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PoliticsNation, Monday, May 14, 2012

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Guests: Jared Bernstein, Joan Walsh, Chaka Fattah, Joe Madison, Richard Wolffe, Michael Steele, Paige
Sultzbach, Pamela Sultzbach, Chris Estilow

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

Tonight`s lead, Willard Mitt Romney claims he`s Mr. Economy. And he is
hoping voters will judged on hid record as a businessman. Willard, be
careful what you wish for.

President Obama`s campaign has just released a new two minute add in five
key swing states hitting Willard`s claims of being a job creator. By
showing he killed jobs at one Kansas city steel mill while he was CEO at
Bain Capital. Steel workers hit him for Bain`s ruthlessness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE SOPTIC, STEELWORKER, 30 YEARS: They made as much money as they could,
and they closed it down and filed for bankruptcy, without any concern for
the families and community.

JOHN WISEMAN, STEELWORKER, 29 YEARS: Bain Capital locked away with a lot
of money that they made of this plant. We view Mitt Romney as a job
destroyer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The steel workers also attack him for being a hypocrite.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To get on national TV and brag about making jobs when
he destroyed thousands of people`s careers and lifetimes, just destroyed
people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is running for president, and if he is running it
the way he ran our business, I would not want him there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There`s no wonder that work who wouldn`t want Willard to be
president, 750 jobs were lost at that plant, one plant alone. Bain Capital
made $12 million of the closing of the plant while the government had to
spend $44 million to bail out the worker`s pension plan. Of course, this
isn`t the first time Romney`s record as a ruthless corporate raider has
been called into question. Remember this ad a few months back?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney bane CEO of Bain Capital the day the
company was formed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They fire people. They cut benefits. They sell
assets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney, Bain guys, they don`t care who I am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For tens and thousands of Americans, the suffering
began when Mitt Romney came to town.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, that ad could have come from the president, but it didn`t.
It came from the super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich.

Finally, Democrats and Republicans have found something they can agree on.
No one thinks Willard is a great job`s creator, not even his friends in the
GOP .

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE; We need to have
more venture capitalism going on in America and less vulture capitalism.
The idea that you come in and you destroy people`s lives, the idea that you
come in just to make a quick profit.

This company, Bain Capital, of all the jobs that they killed. I`m sure he
would worry he would run out of pink slips.

NEWT GINGRICH, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They apparently looted the
companies, left people totally unemployed and walked out with millions of
dollars. When somebody comes in takes all the money out of your company
and then lead you bankrupt where they go off with millions, that`s not
traditional capitalism.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Even Willard can`t seem to remember how many jobs he supposedly
created. He started out claiming he created 100,000 jobs at Bain. But
when the facts didn`t back it up, he changed his story first to tens of
thousands of jobs, didn`t all the way down to just thousands.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you take those places where we
able to add jobs and subtract those that lost jobs, we added over a hundred
thousand jobs.

We started a number of businesses, invested in many others, and that
overall created tens of thousands of jobs.

Later, I help start companies and those began with just an idea, and
somehow they made it through the difficult times and were able to create a
good return for investors and thousands of jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Willard, I know it gets confusing. So, let me lay the facts out
for you. Twenty two percent of the companies bought by Bain Capital filed
for bankruptcy or closed their doors. But Bain investors were cashing in
big as Willard as his investors raked in $2.5 billion in profits, and of
course, we can`t forget Willard`s wonderful work as a job creator as
governor of Massachusetts.

Under his leadership, Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job
creation. So Willard, your city think you`re Mr. Economy? The president
disagrees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He ran a large financial
firm and he has run a state. But I think he has drawn the wrong lessons
from those experiences. He sincerely believe that`s if CEOs and wealthy
investors like him make money the rest of us will automatically prosper as
well.

Bigger profits haven`t led to better jobs. Governor Romney doesn`t seem to
get that. He doesn`t seem to understand that maximizing profits by
whatever means necessary, whether through layoffs or outsources or tax
avoidance, or union busting might not always be good for the average
American, or for the American economy.

