ahead of us. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

SHARPTON: Now Jonathan, when you hear Chris talking about how we have
already seen an enormous increase in negative campaigning at this point
compared to the same point last time, you expect a nasty campaign
particularly when you see people like the creator of the Willy Horton ad,
Larry McCarthy is creating ads for restore our future, the same guy that
did the Will Horton ad in 1988 against the campaign of Michael Ducaucus, is
now the guy that`s doing the ads for restore our future. And as you know,
those ads were very ugly, race tinged, I mean, we may looking at a very
nasty next six months.

CAPEHART: Right. I have been saying that since this time last year,
saying to people that the re-election effort in 2012 for President Obama is
going to get very, very ugly. And the folks who are complaining about what
happened back then in terms of the distortion in the lives being told about
the president, they ought to get used to it.

And right now, it`s starting to ramp up. And I guarantee you by the
time we`re in the general election after the last of the convention in
September, we are going to -- and because of the 527 ruling and all of
these independent organizations out there, like you know, restore our
future, spending money that the Romney campaign will not have to spend,
people will be inundating with really ugly, horrible, nasty message
messages. And the problems I think where a lot of people are going to
have, is that, while their hearing the negative - a lot of negative
statements and a lot of negative messages, they`re going to wonder where is
the positive message. Where is (INAUDIBLE) about the Romney campaign?
Where is their positive vision for the future? That`s what people are
trying to vote for when they go in the booths in November.

SHARPTON: So now Chris, will the negative, the overabundance of
negative backfire and it`s like the one that strikes a match in the dark is
the one that has the light? Is that the strategy you think the Obama
campaign will use, or will it be ugly for ugly?

HAYES: I got to say, I think it`s more likely to be the later. And
part of that is there is a fairly robust literature on the effects of
negative ads, which is that they tend to be quite effective. They have
diminishing returns over certain amount of time. But I think that, you
know, partly right now, I think you see the Obama administration focusing
fairly positively in terms of the videos they are releasing about concrete
accomplishments, concrete accomplishments, things that have been done
legislatively that have been signed into law that make the middle class
more secure for example. That`s going to continue and that will be one
track.

But as we get closer to Election Day, as you see more of the kinds of
ads like what we`re seeing with this early initial swift boating add you
will have to respond in kind. That is certainly the nature of politics for
all particularly in this polarizing moment, post-citizen united moment, we
are going to see more of it.

SHARPTON: Jonathan Capehart, Chris Hayes, thank you both for your
time tonight and have a good weekend both of you.

And please tune in for Chris` show "Up with Chris Hayes" right here on
MSNBC every Saturday and Sunday morning from eight to 10:00 a.m. Eastern.

Still ahead, new sign that of the deep problems among women voters for
Mitt Romney is selling, could it cost him the election?

But first, how Republican definitions of contempt seem to change
depending on who is in office. Stay us with.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: House Republicans are getting up more outrage over the fast
and furious gun walking sting. And what`s contemptible for Democrats is
fine for the GOP. House oversight chairman Darrell Issa in laying out the
case to attorney general Eric Holder contempt of congress.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R-CA), HOUSE OVERSIGHT CHAIRMAN: We have got to
that point where it`s clear their not giving us the documents that they
sort of closed up and covered up the people they now want to protect.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Attorney general Holder has testified about fast and
furious seven times, and the justice department turned over more than 7,000
pages of documents. But apparently that is not enough for Issa.

But turns out Issa was singing a very different tune the last time the
House held White House officials in contempt. In 2008 the House issued
contempt citations to George W. Bush`s chief of staff and former council.
The House was investigating whether the Bush administration fired U.S.
attorneys for political reasons. Republicans weren`t too happy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOEHNER: Ladies and gentlemen, we will not stand here and watch this
floor be abused for pure political grandstanding at the expense of our
national security. I will ask my House Republican colleagues and those who
believe that we should be here protecting the American people, not vote on
this bill, let`s just get up and leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: See who is right behind boycotting Boehner? The boycott
that Boehner called? The contempt vote. That`s Darrell Issa, the same
Congressman who wants to hold Attorney General in contempt now. His
spokesman said the comparisons of the cases were quote, "poor."
Congressman Issa sites that 2008 incident as a precedent in his own
resolution against Holder. Under section titled, past instances of
contempt, he writes quote, "Most recently, the House judiciary committee
pursued contempt against former White House counsel Harriet Miers and White
House chief of staff Joshua Bolten."

