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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

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Guests: Steve Kornacki, Toure, Erin McPike, Mark Ferrandino, David Sirota, Bob Shrum;
Bernie Sanders

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

Tonight`s lead, what job is Willard Mitt Romney actually running for?
That`s not as silly as it sounds. Because governor Romney often sounds
like someone who wants to sit in a board room, not the oval office.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I bring to this race is 25
years in the private sector, having started a business, having led a
business. I understand how the economy works. Not because I debated it in
congress, but because I worked in the real economy.


SHARPTON: That`s his entire rational. I`m a businessman. I understand
how the economy works. Yet, you sure learned a lot about firing people at
Bain Capital. But, the question is, and the question will soon come before
voters, do we need another businessman as president?

The last businessman we had was George W. Bush. The first president to
hold an MBA. He told us, he would run a tight ship. Remember that photo
of him and Dick Cheney checking their watches? Yes, trust us, we have it
all planned. Just like clockwork. Timed out perfectly. But it turned out
he was the only modern president to actually lose private sector jobs while
in office.

So much for that business degree. Another major business man, president
Herbert Hoover. Did his corporate background help him run the country? He
presided over the start of the great depression. Homelessness skyrocketed.
People started living in shantytowns call Hoover-villes. So much for his
business experience.

Here`s a thing. Running a business is not the same as running the country.
Because the goal in business is to make money. It is to make sure you win
and your competitors lose. And that`s not what we want from our president.
And that`s why Romney`s history at Bain Capital is such a focal point in
this election.


PAT WELLS: With Romney and Bain Capital making money, whether the
companies they work in and made money or not was irrelevant. Bain Capital
always made money. He promised us the same things he promised the United
States. He will give you the same thing he gave us. Nothing.


SHARPTON: He`ll give you nothing. Romney`s goal was to make money for him
and his investors. That`s fine. And he made lots of money. Somehow this
makes him more qualified than President Obama to help all the people? His
money makes him bolder?


ROMNEY: What President Obama is doing is not bold. It`s old. As
president, I want it make the federal government simpler, smaller and



SHARPTON: What makes you think that`s the case, Willard? Is it your work
as governor? When you courageously led Massachusetts to the 47th out of
50th in job creation? That simpler? Smaller? Smarter?

President Obama knows that Romney`s trickled down theory is dried up GOP
talking points.


firm and he`s run a state. But I think he has drawn the wrong lessons from
those experiences. He sincerely believes that if CEOs and wealthy
investors like him make money, the rest of us will automatically prosper as


SHARPTON: Joining me is Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist who ran Ted
Kennedy`s race against Mitt Romney in 1994, and Steve Kornacki, political
writer for and MSNBC contributor.

Thanks to both of you for being here.



SHARPTON: Bob, let me start with you. Romney`s business career was based
on making a profit at all cost. Why would that make him a good president?

SHRUM: Well, it wouldn`t. I mean, the fact is that three great job or the
four great job creating presidents of modern history, FDR, JFK, LBJ, and
Ronald Reagan to be fair, didn`t have business backgrounds.

But Romney has a much deeper problem. Part of what Bain did is venture
capital, investing in start-ups. That`s why he talks about staples. But
other part it did is what I call buyout, take over and take down. You grab
a company, you strip out the assets. Fire a lot of workers. Cut their
benefits and take millions out for yourself, and then the company
ultimately goes bankrupt. That happened over and over again.

And you know what makes that spot that you showed so powerful and I saw
this in 1994, those guys are Reagan Democrats, blue collar Democrats
talking to other Reagan Democrats and blue collar Democrats and they
crystallize the big issue on this election. And that big issue is who is
going to really stand up for the majority of hardworking Americans and who
is going to stand up for the few. That`s Romney`s problem.

SHARPTON: Now, you worked in Ted Kennedy`s 1994 race against Mitt Romney
and Kennedy`s campaign ran an ad about Mitt Romney using people that he
laid off at Bain. Let me show you that.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You`re not creating jobs. You`re taking them away
from us. To put money in your pocket.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He just wants to take money out of your pocket and put
it in his.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like it say to the people of Massachusetts,
if you think it can`t happen to you, think again. Because we thought it
wouldn`t happen here either.