I don`t care how many ways you try to explain it, corporations aren`t
people, people are people.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman Chaka Fattah, a democrat from
Pennsylvania, and Joan Walsh, editor at large for salon.com, also an MSNBC
political analyst.

Thank you for being here tonight.

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

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me start with you. Has Mitt learned the wrong
lessons from his time at Bain Capital?

FATTAH: Well look. You know, I drove here in a GM car, if it was up to
him, rather than GM being number one in the world as auto maker, they would
be out of business and more than a million auto workers would be out of
their job.

It`s not just work at Bain, you have to look at what he is saying now. He
is saying he`s for the Ryan budget which would gut so many of the needed
programs to help people with job training and job placement.

So, if you have a job today, that`s because President Obama and his team
stabilized the economy. If you are looking for work, you need to bet on
the fact that 26 months of private sector jobs added in our economy, over
four million jobs because of the leadership of this administration, you
don`t want to take a risky bet on Romney. Because he has - you know, he
has got this view that profits are somehow more important, that
corporations are the people, and workers are something less than that.

And I think we have to really put this into focus. I`m glad you talked
about what Gingrich said. Because he said look at what he did in terms of
downsizing these companies. Look what Governor Perry said and Santorum.
These are not Democrats. These are people saying there`s a lot of ways to
do business. But when you put the future of people at the end of the bus,
that`s a problem.

SHARPTON: Congressman, people are concerned about the economy. They`re
concerned about jobs, and Mr. Romney, people will say, why am I raising
this about Bain, he said that he has experience, and he uses Bain as his
experience.

So therefore, it is fair game to go to where he led us. He didn`t lead us
to just being governor of Massachusetts. He has emphasized he knows more
than the president because of what he did at Bain. Well, we laid it out
there what he has done at Bain, is it not the only read we can go on? It`s
the only one we have been pointed to.

FATTAH: Well, the beauty is the other side everything about President
Obama that you could even think to say, and the minute you say something
about governor Romney they cry foul. But, if you want to look at his
record as governor and his record as a business leader, and in both cases
when it comes to employment and economic opportunity for working families,
his record leaves you wanting.

And I think working families in our country, for those in the middle class,
those who travel and get in the middle class, you really got to wonder why
you would turn over the reins of power to governor Romney when in fact he
said he is for the Ryan budget, he was for Detroit going bankrupt, and he
ran Bain, in which 22 percent of the companies went bankrupt and people
lost their jobs.

SHARPTON: Joan, Governor Romney has said he is a great job`s creator.
This president has failed, are we going in the right direction to examine
if his claims are what they say or not.

WALSH: Absolutely, Reverend Al. I mean, I love this ad. I think it`s
very important that governor Romney said over and over that I want this
election to be fought on the terrain of jobs. He has a quote that "I know
where the jobs come from and I know where they go." He clearly knows where
they go because he has participated in getting rid of a lot of them.

And I think it`s - that it is important for the president because it`s a
terrific ad to talk to the white working class. Now, we both know that
President Obama had a problem with them. All Democrats have a problem with
them, sadly, and have for quite a few years, President Obama actually
brought more of them back then John Kerry did. He has got an uphill
battle. He probably will not carry that demographic, but this is an ad
that really says look at this guy who pretends to care about you.

This is his job experience, this is what he brings, this is the mind-set
that he brings to quote, "Fix the economy." He did not fix it for these
steel workers who gave their lives to that steel mill. Here they are
talking in their own words about what governor Romney did to them. It`s
not politician --

SHARPTON: Very interesting, Joan, because "the Washington Post" had a poll
on how candidates are doing with non-college white voters. And Mitt Romney
was ahead of the president 61 to 31. So you`re saying these ads speak
directly to that type of voter?

