Skip navigation

PoliticsNation, Monday, May 21, 2012

Read the transcript from the Monday show

  Most Popular
Most viewed

Guests: Ed Rendell; Michael Steele, Keith Ellison; Grayson, Joe Madison, Barry Lynn

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

Tonight`s lead, why Bain Capital matters. Folks, this gets at the
fundamental and urgent question of this election. How do we make this a
more fair country where everyone has a shot at success? Mitt Romney talks
about his experience at Bain. It`s that experience he says should get him
elected. It`s the way he tends to governor, by celebrating mass tax cuts
for the rich and deregulation.

Bain is appropriate, talking about ban about Bain is essential because
it`s how Governor Romney sees the role of government. Corporations do what
they want, and by some business osmosis jobs are created, but jobs are not
the by-product of creating wealth. It should be the other way around.
Jobs create wealth and people are desperate for jobs in this country.
That`s why President Obama is making fairness the central issue of this
campaign, and that`s why Bain matters.


equity is that it is set up to maximize profits. And that`s not always
going to be good for communities, or businesses, or workers. And the
reason this is relevant to the campaign, is because my opponent, Governor
Romney, his main calling card for being president, is his business
experience. Yes, he is not going out there touting his experienced in
Massachusetts. He is saying I`m a business guy, I know how to fix it, and
this is his business.

And when you`re president as oppose to the head of a private equity
firm, then, your job is not simply to maximize profits. Your job is to
figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot. Your job is to
think about those workers who are got laid off, and how are we paying for
their retraining.

My job is to take into account everybody, not just some. My job is to
make sure the country is growing not just now, but ten and 20 years from
now. This is not a distraction. This is what this campaign will be about.


SHARPTON: That`s exactly right. That`s what this campaign is about.
That`s what matters in this election.

Today, Republicans were jumps for joy after Newark`s Democratic mayor
Corey Booker defended private equity campaign. Mitt Romney even ran an ad
using Booker`s words to attack the president. But none of that addresses
the central problem with Romney`s record at Bain.

On the dramatic change toward unfairness in this country, just take a
look at this chart. Showing how income has grown in this country in the
last three decades. The top one percent saw their income grow by 277
percent, while the bottom 20 percent saw their income grow by a meager 18
percent. The rich got way richer. But everyone else just got a bit more.
And it`s affecting the ultimate American dream of creating a better future
for our children, helping them to move up in the world.

As "The New York Times" reported, this year, studies show quote,
"Americans enjoy less economic mobility than their peers in Canada and much
of Western Europe." The rich stay rich and the poor stay poor, and about
two thirds of those born in the top 20 percent stay within that top 40
percent, about the same percentage of those born in the bottom 40 percent
stay in the bottom 40 percent.

The job of the president is to look at problems like this and fix it,
not make it worse by making rich people richer.


OBAMA: If, your main argument for how to grow the economy is I knew
how to -- make a lot of money for investors -- then you`re missing what
this job is about. It doesn`t -- it doesn`t mean you weren`t good at
private equity. But that`s not what my job is as president.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell,
now an NBC News political analyst, and Michael Steele, and MSNBC analyst
and former RNC chairman.

Thanks, to both of you for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Governor, let me start with you, is the president making
the right case for the relevance of Bain Capital in this campaign?

RENDELL: Sure. There are two points that the president is making it
good. Number one, Governor Romney has made his experience at Bain Capital
one of the central points why he thinks he should be president. So, it`s
only fair that as a full examination of what Bain capital did, and what
they didn`t do for the American people. Governor Romney said back when he
ran against Ted Kennedy that Bain produced about 10,000 net jobs. And now
that figure is up to 100,000. It`s probably a good idea for some in the
press to take look at all of the deals Bain did while Governor Romney was
there and to see what real story is. Did it produce jobs or cost jobs?
How many jobs did it produced? That`s number one.

And number two, when you look at the deals, the deals where the two
that have been described in these commercials were companies were
eventually put into bankruptcy; workers lost a substantial portion of their
pension and health care. And investors took out millions of dollars, in
some cases tens of millions of dollars in some cases.

We have to try to determine if that is an ethical way for businesses
to proceed. I know it`s legal, it`s proper, and nobody is knocking private
equity. We need private equity. But private equity has got one goal and
that is to make the greatest return for your investors.