SHARPTON: Now Bob, you wrote that play book that worked for Ted Kennedy
against Romney in `94. Will it work today? Is that play book too old? Or
is that play book, in your judgment, valuable to the president?

SHRUM: I think it is valuable today for the president. I think that`s why
those ads are on. Look, Romney is of the few, by the few and for the few.
And, you know, we can talk about that, you and I and Steve, but nothing is
more powerful than those workers in their own words. By the way, Romney
people try to say we scripted that ad, which we didn`t. My partner Ted
Divine called me and said, look. These folks are great just talking,
that`s how we should do it. And that`s what we did. And that`s why it`s
so powerful.

SHARPTON: Now Steve, Romney came out with an ad, he slams the president on
the economy, talks about plant closures and makes a plant closures really
his point. Watch this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Virgin air was there for a hundred years or whatever.
He just up and said, hey, we`re done here, you know.


SHARPTON: Now, the problem with the ad is that it kind of skimps the
truth. Because it turns out the manufacturer was looking to work outside
the United States. Way before the Obama administration came in. And in
2006, the company announced it was opening a plant in Mexico. Its parent
company is not adding more U.S. jobs that were lost when the factories shut
down. So I guess a little truth will get in the way, if somebody follows
up the ad.

But the point is we are going to argue about the economy. We are going to
go back and forth on the economy. If you have a man who as governor, his
state was 47th in job creation, so he has looks at, he said, look at my
private sector work in Bain. You go into private business to make money,
not to provide jobs. And then on top of that, people are laid off.

Is he putting himself in a corner here to argue this kind of background
against a president who every month, even though not as much as we want,
has added jobs to the economy?

KORNACKI: Right. I think that ad that you just played is basic lay
perfect microcosm of the broad Mitt Romney message this year. And the
message boils down to, don`t ask questions, just fire the guy at the top.

Basically, you`re a voter out there. You are feeling anxious about the
economy. You don`t think things are in a good place. Do not consider
context. Do not consider what Barack Obama inherited. Do not consider any
of the back story, just look at who is running the country and vote that
person out.

And the thing I would say is, if you kind a look at this historically,
there is something to be said for that. If you elected tends ready to live
in the presence tense.


KORNACKI: Not much collective memory, not much, you know, collective
foresight. And so, there really is a powerful, you know, sort of instinct
there I think for the average swing voter to measure his or her own
economic circumstances against what they were a couple years ago and say,
have things got better or things got worse? That`s what entire Romney
campaign comes down to is people making that judgment that it`s gotten
worse or that it is not getting better in vote Obama out.

And the challenge for Obama is to introduce context into this race.
Whether it is about George Bush, what he inherited. You know, what Romney
really represent is a so-called job creator. That`s the challenge in the
Obama campaign, context.

SHARPTON: Yes. But, if that is the case, and I happen to think you`re
right, to a large degree.

But Bob, when we see what has happened this week with JPMorgan Chase, it is
a jolting reminder of what happened. Because all of a sudden, we began
getting this very dramatic reminder that if we don`t have regulations and
if we allow things that Republicans have been saying like repealing Dodd-
Frank and other things. That we could end up with going back to the same
problem that President Obama dug us out of.

Then when you have Romney, calling financial regulation and attack quote,
"Dodd-Frank law is another example of presidential attack on economic
freedom. Burdensome regulations serve only to restrict freedom and imperil

Now, they are saying that in light of the $2 billion that lost in JPMorgan
chase that we know of. And clearly, everyone started getting a moment of,
oh, here we go again, and remembering what that meant.

Will people now say, yes, I remember what it was. I might have a short
memory but this just happened.

SHRUM: Well, I think Steve is absolutely right, events and Obama campaign
are going to have to create the context for this. Look, Romney want to go
back to the Bush economic policies, wants to impose some draconian budgets
cuts, the same policy that has been applied now in Great Britain and had
led that country back into a double-dip recession.

