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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

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Guests: Joan Walsh; Bob Shrum, Bev Perdue, Richard Wolffe, Maria Teresa Kumar, Paul Krugman


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

Tonight`s lead, the president tells Republicans, get to work. Today
the president went to Albany, New York where he unveiled a to-do list for
congress, to push them to help homeowners refinance their mortgages. Give
tax credit to small businesses. And put veterans back to work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know this is an
election year. But it`s not an excuse for inaction. Six months is plenty
of time for Democrats and Republicans to get together and do the right
thing. Taking steps that will spur additional job creation right now.

Just saying no to ideas that we know will help our economy isn`t an
option. There`s too much at stake. Each of these ideas on the list will
help accelerate our economy and put people back to work. Not in November,
not next year, but right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Get together and dot right thing. But, while the president
talked about the need for Democrats and Republicans to work together,
senate Republicans late today blocked a bill to keep student loan interest
rates from doubling.

These are the Republicans priority in 2012. Instead of getting
wealthy corporations to pay their interest rate plan, with higher taxes,
Republicans are willing to let poor student face huge bills and no
surprise, they`re blaming the president for their own filibuster.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: He`s still blaming his
predecessor. He got nearly everything he wanted for two years. He
borrowed and spent trillions. He took over the student loan industry. He
took over healthcare. He imposed his regulations. It`s his economy now.
The real enemy of recent college graduate is this president`s economic
policies. Until Democrats are willing to admit that, we`ll keep falling
behind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But they`re not the only ones blaming the president, their
presidential nominee Willard Mitt Romney acts as if the Republicans had
nothing, nothing at all to do what has happened to the economy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The lessons of the last four
years, teaches a great deal about the next four years. The president`s
plea that we simply ignore the last four years is actually his latest
effort to escape responsibility for the failures of the last four years.
His early attempt, as you recall, was it try and blame other. His
predecessor, congress, the one percent, oil companies. Failures were not
caused by others. They were caused by wrong choices.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Governor Romney, Congress is responsible. Republicans have
blocked the president`s efforts. Senate Republicans filibuster the
president`s jobs bill. They blocked the 9/11 first responders bill. House
Republicans demanded budget cuts before agreeing to disaster relief. And
house Republicans pass Willard Mitt Romney`s favorite social program
slasher, the Ryan budget, which guts programs that help millions of
Americans while rewarding yet again the richest in the country.

Republicans have admitted they won`t do anything to work with this
president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Your idol, as I`ve read anyway, was Ronald
Reagan and he compromised.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He never compromised his principles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, he raised taxes and it was one of his
principles not to raise taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, he also cut taxes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, you did compromise.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We found common ground.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why don`t you say -- you`re afraid of the work.

BOEHNER: I reject the word.

MCCONNELL: Our top priority over the next two years should be to deny
President Obama a second term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We know their game. Deny, deny, deny. But the president
is just heading forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: The truth is, the only way we can accelerate the job creation
that takes place on a scale that is needed, is bold action from congress.
Democrats and Republicans have to come together. And they have shown that
they can do it. I mean, they did some important work. They passed tax
cuts for workers. Approved trade deals to open up new markets for American
products.

If we work together with common purpose, I`ve got no doubt we can keep
moving this country forward and remind the world just why it is the United
States of America is the greatest nation on earth.

Thank you so much, everybody. God bless you. Blood bless America.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist and
Joan Walsh, editor-at-large of salon.com and also an MSNBC political
analyst.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thanks, Reverend.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here.

SHARPTON: Bob, while Mitt Romney supports the Ryan budget, so,
doesn`t that tie him to this congress and isn`t that problem for him?

SHRUM: I think it will be and I think we will hear a huge amount
about the Ryan budget as we go on through this campaign. I mean, senior
citizens or one of the groups where the president is having some trouble.
I think what the Ryan budget does to Medicare, which is basically to
devastate it, leave mercy at the insurance companies. Raise their cause by
an average of $6500 a year. We are going to hear a lot about that.