The point the president is making is a good one. As president, that`s
not your only goal. Creation of wealth is not your only goal. Creation of
Economic security for everybody has got to be the president`s goal.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at this, Michael, the fact is this is
the fundamental disagreement between these candidates. So clearly it
should be relevant. Yesterday on "Meet the Press" Jim Cramer said point.


JIM CRAMER, CNBC TV HOST: Romney is known as a job destroyer, not a
creator. I think the idea that you bring Bain, which is what happened in
the `80s, they fire a lot of people and that is how they make prosperity
for the rich, and that is more resident theme I think than anything that
Romney comes up with.


SHARPTON: Now, before you respond, Michael, look at the chart. If we
look at the facts, we`ll have different opinions and I`m sure we will.
But, the facts are if you go through the companies, company after company,
Bain made huge profits while people lost jobs. AMPAD 385 jobs lost, profit
$100 million. GS Industries, 750 jobs lost, $12 million. DDI, 2100 lost,
Bain profit $52 3 million. Dade Behring, 2,000 jobs lost, $242 million in

Mr. Romney is the one that brought up Bain. He does not run on his
being governor of Massachusetts. He brought it up saying he was a job
creator. We have the right - no, we have the obligation then, to go and
see if that is the case. I just showed you the facts.

STEELE: Yes. You showed me some of the facts. I mean --

SHARPTON: What? Do you have any other facts you got to share?

STEELE: The reality of it is yes, 22 percent of the deal that which
Bain was there. Yes, that the companies did not survive the turn around.
And so, jobs were lost in those instances. But 78 percent of those jobs
were kept and expanded and those businesses survived.

In the very commercial that started this whole discussion on Bain, the
president`s team, you know, just did not lay out the facts, since we`re
talking about facts, that number one, Romney wasn`t at Bain the time that
deal was struck with those workers and their company. Two, the person who
was running Bain is his major donor, fundraiser today. And the reality of
it is that company survived another eight years after Bain did what Bain
was supposed to do and to help turn around the company. It wasn`t until
eight years later that the company`s ventures were out of business.

SHARPTON: Michael. Michael, first of all --

STEELE: Let me finish their point, everybody got to finish theirs.

SHARPTON: You are very clearly not dressing what I say. I`m not
talking about the success of Bain. I`m talking about whether they create a

STEELE: Well, they did. That`s my point, 22 percent -- you can find
the --

SHARPTON: We do not know what percentage of those 78 percent of the
companies remained in business. Jobs were creating in. We`re talking
about jobs creation, that`s what Romney represent.


STEELE: I`m not changing it, I`m expanding it. Because the reality
of it is, you want to take a very narrow negative slice.


STEELE: He created jobs, they were created by the comfort, for
example, in the company in that commercial, go back and look, they survived
additional eight years. You mean they didn`t hire anybody else? No one
had to keep their job?

Did they? Where are the facts? I showed you where the jobs lost?

STEELE: I gave you the facts are in the commercial, Reverend.

SHARPTON: The facts are that you don`t know.

STEELE: OK, whatever.

SHARPTON: Mr. Governor Rendell --

RENDELL: OK, can I ask a question, Michael? Do we know, and I think
this is honest and fair question, what the net was? You said that Governor
Romney did in fact produce some jobs in this 78 percent. But, do you know
what net is? Because Governor Romney said during his campaign against Ted
Kennedy, the net was 10,000. And now, he is saying the net was 100,000.
Do we know what the net is?

STEELE: That is something the campaign has put out and the campaign
is updated that information and they have been very clear about the
specifics on that, and they`re standing behind their number.

SHARPTON: The campaign is saying thousands now. They started at
1090,000. And we - Governor Rendell is asking, what I`m asking, I gave a
chart of facts, if you have the chart of facts, will he create a job?

STEELE: No, Reverend. I don`t have with me. But I think --


RENDELL: Don`t you think that`s an obligation of the Romney campaign
to put out each deal how many jobs were created, how many jobs were lost?

STEELE: No. My view is, no. I don`t think that`s the obligation to
put out each deal and that


RENDELL: Go ahead. Go ahead.

STEELE: Thank you.

I don`t think that is necessarily, you can -- maybe site one or two
job, just like the reverend had four companies up there, yes, site two,
three, or four companies as an examples. The facts are throughout that a
vast majority of the companies that Bain helped and assisted over the years
that Governor Romney`s tenure, 78 percent or more went on and survived,
went on, were very proper and productive, and jobs were creating and people
kept their jobs.