But the president all along, I think, has been determined not to let this
be a referendum. That`s what Romney wants. He wants to make this a choice
and he wants to give people big choices. That`s why we are going to hear
about the auto industry bailout and Romney`s opposition to it. That`s why
we are going to hear about Romney wanting huge tax cuts for people at the
top and endorsing a Medicare plan that would devastate the program as we
know it, end the program as we know it.

So, we are going to get these choices. But these ads they have on now with
the workers, really do set this choice in a very dramatic way. I found the
frigid air ad kind of pathetic and sad because it is a reflection of what
happened because of Bush policies.

But Steve`s right, the president and his campaign are going to have to make
that crystal clear. I think they will over and over again.

SHARPTON: All right, Bob Shrum and Steve corps Kornacki. Thanks for
coming on the show tonight to both of you.

Coming up, remember the debt ceiling disaster that nearly brought the
economy to its knees last summer? John Boehner liked it so much that he is
ready to do it all over again.

Plus, George W. Bush finally comes out to support Romney. But wait until
you hear how he did it.

President Obama swings by the view for a little pop culture quiz.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE HOST: What is the controversial sex book that is on
millions of women`s bedside tables? He doesn`t know.

OBAMA: I don`t know that.


OBAMA: I`ll ask Michelle when I get home.



SHARPTON: You`re watching "Politician Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Last summer Republicans held governor hostage at debt ceiling
debate and took the economy to the brink of disaster. Today, speaker John
Boehner threatened to do it again. Senator Bernie Sanders will have a
response. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

It`s Republican deja vu all over again. Less than a year after holding the
economy hostage in the debt ceiling debate, Republicans are threatening to
do it again.

Today, house speaker John Boehner made a direct threat against the
Democrats in congress, against President Obama and against the American
economy. Boehner said he would use the next debt ceiling vote to insist on
massive budget cuts to bring down the deficit.


will again insist. My simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than a
debt limit increase. This is the only avenue I see right now to force the
elected leadership of this country to solve our structural fiscal and
balance. We can make the bold reforms and cuts necessary to meet this
principle and I believe that we must.

So, just so we`re all clear, I`m talking about real cuts and real reforms.
Not tricks and gimmicks of giving Washington a pass on grappling with the
spending problem.


SHARPTON: The real problem here, Speaker Boehner, was when you held the
economy hostage so you can hack away at the budget when we went through the
debt ceiling crisis last summer. U.S. credit was downgraded for the first
time in history. Stock indexes is plunge between five and seven percent.
And disapproval rating for Congress hit 87 percent, the worst ever.
Democrats haven`t forgotten that.


SEN. HARRY REID (D), NEVADA: American people had enough of this
brinksmanship. They want us to get things done. And it`s pretty clear to
me that the tea party direction of the Republican party driving them over a


SHARPTON: That right. The American people have had enough of this
brinkmanship. But Republicans keep pushing, cuts, cut, cuts. The Ryan
budget calls for $3.3 trillion dollars in cuts to lower income in Medicaid,
food stamps, Pell grant and job training. And Republican cuts in 2010 and
2011slashed over 450,000 jobs from the public sector. Today, the
unemployment rate is at 8.1 percent. But if they hadn`t made all those
public sector cuts, it would be a full point lower at 7.1 percent.

Now is not the time for austerity but Republicans can`t stop talking about

Joining me now is senator Bernie Sanders at independent from Vermont.

Senator, thanks for being here tonight.

Let me ask you, senator. Do you think the American people want to see
another debt ceiling crisis like Speaker Boehner is threatening?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (I), VERMONT: No. I think the American people
regarded it as an outrage that majority leader over in the house, speaker
in the house, actually is saying to the world, that America is not going to
pay its bills.

For the first time in the history of America, he is proposing that we
default. That we not pay our bills unless we make draconian cuts on the
elderly, sick and children and poor.

You know, Al, we are in the mess we`re in now because Boehner and his
friends helped to deregulate wall street, drove us into this recession,
which was resulted in a significant decline of the middle class and
increase in poverty.

Meanwhile, as I know you talk about often, the richest people in America
are becoming richer. Corporations are enjoying huge profits and what
Boehner and his friend want to do is give more tax breaks to the people on
top, the one percent, while they want it make massive cuts to people who
today are barely hanging in economically, who have seen a drop in the
median family income. I think that is morally outrageous. I think it is
bad economic policy.