Romney`s big problem here, and it`s a very large problem, is that he
is totally holding out to the Republican right wing.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: He is afraid of his right wing shadow. I mean, look what
happened yesterday when somebody said, you know, the president ought to be
tried for treason.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: He couldn`t do what McCain did in 2008, which was grab the mic
back from a lady who said something like that and said, I`m sorry, you`re
just wrong. So I think he is totally enthralled these folks and I think he
will be held to account in the campaign.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan. This weekend, the president said, that Romney
was a champion for the Republican agenda. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This time, they want even bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans. This time they want even deeper cuts to things like education,
and medication, and research, and technology.

Republicans in Congress found the nominee for president who promised
to rubber stamp this agenda if he gets the chance.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now Joan, the more the president can tie him to that
agenda, rubber stamp, blocking student interest rates billed today that
really is going to cause student an average of $1,000 or more if it passes
the house. I mean, the more he does that, does that not politically help
the president?

WALSH: It absolutely helps the president politically, Reverend Al. I
mean, I think that we can all be proud that president in the last few
months has really begun to, after a long time trying to comprise and God
bless him, he tried, he reached out, he tried to reach a grand bar on all
the things we saw in the first two and half years, he realized that all
they wanted to do was defeat him. And he is now putting forward his own
agenda for the future. And he is doubling down on education and he is
talking about science and he is talking about helping student with their
loan burden. We need to do more, frankly, than even we are doing.

But the interest rate cut is a big step and I think he`s really
putting forward the vision of parallel vision of America that if you can`t
get the Republicans to come along, he is going to sell it to the American
people and he is going to make people optimistic that if we invest in our
future, we can have the kind of country that we had in the 50s and 60s when
we were growing the middle class, based on government spending.

No one talks about that. The president is beginning to talk about
that. We are going to have two very stark choices. And Mitt Romney is
stuck with the Ryan budget. But I don`t get the feeling that he feels
stuck. You know, I think he has doubled down on this. This is what he
wants. He is going forward. Let`s have a great election with two very
stark choices.

SHARPTON: Joan may be right, Bob, because Romney said that the
president is moving the economy sideways. Look at this, whatever that
means.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: He is asking us and nevertheless to look only at the years
ahead, to consider how much better his policies will make things down the
road. But in our hearts we know. As much as we would like it believe him,
we know that America is going in the wrong direction. Not forward, but
sideways, or worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not forward but sideways.

SHRUM: Or worse.

SHARPTON: What does that mean?

SHRUM: It is a speech writer`s line that somebody gave him. He is
going out there and saying. The fact is, the president I think can make a
very strong case. And will make a strong case, that he inherited a
complete disaster.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: And that he did a number of things to help turn that around.
We are not where we need to be but we are heading in the right direction.
The problem with Romney is Romney-nomics and this Ryan stuff have all been
tried in Europe, and it was resolved in Britain, in France, all across
Europe as they have a double dip recession as they cut and cut and cut.

What these folks have done, it`s ideology for them, they are kicking
billion airs over Bachelors` degrees, for kids trying to go to college.
And it is also political calculation for them. They want recession. They
want things to get as bad as they can possible can here because they think
it is their only route to the White House, and it really is.

SHARPTON: But Joan, at the same time he says the economy is going
sideways, he admits it is getting better. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS RADIO HOST: How do you answer the
president`s argument that the economy is getting better in a general
election campaign if you yourself are saying that it is getting better?

ROMNEY: Well of course it is betting better. The economy always gets
better after recession. There is always a recovery.

I believe the economy is coming back. We will see what happens.
There are ups and downs. I think it is finally coming back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, you know, Bob says this Romney-nomics. I call it
Willard-nitis. I mean, it`s like every January it is getting better. Lane
is getting better. Now it is going sideways. But we`re not hearing a
policy laid out plan that says a, b, c, d, this is what I propose to really
deal with the problems. He voted for the Ryan plan, which does not deal
with the problems. And really slashes a lot of programs for middle class
and poor Americans.

WALSH: Well, right. And this motion, Reverend Al, that the president
got everything he wanted for the last two years, is so preposterous, as you
pointed out. And if we go back to 2009 when the president`s stimulus did
pull the economy out of the ditch, he knew and his people knew, basically
deep down, that it wasn`t going to be quite large enough. But it was as
large as they could get through Congress that point. They needed
Republican votes so they compromise. They threw a lot of tax cuts in it.
It did pull us out - it did prevent a depression. Mark Zandi, John
McCain`s economic adviser has said that, so we know it helped. But it
wouldn`t be larger and we couldn`t o go back from more even though it
worked because of the Republican Party.