SHARPTON: We can agree with that, Michael. He should give examples,
if he`s going to call himself a job creator. Let`s not get away from the
fact that the president, Mr. Rendell, me, he called himself a job creator.
All we ask of --


STEELE: So let me ask you this, is the president a job destroyer
because the fact that we still have 23 million Americans who don`t have
their jobs? About 3.5 million lost their jobs during his tenure? Yes,
three million have got their jobs back, but --

SHARPTON: The answer is the president -


SHARPTON: Let me answer you, the specifics is for 26 consecutive
months, jobs have been created. I ask you to show me where Romney created

STEELE: And I said yes he did, for a lot of folks out there he has
created jobs.


RENDELL: In fairness. And Reverend, let me make this point. In
fairness, you say 78 percent of those companies survived, and they did, I`m
sure that`s true.

SHARPTON: But we don`t know what that means.

RENDELL: But they may have survived going from 380 to 175 jobs, so we
need to know the facts, and he started to waffle on how many jobs he
created as the Rev said.

STEELE: I don`t think that Romney campaign has waffled on that.

RENDELL: Romney passed in doing the primaries and now, they are just
saying thousands.

SHARPTON: And it, Mr. Romney saying this is the debate, his own
opponent had raised, if he has specifics to rise, he should have raised
them be now.

STEELE: Well, look. I think - I`m not going to disagree with that
one. I think that`s a fair point to make, that if there are two or three
examples of that fine, put those out there. If nothing else, it sort of
all sets, the four companies that are you put up there as an example of the
whole thing.

SHARPTON: Will calm down, Michael.

STEELE: No. It`s not being a question of being excited, Rev. Of
course, you would not let me finish my point.

SHARPTON: No, you are not addressing my question. I won`t let you --


STEELE: You let me finish my point and then you can say I didn`t
address it.

SHARPTON: But your point is not a question. Go ahead.

STEELE: My only point is, I get what you are trying to do with the
negative slant. I totally get that finding three or four companies and
looking for offset. I agree there should be an offset and there is.

But, the fact of the mat is, that this discussion about Bain to the
top of your piece, Reverend, is really important about how we create jobs
in the country and whether we invest that effort in the private sector or
do we invest it in the government? The president wants to invest it in the
government. Romney wants to invest in the private sector, and that is the
core of the debate.

SHARPTON: I agree with you in the core of the debate.

Governor Rendell, let me show you. When you deal with the income
growth in this country, when you deal with the wealth disparity, and how we
deal with that, you have two different ways that are being proposed by the
candidates that could not be more opposite, and I think this that what this
is about. And I think that`s what call fewer around with Mayor Booker
said, unlike Cory Booker, I worked with him on education and crime and we
will continue to. But he is the mayor of Newark. What is he talking
about? Do you know when you`re the mayor Cory, you have record
unemployment and venture of vulture capitalist will not help us rebuild.
Look, Cory, come on.

Governor Ed Rendell and Michael Steele, thank you for your time

STEELE: Corey, go boy, you got it.


Coming up, President Obama faces a stunning attack from one of the
GOP`s rising stars.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not seen such a divisive figure on modern
American history as we have over the last three and a half years. Never
have we seen such an effort to divide the American people and an effort to
win an election as we have seen today.


SHARPTON: We will look at who is really being divisive in American
politics today.

And Catholics leaders way back into the debate over women`s rights.
This new lawsuit could backfire on conservatives.

Plus Republicans love to talk about how Paul Ryan is so serious about
the deficit. But he is making some laughable claims about the budgets put
out by his own buddy, Willard.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Mitch McConnell says he and Speaker Boehner were the adults
in the room on last year`s debt ceiling showdown. Since when is it adult
to hold the economy hostage?

Congressman Keith Ellison on Republicans, wanting their own facts
again, next.


SHARPTON: Folks, we said it many times. You can have your own
opinions, but we have to agree on the facts. Take, for instance,
Congressman Paul Ryan. The Republicans say he is a serious guy with
serious ideas, and a serious budget.


REP. JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The Ryan budget sets the bar
for the debate going forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This document does begin to address serious fiscal
challenges we face.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: Congressman Paul Ryan is
releasing a serious detailed old plan.

by the way unlike the president, has had the courage to offer serious
solutions to the problems we faced.


SHARPTON: But it`s hard for me to take the guy seriously when the
things he said just don`t add up, literally.