WALSH: Yes, and in the voices of that type of voter. It`s not you or me
talking about what president or Mitt Romney has done, it`s these voters
telling them what happened in their own lives. I think it`s a very, very
powerful add for that reason.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman. Mitt Romney released an ad claiming he
created jobs at the steel plant, let me show you that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Steel dynamics started with an empty feel and a big
dream. But SDI almost never got started. When other snide away, Mitt
Romney`s private sector leadership team stepped in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Well, what was interesting is earlier this year, "the Los
Angeles Times" reported the company Steel Dynamics succeed because of
government help, that Bain invested $18.2 million, and state and county
pledged $37 million in subsidies and grants. County levied new income tax
to finance Steel Mill improvements.

This couldn`t be the people that don`t believe in government getting
involved and being intricately involved in what`s going on in the business
of the affairs of the people of this country, could it, congressman?

FATTAH: Well, Governor Romney, when he was the head of Massachusetts,
fought for every federal grant he could get. When he was headed in
Olympics, he came with putting for money for Olympics support here and for
the games, and when he had this steel mill, he was very willing to accept
government aid.

It`s only when it comes time to run in a Republican primary, or become the
Republican nominee, that he wants to discount the important role of
government. You know, capitalism works but only when you create the
atmosphere for it to work. And you need road, you need highways, you need
war systems. You need a lot of support so that private sector businesses
can function and our economy.

And hopefully when we focus on these kinds of contradictions, you`ll see
why it`s been so important that the president has been able to move forward
on a lot of these initiatives. We would even do better if Romney could
convince some of these Republicans in the congress to let us move this
transportation bill so we could fix up bridges and highways and create for
jobs.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, so when you look at the fact, quoting again to a
"Washington Post" poll, that the president is behind Romney, when people
are asked about where`s the bad ideas for the economy, you`re saying these
ads are effective and needed because it addresses right to the issue that
the really the only issue so far poll that the president is trailing
Willard Romney in.

WALSH: Yes, exactly, Reverend Al. Because I think people don`t know yet.
We have tuned in a long time ago to this primary season. But regular
voters are just now tuning in. They`re worried about the economy and so
they give governor Romney the benefit of the doubt. They want things to
change for the better. They are hoping he can do it.

And I think the president has to do two things. Obviously, he has to tout
his own record, and he has a record of job creation. But, he has to define
governor Romney on this point that Governor Romney says it`s his most
important attribute, his biggest asset, his knowledge about the economy and
make it very clear the American people what kind of economy the governor
would want to create, and it`s one that private capital - you know, Rick
Perry called it vulture capitalism. The Obama ad called it vampire
capitalism, It`s not a kind of capitalism that`s very good for working
people. And I think this is a great ad to help the president get out in
front and defining Romney that way.

SHARPTON: Congressman Chaka Fattah and Joan Walsh. Thank you both for
your time tonight.

WALSH: Thank you.

FATTAH: Thank you.


SHARPTON: Coming up, Republicans running on Paul Ryan`s budget, and
running into trouble. Call it the Ryan effect.

Plus, new signs of strife in the GOP. Some fellow Republicans were caught
actually bullying Mitt Romney`s son at a state convention.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

And I`ll talk to a young lady making national headlines for what her
opponents on the baseball diamond refused to do.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, more than 230,000 unemployed Americans woke up with
nothing. No benefits, no help, nobody to take care of them. GOP policy at
real life consequences, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

Today, benefits have run out for more than 230,000 Americans. They can
thank the Republicans in Congress for that. Back in February, the GOP
agreed to give a payroll tax break to millions of Americans. But only if
the unemployed suffer.

Republicans slashed a the number of weeks they could collect benefits. Now
230,000 Americans are left to fend for themselves. Families trying to keep
food on the table. Fellow citizens. Yet Republicans are kicking them
while their down.

Just last week the GOP passed a bill that cut off food stamps for more than
two million people. Slashed school lunches for 280,000 children. Those
are kids that will go hungry. For Republicans, those meals are fat that
needed to be trimmed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We think that you have to have savings in
some areas where you had a huge increase in spending. We think we need to
fix the fact that some of these are growing at unsustainable rates.

REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: That`s not how you empower the American
people, that`s how you enslave the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s how you enslave people? By helping them when they`re
down? This is about making choices. This is what the party is and why
they support the Ryan budget. The budget that`s nothing more than a war on
the poor. These failed priorities will decide races all over the country
this year. And none more so than the presidency.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We now come to this point, this election where the American people
are going to have a choice, and this choice is going be as important as any
choice we have made in a very long time.

What we have is a candidate who said he would basically rubber stamp for a
Republican Congress who wants us to go backwards, not forwards on a range
of issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We need to go forward, and hurting people when they`re down is
no way to do that.

Joining me now is Jared Bernstein, MSNBC contributor former chief economist
for vice president Joe Biden and Joe Madison, Sirius XM radio host.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Joe, let me start with you. How can Republicans win in 2012
with these kind of priorities.

MADISON: By people not voting their own interest in the interest of their
elderly parents. You mentioned the food stamps. What should be in that
figure also is that those are mostly children. Not just the school lunch
programs, but the food stamp rams.

Let`s look at Medicare. You know, by 2022, people will be told that they
will probably have to take out of pocket $12,000 in order to have medical
insurance. And we all know, and I think the good professor would probably
agree with this, is that the cost of medical -- of Medicare and health, I
should say, the cost of health and medicine, and hospitalization is not
going down, it`s going up. And it is going up by 2022.

And now, what will happen to people, let me take a friend, for example,
that I have in Atlanta. He just found out he had prostate cancer. Well,
Medicare is what helped him get that treatment, that probably saved his
live.

SHARPTON: Yes.

MADISON: So as the population gets older, people -- to answer your
question directly, they have to think of their parents. They have to think
of their grandparents, and young people have to think of their parents and
grandparents because they may have to pick up the slack.

SHARPTON: Well, now. Jared, you have been inside in a lot of these
negotiations back and forward. When you look at the unemployment benefits
that expired this weekend for 236,000 Americans, it happened in states that
are already hurting.

California where unemployment is 11 percent, North Carolina where
unemployment is 9.7 percent, Florida, where unemployment is at nine
percent, Illinois where it is at 8.8 percent. So you`re adding pain to
people that are already hurt. How did we come out in negotiations and have
ourselves in this predicament. It is almost unthinkable.

BERNSTEIN: It is almost unthinkable. And the idea is at some point when
the economy is clearly in a much, much stronger recovery than we are
looking at now, you absolutely would want those extended benefits to fade.

But, as those statistics you just cited clearly shows, we`re not near there
yet. And so, you are absolutely right. You are taking people off of the
unemployment rolls, which by the way, typically replace 30-40 percent of
their earnings. This is not some kind of cushy program. This is a program
that you absolutely need when labor demand is laid low as it has been for
so long.

MADISON: Right.

BERNSTEIN: Let me hitchhike off of a couple of Joe`s points. Because I
thought he was extremely articulate in telling the story, the narrative
behind what`s going on here. Here is a part that we have not discussed
yet.

Amidst all of these cuts of Ryan and Romney, what we haven`t yet pointed
out is on the other side of those cuts is literally trillions of dollars of
tax breaks aimed at those at the top of the income scale. $4.6 trillion
under Ryan added to about 4.5 billion by making the Bush tax cuts
permanent.

So, you are talking about $9 trillion in taxes. As if you look out at
America and you figure out the problem is that low income people have too
much money and too many jobs, and rich people don`t have enough, and darn,
we will fix it.

SHARPTON: Joe, that`s the problem. You have all of in going on to poor
people and working poor and working middle class people, while the rich are
given all of these cuts, and then not only the seniors, not only the
working adults, look at what they`re doing to students. The GOP has been
especially harsh when it comes to student loans, listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PETE HOEKSTRA (R), MICHIGAN: I tried to kill federal student loans
for 18 years. Loans are something that can be done by the private sector.

REP. VIRGINIA FOXX (R), NORTH CAROLINA: I have very little tolerance for
people who tell me they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of
debt because there is no reason for that.

REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: America has got the equivalent of the stage
three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in
all kinds of stuff it has no business tampering in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, those are GOP feelings in light of this fact. The "New
York Times" points out today that the percentage of students borrowing to
pay for college has skyrocketed. Forty five percent who got loans in 1993,
now 94 percent of students do, Joe.

With this kind of attitude, we`re talking about wiping out the
opportunities for a generation of American young people to be students.

MADISON: And you`re wiping out an opportunity for America to be at the top
of its game when it has to compete with countries like China, and India,
that, by the way, are sending students who can afford these colleges here
to the United States to take seats from Americans.

But here`s the other thing. Let`s take the state of Wisconsin, what did
the governor in that state do? He cut billions from education. So if you
cut from education, and people can`t and the cost of a college education
keeps going up, it goes back to what the professor said. The rich in
essence don`t have enough, the poor have too much.

And so, how do people, who have the brains, the intelligence, can
contribute to our society, get good jobs by the way, then pay taxes, and
then help this economy grow, how can they go to college?

We know that college is the way out. All of us are sitting here as a
product of that. And so here, you have governors, members of congress, who
quite honestly are doing more to hurt this. And I cannot imagine, I will
say this in closing, I cannot imagine how a constituent of a congressperson
could vote for anybody that would try to curtail the chance of any student
going to college.

SHARPTON: And Jared, I have to go, but I want to re-emphasize something
you said, the Ryan plan includes $4.6 trillion in tax cuts, with this
proportion of benefit the wealthy, but at the same time it is going to take
at least 14 million Americans off of health insurance.

BERNSTEIN: That`s right, so let me just tag on this. Look, we have a
problem with excessive income inequality in this country. If you want to
make that a lot worse, cut taxes for people the top and cut educational
opportunity for people at the bottom. That is a recipe for exacerbating
the inequality problems we have.

SHARPTON: Jared Bernstein and Je Madison. Thanks for your time this
evening.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

MADISON: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, why some of his fellow Republicans were booing Mitt
Romney`s son at a GOP convention.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

AL SHARPTON, HOST, MSNBC LIVE: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION.
Mitt Romney`s march to the nomination is revealing some deep divisions
within the GOP party. In fact, his son, Josh, witnessed it firsthand this
weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S SON: Make sure that it says, paid for Romney,
and that it`s green. I appreciate your support, thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s Ron Paul supporters booing the son of their party`s
nominee. That would have been inconceivable just a few years ago. And in
Oklahoma, check out. Local TV station covered the chaos between supporters
of Paul and Romney at the state GOP convention.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: This woman right here (INAUDIBLE) has physically
assaulted me.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The video you are watching is being recorded by a
woman who says she was just hit in the back.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: With a fist in my back.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I did not.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes, you most certainly did.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Attendees say, there was a lot of disagreement
throughout the day, but things came to a halt when the lights were turned
off and the conference wall closed on one group.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: GOP organizers had to literally turn off the lights to
restore order. "The Washington Times" says, quote, "If the Oklahoma State
convention is any indication, mainstream Republicans have plenty to worry
about come this summer at their convention in Tampa." Today, Ron Paul
announced to start actively campaigning and the rest of the primaries but
vowed distilled pursue delegates at these state conventions. Meaning,
there may be more scenes like this to come.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Tea Party insurgents are looking for
ways to make life miserable for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The "New York Times" report that the Tea Party outsiders are focused on
shaking up the party in the Senate. The Times says, quote, "They would
seek to press an agenda that is generally to the right of the Minority
Leader Senator Mitch McConnell. Some say they have not decided whether
they would support Mr. McConnell who, himself, finds himself contending
with the type of fractious rank and file that has vexed the house."

Joining me now is Richard Wolffe, an MSNBC political analyst. He`s
also author of "Revival: The Struggle for Survival In the Obama White
House," and Michael Steele, an MSNBC analyst and former RNC chairman.
Thank you both for being here tonight.

MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC ANALYST: Good to see you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Michael, let me start with you, will Mitt Romney be able
to bring the Republican Party together?