So yes, their prescription is to drive the economy into another ditch,
so they can help people will be miserable and scared and reject the current
leadership. We`re going to hope that doesn`t happen.

SHARPTON: Bob, you ran some presidential campaigns. And I think part
of the problem here is that they planned on the economy doing worse than it
is and maybe we are left with no theme. So how do you call it now? Six
months to the election. What do you see happening?

SHRUM: I think the president is going to win. And in fact, I don`t
pay much attention to these national Gallup tracking polls and the other
national tracking polls. Because if you look state by state in these
battle ground states, the president is doing very well. I think that`s
where all of the energy is going to go.

There`s one other thing helping here, and it is not just the economy.
It is Romney. You know, watching him tonight, as you unspool the reels,
reminded me of what a friend of mine, a Hollywood legend named Joe Heim
(ph) said, about a really bad movie. He said the audience just doesn`t
believe it.

Romney is something that I think the audience, the American people, he
is someone that we`re just not going to believe.

SHARPTON: Bob Shrum and Joan Walsh, thank you for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Rick Santorum finally endorses Mitt Romney, late
at night in an e-mail. What the latest temperature of support says about
the presumptive Republican nominee.

And we`ll talk to North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue who is waging a
one woman campaign against GOP extremism, and the state`s new anti-gay
initiative on the ballot today.

Plus, Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman says the solution to
our financial crisis is in reach and incredibly simple. I`ll ask him about
it when we joins me here live.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: North Carolina Republicans have been pushing one extreme
bill after another. Photo id, abortion restrictions, cuts to education.
But one leader is standing in their way. And fighting for what`s right.
She`s democratic Governor Bev Perdue. And she joins us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

It is Election Day in North Carolina. Voters are going to the poll to
decide if the state should become the 31st with a constitutional amendment
that says marriage should be between a man and a woman.

Amendment one has been hotly contested with spending by both sides
topping $3 million. It`s a lot of money to ban same-sex marriage,
especially since it`s already been banned. That`s right. The state
already banned gay marriage in 1996. And this amendment doesn`t just re-
ban, it also hurts civil unions and domestic partnerships for straight
couples as well as for gay ones.

One of the most vocal opponents of the amendment has been democratic
governor Bev Perdue, who called it bad for families in an ad released last
month. But unfortunately, it is just the latest extreme proposal she`s had
to fight back against.

Republicans of North Carolina have been on a right wing thrill ride
since taking over the state legislature in 2010. But Governor Perdue has
vetoed a record 16 bills to protect the people in her state, bills with new
abortion restrictions, a voter id bill, and a budget that slashed education
spending and defunded planned parenthood.

And while some Republicans were able to override some of the vetoes,
Perdue is still fighting back.

Joining me live from Raleigh, North Carolina, is the woman herself,
democratic governor Bev Perdue.

Governor, thank you for joining me today.

First off, let`s talk about amendment one. The polls in your state
close in just a little over an hour. Why should people go out and vote no
on this amendment, Governor Perdue?

GOV. BEV PERDUE (D), NORTH CAROLINA: Because it is a bad amendment
for North Carolina`s economy. It changes our brand. Sounds like from our
intro that you know a lot about what is going on in our state. It`s a
divisive piece of legislation. It`s unnecessary. It is not about gay
marriage. It is about what you said, intruding on civil unions, and
domestic partnerships. It hurts children`s healthcare plan. It hurts
domestic violence. It is just a bad thing.

I had an e-mail this afternoon from a friend from California. He said
I`m just sitting here watching what is happening in North Carolina. It`s
not what we want in the state. We have been progressive, Al. We`re proud
of what we have become in the last 50 years. And this is one more chance
by Republican extremism, and to tear down the fabric after great state.

SHARPTON: Now, isn`t it true that many people voting were not clear
on all of the dimensions of this bill thinking this was only about same-sex
marriage and don`t understand the other component and the fact that there
already is a law banning same-sex marriage in the state.

PERDUE: Well, that has been the whole issue. That`s why $3 million
have been spent on both sides. We already have a law. We don`t need this
constitutional ban. And plus, it is just wrong for a constitution to take
away liberties rather than ensure liberties. That`s what constitutions are
about, protecting our rights, not taking them away.