SHARPTON: We are talking points memo put out a graph showing the real
cause of the national deficit based on information from the center on
budget and policy priorities. Policies from the Bush administration,
including the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Bush era tax cuts are
projected to be the main source of deficits from 2009 through 2019.

SANDERS: Absolutely. Absolutely. Where were these deficit hawks when
Bush took us into two wars? Would wars. Afghanistan, Iraq, forget to pay
for them. Where were the deficit hawks, when Bush provided huge tax breaks
for the wealthiest people in the country?

And on top of all that, Al, we have seen a significant decline in revenue
because of the recession that we`re in right now. It`s the lowest --
revenue is now at the lowest point in comparison to GDP that we have seen
in 50 years.

So, these guys helped caused the recession, helped cause the deficit, and
now they say, hey, let`s move it a balanced budget by cutting Social
Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the needs of working families.

I think that is atrocious. The American people have to come together and
say, sorry, that is not going to happen.

SHARPTON: Bu you, you have make and arguments based on facts and facts
really matter. And when we look the fact that it hadn`t been for the
stimulus plans to really put something out there, would he be in worse
shape. But today Romney said stimulus was a mistake. Look at this,


ROMNEY: President Obama started out with a near trillion dollar stimulus
package. The stimulus wasn`t just wasted, it was borrowed and wasted.


SHARPTON: Now he had a different tune four years ago in his victory speech
in Nevada. Romney was singing a much different tune about the stimulus.
Watch this.


ROMNEY: Today I announced a plan which I`d like to see enacted within the
next 30 days to provide stimulus to our economy on short term basis as well
as long-term growth for the American economy.


SHARPTON: So, change in let`s say the song he is singing, senator?

SANDERS: Yes. Absolutely. But here is what is interesting. Apparently
he is not concerned about the over trillion dollars we wasted on the war in
Iraq, a war we never should have gotten into.

On the other hand what the stimulus package did in my state is create over
6,000 jobs when we needed them the most, rebuilding our infrastructure,
putting money into head start, child care, and helping us deal with
numerous problems.

So, if you create jobs with the stimulus package, I guess it`s a bad idea.


SANDERS: Bu, if you are prepared to waste money on war in Iraq, hey,
that`s just great.

SHARPTON: Senator Bernie Sanders. Thank you for your time tonight.

SANDERS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama hit the view and talks about what
life is like inside the White House.


OBAMA: You got a bunch of people around who are always laughing at your
jokes and thinking you`re funny and all that stuff. Michelle is like, this

And I`ll tell you, when she does it in front of my team, they love it.
They are cracking up, then I`ll look at them and they`ll -- they`ll
straighten up.



SHARPTON: Republicans have spent the last week`s slamming President
Obama`s endorsement of marriage equality and they keep tripping over
themselves when they try to explain why. Just listen to Reince Priebus,
the head of the Republican national committee, this weekend on "Meet the


UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: But, do you believe that gays and lesbians in
America deserve equal right?

deserve rights and regard to say, discrimination in the workplace, issues
such as Mitt Romney has pointed out numerous times. Hospital visitations.
I mean I think that in -- for the sake of dignity and respect.


SHARPTON: Wow. Priebus thinks employers should not be allowed to
discriminate against gays and lesbians. Seems basic, good position. But
Greg Sergeant of "the Washington Post" point out that stance could put
Priebus at odds with his own party.

The Senate is going to hold hearings soon on the employment
nondiscrimination act. The bill bans discrimination in the workplace based
on sexual orientation, and gender identity. And lots of Republicans oppose
the legislation, including Willard Romney.

Back in the `90s we supported a similar bill but had flip-flopped on it by
the time he ran for president, the last time.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE HOST: Sponsor the employment nondiscrimination act. Do
you support it?

ROMNEY: At the state left, I think it makes sense at the state level.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE HOST: You said you sponsor it at the federal level.

ROMNEY: I would not support it at the federal level.