So now, Issa thinks holding a government official in contempt is
perfectly fine unless he agrees with their policies. Then it`s pure
politics. Hey congressman, did he think we wouldn`t notice his hypocrisy?
Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with Willard Romney doing everything he can to
win over all of those women who just don`t like him. Today, he`s in
Pennsylvania talking about the economy. But what he is really trying to do
is win over keystone state women. Because he needs them, badly. He`s
losing to President Obama in Pennsylvania by eight points but with women,
Romney is losing by 17 points. That`s a major gender gap. He is spent
most of his week calling women in the states where he needs them most.
Yesterday it was Virginia where he touted the endorsement of one time
female competitor Michele Bachmann, and who can forget this great Virginia
campaign event from Wednesday. Look at all of those women. Unfortunately,
the women behind him here might be the only ones in the whole state who
support him.

Today`s brand new of Virginia voter show the President has a seven
point lead on Romney again, fuelled almost entirely by a gender gap. This
time, it`s 18 points. I would say, politicians who do unpopular things
become unpopular. Romney is on the wrong side of women`s issues, and it
could sink him in some very important swing states.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, democrat from
Connecticut, and long time crusader for women`s rights, and Melissa Harris-
Perry, host of MSNBC "Melissa Harris-Perry Show." Thanks to both of you
for joining me.

REP. ROSA DELAURO (D), CONNECTICUT: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, let me start with you.

DELAURO: Sure.

SHARPTON: One of the many issues that Romney struggles with to win,
is women -- is equal pay for women.

DELAURO: Right.

SHARPTON: Something you championed. His support has been lackluster
there at best, and you`re championing a bill that gives women more tools to
give equal pay. Tell me about your bill.

DELAURO: I`d be delighted too. First of all, I think, you know,
there is a gender gap and it exists for a reason. And that`s because I
believe that the women of this nation, and overall it`s about a 19 point
gender gap, really don`t believe that Mitt Romney shares their values and
their priorities. And those values and priorities are rooted, the heart of
this debate, is about the financial pressures that are facing women today.
And I think that that is what -- you know, Mitt Romney and Republicans in
the House of Representatives are on the attack which regard to women`s
financial issues, and a chief among them for me is the whole issue of pay
equity.

You have the pundit last week who said that there is no gender wage
gap that is totally wrong because there`s facts and there`s data and
there`s research that said, that women get paid 77 cents on the dollar. It
doesn`t make any -- it really goes across occupations, and the fact is that
what we need to try to do, because the consequences, the consequences of
pay in equity fall on not only women but their families. Women are
breadwinners, either primary or co-breadwinners.

SHARPTON: Right?

DELAURO: Mothers are one-third of the working force. Today, who are
breadwinners, and what the bill simply does it says, men and women in the
same job, deserve the same pay. And yes, go ahead.

SHARPTON: Let me bring Melissa into this, just a minute on that
Congresswoman. Melissa, in many communities where women are the only
breadwinner in the House, it certainly has even further ramifications, the
unequal pay. But no matter what the situation is at home, whether a woman
is married, and both her and her husband brings at home, or she is a single
mother, do the Republicans not feel that women are not going to be
motivated to vote in their own interest when it comes to things like who`s
standing for equal pay for women?