STEELE: I think he will. And the final analysis Reverend, I know,
you know, this is a lot of the build up to Tampa. You see the interparty
fights particularly as a number of Tea Party activist, you know, vie for
positions within the party whether it`s chairman, national committee man,
committee woman. They have been winning some of those elections, so this
is part of that process. I mean, I think "The Washington Times" is right.
It`s going to be an interesting little dance there for sure. I think it
will be a lot more exciting than some people may want it. But overall, I
think once that you`re past that point, the focus comes to the prize, which
is winning the White House, and rallying behind Romney to do that. So, I
don`t put too much into these right now because this is just part of the
process, the Ron Paul people as you know, Reverend, are strident, are
strong, they`re very vocal, they`re hard core activist. And that`s in some
sense really good too because it does create a level of energy out there.

SHARPTON: Richard, I notice you`re kind of smiling and have a little
smirk on your face. Are you imagining the dance as Michael calling in
Tampa with the lights cut out?

(LAUGHTER)

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Right, you know, he said he
had the great lines just then. So, nice line Michael where he said, it
will be a bit more exciting than some people might want it to be. Well,
yes, and probably a lot more exciting than the Romney campaign want it`s to
be. You know, when you think back to the 2008 battle for the democratic
nomination, there were plenty of Clinton supporters at the democratic
convention who were very upset. They were very vocal, and that was in
spite of their own candidate, their own preferred candidate, Hillary
Clinton going out on the floor, pledging her delegates and trying to bring
people together as well as obviously the nominee as well. We`re not seeing
that happen now. It may yet come, but it`s going to be interesting to see
whether Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul play the peacemaker role
that Hillary Clinton did. Because if they don`t, you can bet we in the
media are going to be all over it.

SHARPTON: Well, let me -- maybe you missed it, Richard. Laura
Ingraham had Ron Paul on her radio show, and she had him comparing Romney
to President Obama. He made a resounding endorsement. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Would you disagree then with
Giuliani and others when they say that there`s 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: Didn`t that just makes you, I mean, that was.

WOLFFE: A bumper sticker.

SHARPTON: Yes. I mean, he barely could get it out marginally so.
There are some deep divisions here, Richard.

WOLFFE: There are. Look, the bad thing for Mitt Romney would be
that if the consolidation we have seen in the polls, there has been
consolidation in the party. Michael is right. People have come back to
Romney, his numbers have improved. The bad thing for Romney would be if
that process stopped right here, right? And it doesn`t go any further, and
we just don`t know right now. Yes, I think --

SHARPTON: Michael, let me ask you this though. A lot of it though is
some real deep divisions in terms of real firm beliefs, and I mean that
sincerely. You see over the weekend, Saturday, Willard Mitt Romney was at
Liberty University, and he was trying to appeal to them saying and of
course, this is a Jerry Falwell University, very conservative university,
and he says that we share common purpose despite different faiths. Almost
like he is trying to assure them and trying to give them some comfort, let
me show you what he was saying.

STEELE: Sure.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: People of different faiths
like yours and mine sometimes wonder where we can meet in common purpose,
when there are so many differences in creed and theology. Surely the
answer is that we can meet in service and shared moral conviction about our
nation stemming from a common world view.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, one of the reasons that`s interesting is right there
at liberty, there is a course description of graduate class in liberty
considers Mormonism a cult. When he talks about different faiths, he`s a
Mormon. Theology 678, Western in new religions, it says quote, "Their
history, doctrines, and present state of major consults such as Mormonism."
Now, there are some deep feelings here that he`s going to have to really
try to overcome in a real short period of time.