SHARPTON: Yes. Willard wants to leave it up to state to discriminate as
much as they want. But, he wants the federal government to ban gay

Did he think we wouldn`t notice the hypocrisy? Nice try, but we got you.



UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It was with tight with John McCain back in 2008.
So, how tight do you think it`s going to be with Mitt Romney?

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: When your name is Barack
Obama, it is always tight.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You know, you did a rendition of Al Green. Are
Malia and Sasha, were they embarrassed or are you on their ring tone?

OBAMA: I`m definitely not on their ring tone.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: So who`s going to win?

OBAMA: Oh, I`m going to win.



AL SHARPTON, HOST, MSNBC LIVE: That was President Obama having a
little fun with the women on "The View." Whatever you think of his
policies, one thing is not up for debate, the man has charisma and knows
how to commit with the American people. He is well liked.

Joining me now is Toure, an MSNBC contributor and author of "Who`s
Afraid of Post Blackness?: What It Mean To Be Black Now." And Erin McPike,
a reporter for Real Clear Politics. And thank you both for joining me


SHARPTON: You know, Toure, right wing people complain about these TV
appearances, but they are the reason why he does it. How did he do?

TOURE, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think he did very well. I like
that there was a lot of self-effacement, like talking about Michelle making
fun of him and Malia and Sasha and Michelle all jumping on top of him
having a roast at his expense. Does it makes him seem like, you know, I`m
down to earth, I`m not imperial, I`m not over here above you guys. Because
you know that I`m brilliant and all these things, and powerful and I`m
alpha, but it is nice to see him pull it back. Say, hey, here`s how I am
in my family. Mr. Regular guy. You get made fun of by your wife and your
kids, so do I.

SHARPTON: Well, let me show you, Erin where he talked about his kids
how they thought about his singing at the Apollo the night he did the Al
Green song. Let me show you that.


OBAMA: I`m definitely not on their ring tone. When I turned 50,
Malia and Sasha and a bunch of my friends and Michelle, had this sort of
like a roast. A little private roast. Each one of them read something.
And Malia and Sasha had written out why I`m such a wonderful dad. And they
had this list. It was so sweet. And one of the items on Malia`s list was,
you are just the right amount of embarrassing. You`re embarrassing but not
too embarrassing.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You want it embarrass yourself a little bit and
sing out here?

OBAMA: No, you know, I must --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You have one fan.

OBAMA: I know. I got to say that I was a little meager out there.


SHARPTON: Erin, he also talked about how the first lady pokes fun at
him. Let me play that for you. And I want you to tell me the politics of
joking about his wife and kids joking about him. Let me show you how the
first lady and the president.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Tell us one of the things that you would say.

OBAMA: Well, the big-ear jokes.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: She cracked up at correspondents on the ear

OBAMA: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: He was hysterical on that.

OBAMA: Big nose jokes. All my little funny habits. She can imitate

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Like what funny habits?

OBAMA: Just little stuff.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Is that how you left --

OBAMA: If there is a bowl of peanuts. Like I will grab the peanuts,
and then I kind of shake them around and then I pop one at a time. She can
make Malia and Sasha laugh, you know, she`s doing this thing.


SHARPTON: Now, it is funny and certainly humanizes them. But Erin,
what is the politics of this? I mean, "The View" is watched by a lot of
ladies around the country. What is the politics of them seeing him so
comfortably talking about his wife jokes on him with the girls say, what is
the politics of this?

MCPIKE: Well, look, he is reaching a huge demographic and reaching a
lot of women by going on this show. And it shows that he is relatable,
that he loves his family. And so he can reach out to a lot of people that
way. Now, on the other hands though, I did talk to a couple of Republicans
today on Capitol Hill who suggested to me that going too far with this
somehow diminishes the role of the presidency. So today, while President
Obama was on "The View," we had Mitt Romney in Iowa giving a speech on
debt. And he is trying to show that he is never going to be a celebrity.
And we all know he is not as smooth as the President. But he is trying to
show a more serious side. You can`t beat them, then do the other thing.
And so that`s kind of where the politics play. The President`s likability
numbers in polls are much higher than Mitt Romneys. But when you rate them
against each other and it`s President Obama versus Mitt Romney in a head to
head match-up, right now they are about even.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s probably appropriate. The President talking
to women about the women in his life. And Romney talking about debt. The
debt he is going to cause in our lives if he is president. But Toure --

TOURE: But to your point, about talking to women on via "The View,"
get that humility, the way he interacts with women in his life, right? He
was just calm and cool with it. I mean, like I thought there was a really
nice way of presenting himself. And just sort of you know, smoothing over
anything that might be out the there.