And the rhetoric has been very divisive. It is an intrusion. I found
in the last 18 months that this new Republican extreme majority wants to
continue to intrude not just in our schools classrooms but in our bedrooms.
And this is another example. First, they were after Planned Parenthood and
choice and now they are after domestic unions.

SHARPTON: Now, president -- former president Bill Clinton lent his
voice to an anti--amendment one Robo call has been going out around the
state. Let me play that for you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m calling to
urge you to vote against amendment 1 on Tuesday, May 8th. If it passes, it
won`t change North Carolina`s law on the marriage. The real effect of the
law is not to keep the traditional marriage, it has already done that. The
real effect of the law will be to hurt families and drive away jobs. North
Carolina can do better.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But at the same time, evangelist Billy Graham ran a full
page ad in 14 newspapers across the state urging people to vote for the
amendment. And it read.

"At 93 I never thought we would have to debate the definition of
marriage. The bible is clear. God`s definition of marriage is between a
man and woman. I want it urge my fellow North Carolinians to vote for this
marriage amendment on Tuesday, May 8th which clearly doesn`t really say
what the entire amendment is about, governor.

PERDUE: Al, I have great respect for Billy Graham. He is a personal
friend of my family, my husband and I. We love him and love what he has
done for America. But on this issue, it is just not clearly told in his
letter, his advertisement. This is not about gay marriage. This is about
civil rights for individuals. And we already have that law on the books.
It is absolutely unnecessary and this kind of disinformation has permeated
the fabric of North Carolina.

SHARPTON: Now, let me turn to some of the other bills you have
vetoes. Some were overwritten by Republicans. But one permanently was
stopped was the voter id bill, something that we talk about a lot on this
show. Republicans tried but failed to override your veto. That was a
great victory, wasn`t it?

PERDUE: It was a great victory. But it is not over until it`s over,
Al, you know that.

SHARPTON: Right.

PERDUE: They are coming back next Thursday and I would imagine that
there will be another attempt to override the veto. I mean, again, this is
extremism. And we are in the world did we come to an America where we are
trying to keep people from voting.

In North Carolina, other people -- a person in a nursing home couldn`t
vote. The vote would disenfranchise more than a million people in this
great state. And we want folks to vote. I just voted myself early. I had
to tell my drivers, I had to tell my address, I had to say who I was, I had
to sign an affidavit swearing that I was who I said was. We have a process
in place to prosecute people who lie. That is not a problem in North
Carolina.

SHARPTON: It is not a problem, Governor?

PERDUE: No, it hadn`t been a problem. There have been, just very few
case of voter fraud reported. The press is very clear about that. This is
just another attempt to intimidate folks who want to come to the poll and
vote. It is pure, clear, simple try to --

SHARPTON: Governor, it is not a problem and you say it`ll
disenfranchise a million people in North Carolina.

PERDUE: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: They attempted to override it once, unsuccessfully. You
say they are coming back. Why is it so important to them, do you think,
that they are keeping this going when it is really not a problem? What`s
their real motive?

PERDUE: Al, the motive is simple. They don`t want a million people
showing up next November. They didn`t want those people showing up today
and we sustained the veto.

So, right now we are fine on primary day. But this would be great.
This would be great for Romney and the whole Republican ticket. Let`s keep
these folks at home because the majority of people, we believe, are going
to vote democratic. A lot of people that are older don`t have a voter id
to start with; don`t have a federal license or state license.

SHARPTON: Governor Perdue, thank you for your time and service.

PERDUE: Thank you, Al. Come to North Carolina and visit us.

SHARPTON: I sure will.

Coming up, Rick Santorum offers a full endorse many of Willard for
president, in 13th paragraph of a press release. How is that for being you
a supportive?