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY": All right.
So, this is someone important. I`d appreciate what the Congresswoman did
in framing this. Because I think, you know, part of what`s happened over
the past couple of months as we have seen the extreme right wing of the
Republican Party in states and locality has go after women`s reproductive
rights, and as we have seen, the U.S. Congress sort of go after women`s
reproductive rights, you know, when we say, women`s issues, you might
initially think that we`re talking about contraception, or access to
termination services, or even mammograms. But the key issue that most
women are facing are these economic issues, educational issues, and the
real sort of bread and butter issues of a household neighborhood community
in our country.

So, it`s part of what`s brilliant about the new Obama strategy for the
Obama campaign, not the administration but for the campaign. To use Julia,
right? This sort of, this image of the young girl who needs educational
assistance through head-start, who needs help to make sure that she can pay
back her student loans by being sure that our student loans interest rate
is not too high. Making sure that there are jobs on the other side that
have equal pay. So, the point of trying to think about who women are as
citizens is that full life span of who we are from the moment that we begin
to get education, to the moment that we make family planning decisions, to
the moment that we make academic and employment decisions at all the way,
until the need for Social Security. And then at every point, women have a
very key understanding of how the economy impacts ourselves and our
families, and that is going to be what will drive us to the polls.

SHARPTON: I think that`s what makes the check fairness act important.
But let`s look at this, Congresswoman. Let`s look at really what Mitt
Romney has said to women. Let`s look at his -- the reason that he is
looking bad with a lot of women voters, look at his record. He supports
defunding Planned Parenthood. Supported the blunt amendment. Did support
the personhood amendment, and wouldn`t say if he would have signed the
Lilly Ledbetter fair act. I mean, why would women not be supporting him in
Virginia and in Pennsylvania. I mean, why would they be supporting him
given all these litany of situations where almost every time he is on the
wrong side of the issue.

DELAURO: Well, that`s exactly right. And you know, women understand
who is on their side. As has been pointed out, whether on education
opportunities or retirement security or their paycheck, when you`re only
getting 77 cents on that dollar, and you`re in the same job as an
individual. Now, what Mitt Romney has done, he didn`t really address the
issue of Lilly Ledbetter and the fair pay act, just to whether or not, he
would support that legislation, and I`ve asked, whether or not he would
support paycheck fairness. And that is a question that`s un-answered. We
passed the paycheck fairness bill on the House of Representatives twice
with the bipartisan support. It was blocked in the Senate by Republicans.
And President Obama will sign that bill if it comes out of the House and
the Senate. My question to Mitt Romney is, are you going to sign this
legislation, are you supportive of it, because it is all about the economic
pressures, the financial pressures that women are facing today when they
are in the singular position in many instances of being a breadwinner for
their families. And it`s about them and their families.

SHARPTON: Well, you would think it would be a no brainer to vote for
the equal pay, but let me remind you as we leave this, that in the Lilly
Ledbetter fair pay act, 208 Republicans voted against it. So, they did
give their view unlike Mr. Romney. They voted against it.

DELAURO: Amen.

SHARPTON: Thank you both for coming.

DELAURO: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman DeLauro and Melissa Harris-Perry. Thanks and
have a great weekend. You`re working, Melissa, don`t forget because I will
be watching. Melissa Harris-Perry, weekends from 10:00 a.m. to noon right
here on MSNBC.

PERRY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, can you feel the excitement building for Willard
Romney? Well, neither can I. More proof, the Republican Party just
doesn`t like their own guy. And nobody comes close to President Obama when
it comes to popularity and likeability, but he loses in his own house. Why
Michelle Obama could be the secret weapon for the president? Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The President is popular, but he is not the most popular
person in his own house. The political power of Michelle Obama, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Folks, can you feel the
excitement? Can you feel the intensity? That`s right, the Republican
Party is on fire. Rallying behind their fearless leader Willard Romney.
Of course, I`m just kidding. Today, Romney met with Rick Santorum in
Pittsburgh. Santorum is reportedly looking for Romney to promise a right-
wing agenda before endorsing him. But Willard says, he`s not worried about
it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think we have plans
for an endorsement today, but I think all Republicans will come together in
the final analysis to support my candidacy. Well, I expect that you`re
going see us all come together. You will see in our party a great deal of
enthusiasm about making sure we get America back on track.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Hmmm, a great deal of enthusiasm, and coming together.
Let`s see how fired up this party is for real for Willard.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, TALK SHOW HOST: Would you disagree then with Giuliani
and others when they say that there is no doubt that Mitt Romney would be a
better president than Barack Obama.