SHARPTON: But I think, also to politics of it. And I hear what Erin
is saying that the Republicans are clearly going to say, but the politics
of it is if people feel you have you a sense of love and bonding for your
family, that you are naturally going to be concerned about the nation`s
debt and economy. You have young children that will going to have to live
and deal with there.

TOURE: Look, we`re going to talk about jobs. We`re going to talk
about debt. We`re going to talk about Iraq and Afghanistan through all
this. But the beer test is always super important in every election. And
this guy is likeable to men, relatable to women, liked by women as well.
So right there, that is a difficult thing for Mitt Romney to deal with.

SHARPTON: Now, Erin, I saw where Whoopi Goldberg even teased the
President about accidentally forgetting to escort the First Lady off of Air
Force One that showed where the First Lady tells joke in it. But look at
what how they got him on this.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Is that how come she got left for a couple of
seconds when you were getting off the plane?

OBAMA: Oh, did you see that? That is a classic example of you know,
dumb husband screwing up. Because I -- I thought she was behind me.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: This is what happened, OK. You know how the
President gets off the plane. And then he got this far and went -- oh, and
had to go back and bring Michelle out with him. It was really great.
Because he forgot she was with him.

OBAMA: She is just standing there looking at me like --


SHARPTON: Now, Erin, is that diminishing or is that something that
everybody can see him laugh at himself and he is comfortable in his own

MCPIKE: It might be a little bit of both. I mean, as I said before,
there are two sides to the coin. Again, Mitt Romney is not that smooth.
And so he can`t -- he can`t have the same kind of reaction that Obama can.
Yes, sure, it is relatable. I mean, it goes back to what we are talking
about before. Yes. The President knows how to be self-deprecating in an
appealing kind of way.

SHARPTON: Now Toure, the real answer to this is, the beer test as you
say is important. But you also have to have policies to go with the
likability, and I think if he has the policies, and can remind the American
people of the progress made, and reaches out in a way that is real, I think
that that`s the combination. But just passing the beer test alone is not
going to win the election.

TOURE: No, just being a super nice loveable guy who exudes charisma
is not enough. You got have these policies that you said. You got to have
the vision thing as the first George Bush found out. You got to have the
plan for America.


TOURE: If Mitt Romney cannot lay out a plan, a credible plan for
America and convince that he can make that happen, then you know, the
likability is going to crush him. But one thing that`s going to happen is
the Republicans want to keep doing this sort of intellectual flopping that
like, you see in the NBA, somebody gets touched and they go flying. Oh, my
God, he was on "The View." This is horrible. It`s not horrible. We have
been doing this for years. Bill Clinton was on "The Arsenio Hall Show."

SHARPTON: Playing an astronaut. But let me give you one, Erin
because I don`t want to leave it without fairness. Not only did Whoopi get
the President, the President got Barbara Walters. Barbara Walters admitted
she took some things out of White House. Look at this.


BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, "THE VIEW": You know that occasionally if
I`ve been fortunate enough to go to the White House, I take a paper napkin
or two.

OBAMA: You steal our stuff?

WALTERS: I do not --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: She is a klepto.

WALTERS: I saw it on national heritage.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Make sure you watch --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You know that you take stuff.

OBAMA: You can see Secret Service are all like -- and after the
program --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Watch that girl.

OBAMA: We want to recover our stolen items.


SHARPTON: Well, that was a little funny. And I can say that I`ve
known one or two people take things out of the White House. But we don`t
have to talk about it on the show tonight. Toure, Erin McPike, thanks for
your time tonight.

MCPIKE: Thank you.