But first, Karl Rove makes a whopper over claim about those attack ads
he is running against President Obama and other Democrats. Well bust that
one wide open, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s pop quiz time here on "Politics Nation." It`s pretty
simple test. We play an ad and you at home say if it`s political or not.
Let`s get right to the first ad. Roll it.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

SHARPTON: So what do you think, folks? Was this a political ad? If
you said yes, you are correct. It was indeed a political ad. Pretty
obvious one there. Let`s try another one. Roll it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Obama`s administration restricted oil
production in the gulf, limited development of American oil shale, and
Obama personally lobbied to kill a pipeline bringing oil from Canada. The
president`s playing politics. Tell President Obama, bad energy policies
mean energy prices we can`t afford.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So how about that? Was it a political ad? If you said
yes, you`re wrong. That was not a political ad. Weird, right? How is an
ad that attacks a politician not political? Because Karl Rove said so.
Seriously, he founded both the groups that made both ads. And decided one
group is political and the other isn`t.

The second ad made by Rove`s crossroads GPS is described as an issue
ad. So, why the difference? It all comes down to money. Rove`s issues
group has filed its first tax forms with the IRS and has filed as a
nonprofit organization. To do that, is antagonist ads attacking candidates
aren`t political but issue based.

The "Huffington Post" reports that the nonprofit group, like this, is
supposed to promote social welfare. How do attack ads promote social
welfare? But issue based nonprofits don`t have to disclose their donors
while political organizations do. So when a mystery donor gave $10 million
to crossroads GPS to run anti-Obama ads, Rove didn`t have to say who gave
the money. Did Rove think we wouldn`t call him out for this shady move?
Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with GOP`s weak attempt to
rally behind Willard Mitt Romney. The latest endorsement comes from his
former rival Rick Santorum. Wait, you missed it? That`s because it
happened under the cover of night. Last night. At 11:00, to be exact.
Nearly a month after suspending his campaign. Rick Santorum sent a 16-
paragraph e-mail to his supporters, formally endorsing Willard. But it is
not like any endorse I`ve ever seen before. In the third paragraph,
Santorum tells his supporters quote, "It was completely impossible for me
to even consider an endorsement until after meeting with Romney." In the
seventh paragraph, he says, quote, "Our policy prescriptions differed." In
the 12th paragraph he says, "Governor Romney and I have some differences."
And he goes on to say, "I had concerns about Governor Romney fighting
against Obama-care." Then finally, as if it may be if his supporters made
it this far, in the 13th paragraph Santorum finally says, quote, "He has my
endorsement." Wow, this is the worst endorsement for Romney we`ve seen
since the last endorsement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, 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: Now compare all of this to how Romney himself endorsed the
man who beat him back in 2008.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I am honored today to give
my full support to Senator McCain`s candidacy for the presidency of the
United States. Today, I`m asking for my delegates to vote for Senator
McCain at the convention. And this is a man capable of leading our country
in a dangerous hour.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, joining me now is Richard Wolffe, an MSNBC political
analyst, he`s also the author of "Revival: The Struggle for Survival Inside
the Obama White House." And Maria Teresa Kumar, executive director of Voto
Latino and an MSNBC contributor. Thanks to you both for being here. Let
me start with you, Richard. Some really grudging endorsements. Is there
any real love for Romney at all in the GOP?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Can you blame these people?
Look, they had tens of millions of dollars dumped on their head and there
are bad feelings at the end of it. Remember that Santorum`s endorsement of
Romney in 2008 was rammed down his throat by Mitt Romney all the way
through the end of that primary contest. So, bad feelings are going to be
there. Really the weight is on the endorsee, not the endorser, to be
gracious here and bring the party together. You know, Hillary Clinton in
2008 did not particularly give a gracious speech when the now president had
gotten enough delegates to take the nomination. She talked about the
cracked ceiling and it sounded like she wanted to fight on. But when it
came to convention time, she was in the fold. And that`s because there was
a lot of outreach that has gone on not just then but since then. We
haven`t seen Romney do that.

SHARPTON: Now, Maria, do you think in the end this will matter much?
Do you think that it is significant? What do you think?

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, VOTO LATINO: I think it is pretty significant. I
think the fact that subject heading just said Governor Romney with that e-
mail that Santorum sent out says it all. Does that really want you -- do
you really want to click on that e-mail and read it more? I don`t think
so. And I think what it says is that recognizing that a lot of his key
points in the Gallup poll is he is actually doubt and not winning against
Barack Obama. He`s going to need that enthusiasm to close within the
Republican Party and Santorum is one of the very few people that can
actually rally the troops around the Tea Party and the evangelicals. And
he is just not delivering, I think what Richard said is absolutely right.
Romney shows his own leadership within his own party and start bringing the
trips together or to make sure that they are lining up behind him.