STEELE: I would agree with that, and I think, you know, again, his
going to liberty and making those comments really begin that`s olive
branch issue if you will saying, look, let`s focus on the common purpose
that we have. We may come from different faith traditions, you know, some
of it viewed one way, others have viewed another, but at the end of the
day, our goal, our walk if you will Reverend is the same. And that is
towards some common ideals and values that`s still matters in America. I
think that is an important message for someone like Romney to make. And he
made it, I thought very effectively and very well by the way. So, I think,
you know, to reach his point, there is going be this continuing building of
support around him. But the question Mark when you see episodes that
you`ve already showed at the top of the segment. You know, people booing
his sons, and the tension on the ground, whether that comes to a point
where it stops or slows, is going to be something to watch. I think it
ultimately will because at the end, everyone is, you know, geared up to win
this November.

SHARPTON: But if it does and if we get to Tampa and have a
contentious convention, Richard. That does mean that it would be close to
impossible for Mr. Romney to regain any sense of united party at least in
perception?

WOLFFE: Well, the commences are giant marketing exercise. And
that`s when the general election tunes in, people who are in frequent
consumers of the kinds of things we have on MSNBC every day, and that
paying attention for that time. So, if they see ugly scenes, if I see
booing, if they see ugly comments on the sidelines, that sends a message
about what kind of party the Republicans are. And by the way, even if they
don`t, if Romney is feeling the pressure, to prove that he is one of these
social conservatives or a libertarian, or an evangelical, and on the other
side, if he has to go out and prove something that he`s still has not
convinced the party about, it make it that much harder for him to reach
those swing voters, those independents and moderates to take him through
the general election.

SHARPTON: Well, Richard, all I can tell you is, if you go to Tampa,
and they cut the lights out, stay close to Michael Steele, they all like
him.

(CROSSTALK)

That`s what I`m going to do. Richard Wolffe, Michael Steele, thank
you for coming on the show tonight.

WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.

STEELE: I got it. Take care.

SHARPTON: Ahead, why Governor Rick Scott`s strict voting law might
be working in the swing state of Florida. And this 15-year-old high school
baseball star is at the center of controversy because she`s a girl. A
story getting a lot of buzz. She joins us live. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Imagine getting the chance to play for the state baseball
championship until the other team refuses to play the game because there is
a girl on your team. It happened in Arizona. We`ll talk to that girl.
Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the GOP effort to block the votes in the
key swing states. In this case, the key swing states of Florida. Last
year, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a new voting law that shortened
early voting period and made it harder for voters to update their
information at the polls. The law also made big changes in voter
registration requirements and that`s already having a big impact. "New
York Times" analysis found 81,000 few voters have been registered this
year, compared to the same period four years ago. The national council of
La Raza is the largest national Hispanic civil rights group in the country
registered some 10,000 voters in the last two months. But the new law has
made it much harder.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NATALIE CARLIER, NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LA RAZA: The canvasser checks
all the forms, then their captain checks all the forms, then our quality
control manager checks all the forms, and once all that is done, before I
turn them in. I check all the forms, it`s a long process and we have to,
you know, squeeze it within 48 hours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So La Raza and other registration groups have just two
days to turn around all of these forms or face fines. It forces groups
like the legal women voters and rock the votes to end their registration
work in Florida. Now is the time to get up and fight back in Florida and
in everywhere. Voter suppression laws are now on the books. Ahead, a high
school baseball team in Phoenix forfeits the championship game because they
wouldn`t play against a girl. The 15-year-old at the center of this story
joins us live, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back tonight with the story of justice on the playing
field. Meet Paige Sultzbach, the 15-year-old plays second base for Mesa
Preparatory Academy in Phoenix. Because the High School does not have a
softball team, pretty cool, right? And with Paige in the line-up, they
made it all the way to the state`s championship this year. Eventually
winning the title. What a great story, except they didn`t win the
convention away. The other team forfeited because Paige is a girl. Her
rivals from our Lady of Sorrows Academy, a Catholic school, they`ve launch
a conservative wing at a Catholic Church said they would not play against a
girl for religious reasons.

Joining me now is the girl at the center of this controversy. Paige
Sultzbach, I`m also joined by her mother Pamela Sultzbach, and her coach,
Chris Estilow. Thank you all for being here tonight.

PAIGE SULTZBACH, MESA PREPARATORY STUDENT: Thank you.