On Sunday Ryan said this about Mitt Romney`s budget.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: The kind of budget that Mitt Romney is
talking about is going to prevent a debt crisis.


SHARPTON: Romney`s budget prevents a debt crisis? Really, because
the center for American progress estimates that Romney`s budget would add
$10.7 trillion to the national debt. He makes the debt crisis worse, and
Ryan himself isn`t much better. Even Ryan`s own budget would add $3
trillion to the deficit over ten years.

Simply put, the GOP doesn`t have any credibility on this issue. It
was a Republican president, with Republican policies, that gave us this
recession and this debt.

And now, they want us to trust them to fix it?

Joining me now is Congressman Keith Ellis, a democrat from Minnesota.

Thank you for joining me tonight, Congressman.

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: Always a pleasure.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you. Do you think Paul Ryan or Mitt Romney are
serious guys with serious ideas about our economy?

ELLISON: No, they`re not. As a matter of fact, their philosophy
which is to give more money to the rich people and take it away from the
poor, has given us record deficits when they inherited surpluses. These
two tax cuts during the Bush era. This, the war, and the unfunded Medicare
part D had landed us in the fiscal crisis that we`re in, and what is their
prescription, more of the same.

So, I think what we need is a radical departure from trickledown
economics which is all this is and released our investors in America. And,
you know, all of us Americans together, particularly those with the most
privilege, paying the bills of the country which would eliminate our debt
and deficit.

SHARPTON: Now, the after math of last year`s crisis debate, they came
through these things that were being presented. U.S. credit was
downgraded, U.S. stock index plunged five to seven percent. Record numbers
of Americans ended up disapproving of congress, after all of that, this is
what we end up.

They`re threatening now, the same way again, even when we see the
results from last year what they did. This cannot be taken as people
committed to the good of the country or that are serious about the economic
stability of the country.

ELLISON: They`re committed to their ideology. They`re committed to
this idea that if you cut taxes for rich people, then rich people might
invest in equipment which by and by might - they might decide to hire a few

This is flawed economic theory, it doesn`t work that way. And the
only way to give people back working again is to invest in the economy, to
put people back to work. We have massive amounts of infrastructure needs
that need to be met. Why don`t we have record low interest rates, money is
cheaper than any time in a generation. Why don`t we rebuild America?

But, that`s exactly what they don`t want to do. They want to cut
programs that help the poor, and give more tax breaks to the rich, which is
a recipe for more disaster.

And as you pointed out, last August, they were willing to default on
America`s debt which would have increased, significantly, financial trauma
on this nation. And now they`re threatening to do it again, as you said,
which again threatens the very fragile economy we have been experiencing.

SHARPTON: Well, cut everything but don`t mess with those Bush tax

Congressman Keith Ellison, thanks for your time tonight.

ELLISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, GOP rising star Senator Marco Rubio claims
President Obama is the most divisive figure in modern American history.
Really, he should look at the company he keeps.

And the debate over birth control is back. Catholic groups are now
suing the Obama administration and making some very questionable threats to
the poor.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Folks, by now you probably all heard of this man, Joe
Ricketts. He founded TD Ameritrade, his family owns the Chicago cubs, and
he was at the center of the proposed smear campaign the "New York Times"
reported on last week. Ricketts, considering bank rolling a nasty $10
million ad campaign linking President Obama to his former pastor Reverend
Jeremiah Wright.

He disavowed the plan Willard made headlines. But, we know he thinks
that President Obama as big government liberal. Ricketts even funds a
super PAC called "Ending Spending Action fund." And his spokesman says he
will quote, "work hard to help elect a president this fall who shares his
commitment to economic responsibility."

So, Ricketts is all about cutting the deficit and government spending
except when it helps him. Get this one. The Ricketts family wants a whole
lot of government money to help update Wrigley field, the Chicago cub ball
club. They want $150 million in taxpayer backed bonds. And a share of
increased tax revenues once the renovation is complete. How does that
square with Joe Ricketts` politics?


JOE RICKETTS, FOUNDER, TD AMERITRADE: I think it`s a crime for our
elected officials so borrow money today to spend money today, and push the
repayment of that loan out into the future on people who are not even born


SHARPTON: Yes, a crime for elected officials to borrow money from
taxpayers except if it going to your baseball team.

To Joe Ricketts, thank you. We wouldn`t point out his hypocrisy.