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: Yes, I think marginally so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Whoa, can you at home feel the excitement? And check out
this ringing praise coming from his supporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Do you still believe Mitt Romney is a liar?

NEWT GINGRICH (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I still believe that the
Romney campaign said things that weren`t true. I think that`s true.

BLITZER: Is Mitt Romney a liar?

GINGRICH: The Governor said things at times that weren`t true.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This reminds me of, you know, going to a surgeon,
right? If I`ve got a terrible cancer or something be operated on, when I
had to be operated on for prostate cancer, I didn`t go to the nicest
doctor, I went to the best doctor.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mitt is not a perfect candidate, he has a number of
problems, it`s hard for blue collar families like mine to identify with
him. It`s hard for economic conservatives to identify with him. He needs
to do more to reach out to the Latinos.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wow, he should bottle that kind of enthusiasm up. I`m sure
those Republicans still are on the sidelines will be real easy to win over.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Imagine, had Mitt Romney been around at the time
when we were drafting our constitution, he would have just shaken it after
it was approved to rewrite it.

RICK PERRY (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t think they
want someone to kill jobs in South Carolina on the altar of making more
money for themselves and their company.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mitt Romney, can he beat Obama?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: No, you can`t beat Obama, you can`t have a
candidate who has given the blueprint for Obama-care, it`s too identical.
It`s not going to happen.

PERRY: Mitt says, look at my record as governor. And we have, and
it`s a business.

RICK SANTORUM (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is someone who
doesn`t have a core, he has been on both sides of almost every single issue
in the past ten years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Governor Romney, as you take on President Obama, you might
want to keep an eye on those in your own party. You know, your friends?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION, President Obama officially
kicks off his campaign tomorrow with rallies in Ohio and Virginia. But he
is not hitting the road alone. Right by his side will be his not so secret
weapon for the November election. First Lady Michelle Obama. She has been
very visible in public lately out stumping for her husband on the campaign
trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m a little biased.
I think my husband has been a phenomenal president. First how Barack
fought for tax cuts. You can tell people about what Barack has done to
raise standards in our public schools.

We`ll going to keep working everyday to serve all of you as well as
you have served this country. And the man who has been leading the way is
standing right next to me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The First Lady isn`t just the President`s biggest
supporter, she is also one of his biggest draws. Her popularity is off the
charts, 71 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Michelle Obama.
Since the 2008 election, the First Lady has won over Americans by
championing causes like fighting against childhood obesity and getting
Americans on healthy diets. And in the last four years, America got to
know her down to earth personality and sense of fun.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA: That`s my target run. I went to target.

A woman actually walked up to me, right? I was in the detergent
aisle, and she said, excuse me, I just have to ask you something, and I
have thought, cover is blown. Can you reach on that shelf and hand me the
detergent. I kid you not.

I, he does that all the time. I can`t sing.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think he would say, he has a better singing voice
than you?

MICHELLE OBAMA: Yes, he does. He absolutely does.

(APPLAUSE)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s hard.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I just stopped.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Allison Samuels, an award winning senior
writer for Newsweek and The Daily Beast. And author of the new book, "What
Would Michelle Do?" Allison, thank you for being here.

ALLISON SAMUELS, AUTHOR, "WHAT WOULD MICHELLE DO": Thank you for
having me. Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Now, Allison. You spend a lot of time with Michelle, how
has she changed in the last four years?