TOURE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Just when you thought Willard`s republican support didn`t
get any more tepid, here comes George W. Bush on an elevator, no less.
We`ll explain. And, this republican lawmaker in Colorado single-handedly
blocked a same sex civil unions bill on the verge of passing the union`s
attack against marriage. We`re live in Denver with the bill sponsor. Stay
with us.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION and a story I think really
needs national attention. We talk a lot on this show about how voting
matters. And our elections matter. And I want to show you why. In 2010
elections around the country, Republicans took control of one or both
legislators in 16 states across the country. Twenty one different state
houses and senates went republican. It was a huge shift in power. Since
then, we`ve watched those state legislators pass an unprecedented number of
extreme bills. From union busting to voter ID laws and nonstop assault on
abortion rights. But what`s happening in Colorado this week may take the
cake. Folks, you got to hear this story. Meet Colorado republican Speaker
of the House Frank McNulty. He is going to amazing lengths to stop the
state from giving even the most basic rights to same-sex couples.

By single handedly blocking a bill to legalize same sex civil unions.
The bill cleared the state Senate and looked like it would pass the house.
With support from Republicans. Willing to break ranks. But McNulty
filibustered to block a vote. Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper called
for a special session to pass the bill and last night the one man wrecking
crew, McNulty killed it again. By sending it to the state veterans and
military affairs committee. Also known as the kill committee. Where
conservatives predictably rejected it with the party line vote. Republican
Speaker of the House effectively killed a civil rights bill and 30 other
pieces of legislation in the process. That`s democracy at work. Thanks,
Speaker McNulty. Way to go.

SHARPTON: Joining me now from Denver is the bill`s sponsor, Colorado
State Representative Mark Ferrandino who is openly gay. And David Sirota,
columnist for and morning radio host at KKZN in Denver. I think
it is Sirota, I mispronounced it. Thank you both for joining me tonight.

REP. MARK FERRANDINO (D), COLORADO: Thanks for having us.

SHARPTON: State Senator Ferrandino, let me start with you, what`s
your reaction to the House Speaker blocking this bill?

FERRANDINO: You know, I`m really disappointed by what happened, both
Tuesday night and yesterday. The speaker went to extreme lengths to stop
civil unions from becoming law. It went law through three committees in
the House getting support from at least three, in those committees, three
Republicans who we supported. And we thought we would be somewhere between
six and ten of the 33 Republicans supporting civil unions. But the Speaker
put the house in recess, wouldn`t allow us to have a debate on civil unions
on Tuesday. And killed 30 other bills that same night causing us to do go
to special session to deal with the mess that he created.

SHARPTON: So, he killed 30 bills. Not only your bill, but 30 bills.

FERRANDINO: Yes, he killed many bills. And a lot of those that we
had to deal with this special session around job creation, $20 million
water project. Unemployment insurance reduction that could reduce small
business rates by over 40 percent. He didn`t care about what the damage he
did. He just wanted it make sure at the end of the day we wouldn`t vote on
civil unions because we knew it would become law in Colorado.

SHARPTON: Now, David, one of the witnesses that spoke against the
civil union bill, at yesterday`s hearing, was a lawyer for the alliance
defense fund. And he tried to use the slippery slope argument. Let me
show you.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Civil union laws absolutely undermine the case for
marriage. Make no mistake about it. A vote for this bill is a vote for
same-sex marriage. In every U.S. jurisdiction where civil unions or
domestic partnerships have been enacted, those who advocated for their
passage subsequently rejected them as inadequate and demanded that marriage
be redefined.


SHARPTON: So, his argument was -- is not really civil unions, this
is going to lead to marriage. Your reaction to this?

DAVID SIROTA, SALON.COM: And this is what Speaker McNulty was saying
the entire time. Not really focusing on what the bill was but throwing out
an argument to the base of the Republican Party. And I think frankly, this
is exactly why the Republicans are trying to double down on opposition to
civil unions. They are trying to rile up their base. They are desperate
in a swing state like Colorado to get out the vote among social
conservatives. And so, when a bill like civil unions comes up, simply
saying that same-sex couples deserve equal rights under the law, they will
take that and try to extrapolate it in order to fire up their base. That`s
what this is all about. Base politics.