SHARPTON: Lots of other political news today, including a big
republican gaff on Romney`s immigration views. His position. Now today,
the RNC coordinator and Romney`s immigration stance says, I think as a
candidate to my understanding, that he is still deciding what his position
on immigration is. Richard?

WOLFFE: That`s the person who is doing outreach to the Latino
community. I mean, it would be funny if these weren`t actually serious
issues. So, I`m trying not to be too amused. But really honestly, how
pathetic is it? He`s been campaigning for the last several years. His
actual position is this concept called self deportation, which means making
life so awful for immigrants, whether they are legal or illegal that
everyone just wants to leave. But in any case, it doesn`t make any sense
because he doesn`t really know how to tap back from the extreme positions
that he took in the primaries. Please just make a decision. If you are
running for commander-in-chief, make a decision, have a position. And then
the outreach people can do some outreach.

SHARPTON: Well Maria, he had a very straight forward position during
the primaries. Let`s play what he said about immigration.

WOLFFE: That`s right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: So if you don`t deport them, how do you send them
home?

ROMNEY: Well, the answer is self deportation. Which is people decide
they can do better by going home because they can`t find work here.
Because they don`t have legal documentation to allow them to work here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Maybe his coordinator didn`t know about self deportation.

KUMAR: Or the fact that he is not -- or the fact that he is against
the Dream Act, which is like the simplest form of passing some sort of
comprehensive immigration reform or the fact that he has strange bed
fellows such as Russell Pearce, the architect behind the SB 1070, the
Arizona law that basically said Russell Pearce basically said that Mitt
Romney`s immigration policy was identical to his. Or the fact that Kris
Kobach, the architect of all these anti-immigration laws are basically --
he is a spokesperson for the Romney campaign. You can you go down the list
of folks that are actually very clear on what Romney`s position is. That
he himself stated. So, I think that they are trying, again, to do the
etch-a-sketch and basically reposition him and realign him to go after the
Latino vote. But I think as Richard said and you said, Reverend, it is a
little too late. We have too much documentation to prove otherwise.

SHARPTON: Well, they`re going to need that etch-a-sketch. But
Richard, let me.

WOLFFE: Have it.

SHARPTON: Let me go to plan B. Plan B is something that in February,
Romney denounced. Let me play for you Willard on plan b.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLFFE: The same administration said that churches, and the
institutions they`re run, such as schools and let`s say adoption agencies,
hospitals, that they have to provide for their employees free of charge.
Contraceptives, morning after pills. And other words abortive pills and
the like, at no cost.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Richard, he is squarely against contraception, totally
against it, very clear on that. But now we find out he is attending a
$50,000 a plate fund-raiser next week with plan b maker Phil Frost whose
chairman of Teva Pharmaceuticals, a company that makes contraceptives like
plan b. Now, when ThinkProgress.com comes out with this today, how do you
oppose contraceptives but attend a fund-raiser where the chairman of the
company that makes them, raising money for you? Little hypocritical
Richard?

WOLFFE: Well, look, he is palling around with plan b. You know, the
Republicans want it to make an argument back in 2008 that you could judge a
candidate, in that case, Barack Obama, by the company he was keeping at
certain points of his career. In this campaign, Mitt Romney`s got a
problem about what he stands for. And for as long as his private meetings,
the money that he is raising, don`t stack up to his public comments, he is
going it face this perennial question which is, what do you support? What
do you stand for? So it is not just hypocrisy, it is what is the real Mitt
Romney? What is his real agenda here? And he is not really answering it
by confusing the picture in this way.

SHARPTON: Maria, does he need Santorum and others to help him keep
the conservatives in line or can he win without them?

KUMAR: I mean, he needs definitely Santorum. But I think that this
is perhaps the only time that Think Progress and Santorum might be aligned
in the sense that they don`t know or really trust Mitt Romney`s judgment
when it comes to contraception and the fact that, that basically the
endorsement from Santorum came so late at night is because I think Santorum
is kind of quietly itching saying, I hope that he doesn`t win, so I can run
in 2016.