SAMUELS: I think, you know, she has just become a lot more -- I don`t
think she changed a huge, I think this is who Michelle is. I think she`s
just been more visible with it. You`ve been able to see her want. You`ve
been able to see her candor. You`ve been able to see love for her country,
her love for her children, her family. I think she`s been in a more
visible place. She`s in all the different TV shows. She`s on Nickelodeon.
She`s at the kids` choice award. You`re just able now to see, you know,
the genuine woman, loving woman that she is that cares about her family and
wants the best.

SHARPTON: How key is she to this campaign?

SAMUELS: I think she`s incredibly key. As you said, she has a 71
percent approval rating, higher than President Obama`s and I think she is
someone that everyone can relate to. Every women can relate to her. Men
relate to her as a mother, as a family person as a white. I think everyone
relates to Michelle Obama because she is doing things like childhood
obesity. She`s fighting for soldiers, their families. Things that people
sort of see as basic, you know, sort of rights to have, basic needs they
need met. You know, Michelle Obama is sort of the face of that. So, she`s
incredibly key. They`re going to have her out there much more this time
than they have before.

SHARPTON: Now, in your book, you talk about, "What Would Michelle
Do," has she become a role model for a lot of young people in the country?

SAMUELS: I think so. I mean, I actually would like it to be little
bit more. But I think women are able to look at Michelle Obama and see
this woman who has in many ways, the sort of perfect life. He has this
marriage that has been going strong for almost 20 years. They seem to have
a mutual respect and love for each other, they have these wonderful two
young kids. You know, their mother-in-laws is living in the White House
with them. They`ve seen to figure out, Michelle seem to figured it out how
to have it all in a way. You know, she has the husband, the family, and
she also had a career that she sort of put aside to sort of help her
husband, but she can go back to it at any time. I think that`s really the
ideal for many women.

SHARPTON: One of the things you wrote in the book, Allison, as I`m
quoting the book, "Ever the survivor, Michelle graciously handled the
stress of the criticism and pressure districted at her husband, confident
in Barack`s ability to eventually get the country on the right track.
Always the diplomat, she rarely addressed the intense scrutiny, complaints
or criticisms directly."

SAMUELS: Right, she is a positive person in the sense of she looks at
the good side of everything. She feels if you dwell too much on the
negative, you get distracted, you get off your game. So, her point is to
take criticism when it is necessary, when it is, you know, valid. A lot of
the criticism, you know, pointed towards President Obama and Michelle has
not been valid. So, her thing is to decide, OK, what is valid. What is
something that I need to change versus what is just, you know, right wing
criticism that`s not based in fact. So, I think that`s the great part
about Michelle. She really does sit and she`s smart enough to understand,
this is I need to change, this is what I can`t change. This is how I can
sort of, you know, make things the way that they need to be for my family.

SHARPTON: Now, you`ve interviewed how you`ve been around here, how is
she do be around as a journalist. I have been around her in my civil
rights roll and other rolls, but how is it a journalist to be around her?

SAMUELS: I think she`s the dame. She`s like a sister friend, she`s
asking about your family is, how your mom is, how is everybody, you know,
where are you from? Just a genuine interest in who you are no matter
what`s your job. Doesn`t matter if you`re journalist, doesn`t matter if
you`re, you know, a pastor, doesn`t matter. I think she has a genuine
interest and concern in others and that comes through. And I think that
has been beneficial to Barack because, you know, sometimes he can`t sort of
have that sort of, hands on with everyone. Michelle can do that, I think
that`s something she`s very good at and helped her in her career and I
think now, it`s helped Barack a great deal as the President of United
States.

SHARPTON: Well, he`s certainly a big supporter. He showed how crazy
he was about her in a speech last week, watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: How about the First Lady Michelle Obama? She is a tough act
to follow. For the gentlemen out there who are not yet married, let me
just explain to you, your goal is to improve your gene pool, by marrying
somebody who is superior to you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Allison Samuels, senior writer for Newsweek and Daily
Beast. And author of "What Would Michelle Do?" Congratulations on the
book. And thank you for joining us. Have a good weekend.

SAMUELS: Thank you, you too.

SHARPTON: And you at home, thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton.
You all have a great weekend. "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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