SHARPTON: But David, what`s going on out there. If the Senate
passed, if it looked like the House is going to pass and even some
Republicans breaking rank, I mean, this is blatantly anti-democratic,
doesn`t care?

SIROTA: Apparently they don`t care. And they are essentially citing
old votes from years past on ballot measures in which the voters here in
Colorado voted against gay marriage to say that they don`t want to go
against the will of voters. They are also making kind of crazy argument,
Speaker McNulty is saying that like Mitt Romney has been saying, we can`t
really deal with issues like equality under the law for LBGT couples
because there is an unemployment crisis, there`s an economic crisis. He
said that almost literally. And what is strange about that of course, is
why should an economic crisis somehow make us unable to extend equal rights
to every American. The argument makes no sense what is really is this dog
whistle politics to the base of the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: But even when you look at the fact that State
Representative BJ Nikkel, who is a republican, broke ranks to support this
law and he says it was about supporting the rights. She said that it was
about supporting the rights of Colorado. Listen to her.


STATE REP. BJ NIKKEL (R), COLORADO: I thought about it a lot. I
simply believe that giving the legal rights that I think these folks ought
to have, as I`ve said in the past, they are Coloradoans too, and I believe
they deserve to have the same level rights that the rest of us do.


SHARPTON: So, she sees it as an issue of rights. Civil rights. And
when you look at the polls, Coloradoans overwhelmingly support the rights,
75 percent support either civil unions or full marriage rights for same-sex
couples. Representative Ferrandino, with even Republicans breaking ranks,
seeing as the argument about rights where the polling, do you think there
is a way of coming back around and getting around this Speaker or is this
just one of those things that we are going to have to deal with at the
polls and he would no longer be speaker?

FERRANDINO: Well, you know, for this year, we`re done, unfortunately.
Yesterday it died in the State Affairs Committee on a party line vote. So,
we won`t see this again this session. I would just point out that even in
the republican base, at their state assembly, 46 percent of Republicans
voted for civil unions to have that in their platform. So, Republicans
even support this. And we have three courageous Republicans who voted in
favor of civil unions. At the end of the day, we have an outpouring of
people who support this. They are angry about how the process was done.
It was undemocratic. It thwarted the will of the majority of the members
of the House of Representatives and I think they`re going to be working
hard to make sure that there`s a different leadership in the house come
when we get sworn in next January.

SHARPTON: David, let me ask you quickly because I will have to go.
Let me ask you quickly about Colorado and the national vote. Do you think
that President Obama or Willard Mitt Romney has a shot at carrying Colorado
this year?

SIROTA: I think it`s going to be very, very close. I think that this
kind of issue in the legislature highlighting the base of the Republican
Party`s position on an issue like this is not going to help Mitt Romney.
But I think it`s going to be a very, very close election. Frankly, I`m a
little nervous that it`s going to be as close as Florida in 2000.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you both for being with me tonight.
We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Next stop, weaken
endorsements for presidential candidates. Remember how Rick Santorum
buried his endorsement for Willard in an e-mail released in the middle of
the night. For 12 paragraphs, Santorum talks about all the differences he
had with Romney. He didn`t actually announce his support for Romney until
the 13th paragraph of the e-mail when he finally grudgingly said, quote,
"he has my endorsement." Just a week earlier, Newt Gingrich offered a
back-handed endorsement of his own.


not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan. This is a choice
between Mitt Romney and the most radical leftist president in American


SHARPTON: Compare all this to how Romney himself endorsed the man
who beat him back in 2008, John McCain.


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 my delegates to vote for Senator McCain
at the convention. This is a man capable of leading our country at a
dangerous hour.


SHARPTON: Folks, Willard`s had it pretty rough this time around.
But today it got just a little bit worse. This morning, former President
Bush spoke at his own presidential center in Washington. ABC News chased
him down after the speech, trying to get him to comment on the election.
The former president jumped into an elevator and as the doors closed on
him, he blurted out, quote, "I`m for Mitt Romney." Yikes, not exactly the
left Willard was looking for, maybe his campaign is going down.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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