SHARPTON: Maria Teresa Kumar, Richard Wolffe, thanks for your time
tonight.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.

KUMAR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman says,
fixing this economic crisis is almost incredibly easy. His solution,
straight ahead.

Plus, the republican governor of Maine tells the unemployed to quote,
"get off the couch and get a job." It`s the latest attack in the GOP war
on the poor.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks one more note about Rick Santorum`s endorsement of
Mitt Romney. They got us thinking about how these GOP candidates really
had like a bunch of little kids who just can`t play nice together. In
fact, today, we have listed some of New York`s finest young actors to give
us a dramatic reading on how this endorsement process has gone.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Hey, kids, guess who`s coming to the party? Mitt
Romney. Isn`t that fun?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: He doesn`t share.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: He`s a meany.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: But he`s a flip-flopper.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: He keeps all the delegates for himself.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Did you hear what he did to his dog?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: But he`s going to be the nominee, don`t you have
anything nice to say?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: No, ewww, he has cooties.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: He`s a poopy pants.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Obama-care was his idea.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Don`t you want to endorse Mitt Romney?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: No way!

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: No!

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Ewww!

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Come on, if you want to go to the big play date in
Tampa, you`re going to have to make nice with Willard.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Well, I guess I like him.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: He`s OK.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Better than that other guy, I guess.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Is that really the best you can do?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Fine, I endorse him. There. I said it.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Are you happy now?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: Great, I`m so proud of you.

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: But he`s not Reagan.

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: What was that?

UNIDENTIFIED BOY: Nothing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And a child shall lead thee. Maybe the GOP would be better
off.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. The problem with
republican economics is that it just doesn`t add up. It is full of ideas
that don`t make sense, auto bailouts that were the idea of Willard Mitt
Romney. Massive tax cuts that magically pay for themselves. Severe budget
cuts that act as a cure-all to everything. Luckily for me, I`m joined
onset tonight by someone who spent his life trying to make sense of all of
this and speak the truth. With me now is Nobel Prize winning economist
Paul Krugman. He is a columnist for the New York Times and author of the
new book "End This Depression Now." Mr. Krugman, thank you for your time
tonight, coming on the show. Quite an honor for us.

PAUL KRUGMAN, AUTHOR, "END THIS DEPRESSION NOW": Good to be on.

SHARPTON: You write in your book, quote, "In the great depression,
leaders had an excuse. Nobody really understood what was happening. Or
how to fix it. Today`s leaders don`t have that excuse. We have both the
knowledge and tools to end this suffering. Ending this depression should
be, could be, almost incredibly easy." So what`s the solution?

KRUGMAN: Right now, the state and local government, so they can
rehire the school teachers, those firefighters, those police officers, that
they have laid off. I mean, we got out of the great depression with a
large spending program, otherwise known as World War II. Or actually the
buildup to World War II. But the point is to have government spend while
the private sector is repairing the damage from the bubble years. And
right now, it is easy. The easiest thing in the world. Because we`ve had
these government cuts totally wrong headed government cuts these past three
years. Layoff the school teachers, layoff firefighters, layoff a police
officers. Get that money back. Start filling those potholes that have
been accumulating from deferred maintenance and we would be most of the way
back to full employment almost before you know it.

SHARPTON: So, austerity isn`t the answer, spending is the answer.

KRUGMAN: Spending, temporarily, not always. Spending isn`t always
the answer. But when you are in the depression, which we are, which is why
I call the book in this depression now, spending is the answer. It`s
austerity. We just had a giant experiment performed on the people of
Europe and the people of United States. And we know the answer now. This
is a disaster.

SHARPTON: Now, yesterday Mitt Romney took credit for the auto
bailout. Take a listen. Let me show you.

KRUGMAN: My own view by the way, was that the auto companies needed
to go through bankruptcy before government help. And frankly, that`s
finally what the President did. He finally took them through bankruptcy.
That was the right course. I argued for it from the very beginning. It
was the UAW and President that delayed the idea of bankruptcy. I pushed
the idea of a managed bankruptcy and finally when that was done, and help
was given, the companies got back on their feet. So, I will take a lot of
credit for the fact that this industry has come back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Am I missing something here?