CHRIS ESTILOW, MESA PREPARATORY BASEBALL COACH: Thanks you for having
us.

PAMELA SULTZBACH, PAIGE`S MOTHER: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: Now, Paige, what was your reaction when you heard your
opponents quit or the opposing team quit?

PAIGE SULTZBACH: I was a little disappointed in it because I have
put a lot of hard work this season into getting where I want to be, and to
find out that I wasn`t able to play was disappointing not only to me but
also to my team because they knew that I wasn`t able to play.

SHARPTON: What would you want to say to them if they were watching
tonight, what would you want to say to the other team?

PAIGE SULTZBACH: No one wants to win or lose by forfeit, and
especially for a state championship. I respect that you guys are so strong
in your beliefs and in your religion, and I can`t wrap my head around how
strong willed you guys were, but I -- our team would have liked to play you
one more time. It would have been nice to.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Pamela, as a mom, what was your
reaction?

PAMELA SULTZBACH: We were upset. The team has worked really hard to
get to where they`re at. And they were excited to have made in to the
state finals and they were ready to play. So we were disappointed when
this season ended in or forfeit.

SHARPTON: Now, Chris, what did you say to the other coach when all
of this was going on?

ESTILOW: I really didn`t have any contact with the other coach at
all having seen or heard from them since this whole stuff is going down.

SHARPTON: So, now, I understand that they said she could bat a game
but not play in the field, is that true?

ESTILOW: There was talks about that, she could bat and play in the
outfield, have a pinch -- but for our team to be a top, you know, tier, her
playing second base, and hitting, and running the bases is pretty dynamic
for us.

SHARPTON: Well, explain that. Why would they let her bat and not
play the field?

ESTILOW: Well, they were OK with her playing the field, they were
just concerned with her running the bases, and they chose an outfield
position because of the less contact or communication she would have with
the players.

SHARPTON: Now, I have a statement here from our Lady of Sorrows
Academy, it says, "Teaching our boys to treat ladies with a deference, we
choose not to place them in an athletic competition where proper boundaries
can only be respected with difficulty. Our school aims to instill in our
boys a profound respect for women and girls." Did you ever think that
Paige`s playing would be a problem?

ESTILOW: No, not at all.

SHARPTON: Paige, have you felt disrespected or in any way treated
less than you would be respected as a young lady by fellow teammates or by
other teams?

PAIGE SULTZBACH: My teammates have treated me well, they have
treated me as one of the guys on the team, and they did not see a big issue
with me being on the team.

SHARPTON: Pamela, what would you say to the parents on the other
team?

PAMELA SULTZBACH: Well, I`m sure they`re just as disappointed in
losing by forfeit. So, you know, we apologize for that, and we empathize
with them.

SHARPTON: What have you learned from this experience, Paige?

PAIGE SULTZBACH: Just stay true to yourself. Be who you want to be
during any sport you`re playing, and don`t be afraid to do something that
you really want to do.

SHARPTON: Are you going to play baseball next year?

PAIGE SULTZBACH: I`m planning on it if we do have a high school
girls softball team, I am definitely signing up. But if we do not, I am
100 percent on the baseball team.

SHARPTON: Chris, is she a good second base young lady?

ESTILOW: Yes, she is. We would love to have her next year.

SHARPTON: Well, I think it`s an interesting story. I think that
people have the right to their beliefs, but I think you have the right to
your playing if you want to do that, Paige, and I think that you`ve handled
this with great dignity, you and your mother. No bitterness, I think
that`s very, very admirable. That you have shown an example that you
respect their will, but you`re determined also to exercise your athletic
abilities. Paige and Pamela Sultzbach, and Chris Estilow, thank you all
for joining me tonight.

PAIGE SULTZBACH: Thank you.

PAMELA SULTZBACH: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Well on this show, we raise all kinds of issues for all
kinds of people. We are always watching to see where there is something
that you need to know about. It could be immigrants, it could be African-
Americans, it could be whites, blacks, it could even be a little girl, just
wanting to play baseball.

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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