KRUGMAN: He was always against it. I mean, the missing element there
was, everybody agreed, you`re going to have bankruptcy. The question was,
who`s going to provide the financing. Because nobody at that point was
going to provide the financing you needed just to keep the things
operating. To keep the companies operating. To keep the industry up and
running. And the government had to do it. And when push came to shove,
Romney said no, I`m against that. So, now he is claiming credit for the
policy that if been up to him, wouldn`t have been followed.

SHARPTON: Now, a new report out today shows there`s been way more
private sector jobs under democratic presidents. If you look at the last
four presidents alone, George H.W. Bush created 1.5 million private sector
jobs, Clinton created over 20 million. George W. Bush lost 600,000 jobs.
Obama has just about broken even. What does this tell us?

KRUGMAN: Well, it is telling you first of all that the claimed
republican, you know, they claimed that they know how to run the economy.
It`s just history says no. It just hasn`t been true. And the
administration after administration, Republicans actually do worse than the
corresponding democrat. It also tells you, that the big drain on this
economy right now is not the story of the Obama scaring the private sector.
The story is those cut backs on public employment. If we had created
public sector jobs as fast as George W. Bush did over this corresponding
period instead of cutting back, we would be a million and half more people
working in the public sector. Probably two-and-a-half million or three
million more working in the country as a whole. We would basically out of
this depression if only we hadn`t had those government cut backs.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, you have written extensively, and I read
you, every week. Twice a week, you write a lot about income and equality.
And over the past 30 years, we have seen the top one percent grow their
income by 275 percent while the bottom has seen much, much less growth.
How much of this growing gap can be blamed on political polarization?

KRUGMAN: Well, it works both ways. A lot of the political
polarization, this coming from the income and equality. And affect, the
one percent bought themselves a party and that why the parties are so far
apart right new. The political stuff, it`s part of it. We used to have
strong unions. They were one source after reasonable amount of equality.
The -- unions didn`t happen all around the world. Happens specifically in
the United States, not to the same extent, not in different countries.
That was political. That was the political environment. Minimum wage is
not kept up with earnings. That`s political. Deregulation of the
financial industry, a lot of those super high incomes are coming from
financial wheeling and dealing that was made possible because we dismantled
a new deal of Europe protections. So, I`m not saying it is all of it but
kind a lot of it is political. And, you know, the two countries, we have
had by far the greatest increase in income inequality because we`ve had the
most sharp right ward swing. The other country that`s kind of shadow,
that`s part of the way is Margaret Thatcher`s Britain. So, it is
political.

SHARPTON: Paul Krugman, thank you for your time tonight. The new
book is, and I have it right here, the "End of Depression Now." Take it
from me, it`s a must-read. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans are trying a new approach to have their way
with the economy. Their attacks on the President are failing. So, they`re
pinning it directly on the unemployed. Yes, you heard right. Just this
weekend, Maine Governor Paul LePage told people to get off their couches
and get a job.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. PAUL LEPAGE (R), MAINE: There is such a thing as a free lunch.
But you`re picking up the tab. Maine`s welfare program is cannibalizing
the rest of state government. But to all you able-bodied people out there,
get off the couch and get yourself a job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Get off the couch. Really, Governor? Do you honestly
think it`s that easy to find work? But he is not alone. North Carolina
Representative Virginia Foxx is blaming college graduates for having
student loan debt.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. VIRGINIA FOXX (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I have very little tolerance
for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even
$80,000 of debt. Because there`s no reason for that. I remind folks all
the time that the declaration of independence says, life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness. You don`t sit on your butt and have it dumped in
your lap.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You just keep telling yourself that, Congresswoman. Of
course, we can`t forget our old friend Herman Cain. He doesn`t understand
why you`re not already rich.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HERMAN CAIN, ENTREPRENEUR: Don`t blame Wall Street. Don`t blame the
big banks. If you don`t have a job and you`re not rich, blame yourself.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What`s worse, these attacks come while the unemployed are
already struggling. This weekend, California`s long-term unemployment
benefits are set to expire for nearly 100,000 people. And as of March,
there are still more than three job seekers for every one job opening.
People are out looking for work. People are struggling to put their
families in a way that they can survive or at least live more comfortably.
It`s bad enough the economy has injured them. It`s worse, it`s
irresponsible, to insult the injured calling them names.

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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