Nice try, but as a swing in a miss, we got you.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Florida Senator Marco
Rubio is lobbying very hard to be Mitt Romney`s vice presidential running
mate. But he has a little problem, the Senator doesn`t really understand
the meaning of the word divisive.


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: We have not seen such a divisive
figure on modern American history as we have over the last three-and-a-half
years. Never have we seen such an effort to divide the American people and
an effort to win an election as we have seen today.


SHARPTON: Senator, let me break out the dictionary. Divisive means,
tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people. Senator, I
don`t know what you think the word means. Because if you did understand
what the word meant, then you would not have Senator Jim DeMint introduce
you. Yap, the man right there, he embodies the word divisive, remember
when he said this.


SEN. JIM DEMINT (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: If we`re able to stop Obama on
this, it will be his waterloo. It will break him.


SHARPTON: How that for divisive? Of course, breaking the President
has been a goal of Senator DeMint literally since day one. The night of
Obama`s inauguration, Senator DeMint and other GOP leaders were less than a
mile away plotting how to block and undermine his agenda. Senator Rubio
likes to talk about divisiveness, but has he met the leaders of his party?


LESLEY STAHL, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: So, you did compromise?


STAHL: Why won`t you say -- you`re afraid of the word.

BOEHNER: I reject the word.

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


SHARPTON: How is that for divisive Senator Rubio, I take that
dictionary with you next time because this is not divisive.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We`re greater together than we
are on our own. I believe that this country succeeds when everybody gets a
fair shot, when everyone does their fair share. When everyone plays by the
same rules.


These are not democratic values or republican values. These are not
one percent values or 99 percent values, they`re American values.


SHARPTON: Joining me now, former Congressman Alan Grayson, democrat
from Florida who is now running to return to Congress, and Joe Madison,
Sirius XM radio host.


SHARPTON: Thank you both for being here.

REP. ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let`s start with you. Senator Rubio thinks
the President is divisive. What do you make of that?

GRAYSON: Well, remember how President Obama first came to the
public`s attention seven-and-a-half years ago. He gave a beautiful speech
in which he called for one America. Not a blue America or red America but
one America. And that speech enabled him to win a democratic nomination
because that was an idea that appealed to Americans across the board and
then to win the presidency. But what he has been faced with from the
Republicans implacable division, division just for the sake of division.
Disagreeing just for the sake of disagreeing. Look what happened with the
healthcare bill, more than 150 republican amendments including that bill
and no Republicans voted for it.


GRAYSON: Look at the grand bargain on the deficit that the President
opposed to end the deficit. The Republicans would even show up and
negotiate for it. But they`re not just guilty of division, they`re also
guilty of subtraction. The Republicans have subtracted jobs, they`ve
subtracted health care, they`ve subtracted from healthcare education, and
they want to subtract Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, student loans
and unemployment insurance.

SHARPTON: Now, it`s interesting you say that Congressman, because the
fact of the matter is when you deal with this question of divisiveness and
partisan politics. The President has been criticized by members of his own
party, some of us that are progressive, for leaning over too much. And now
to call him divisive, it`s almost laughable in some circles.

GRAYSON: Right. I think that soon now -- Roger Clemens (ph) and
he`ll say that the President is guilty of using steroids. That makes us
much sense as what Marco Rubio said.

SHARPTON: Yes. Joe Madison, we also saw Rubio attack this weekend,
the President`s education, watch this.


RUBIO: And so, the President and his party`s view of America`s
government and our lives is a failed one. It has not worked. These ideas
that sounded so good in the classrooms at Harvard and Yale haven`t really
worked out well in the real word.


SHARPTON: Harvard and Yale, hasn`t worked out well in the real world,

MADISON: They have worked out well in the real world. As a matter of
fact, he took that degree from Harvard, and his wife took her degree from
Harvard, and what did they do? They didn`t got to Wall Street and end up
trying to invest in derivatives which Wall Street didn`t even know the
definition of. But no, they worked in their community, and as a
congressman I hope will soon be congressman again. As he pointed out about
the distraction, Rubio although to recognize that his own party would even
support President Obama when he granted Cuban Americans unrestricted rights
to visit their families and to also send money now to Cuba.

He added that and therefore Rubio is against his own people. And he
added as you talked about in a couple of segments to go. He added 2.5 to
three million jobs in the private sector. He added and expanded loan
programs for small businesses. So, I mean, here is the pot calling the
kettle black as your staff pointed out in the presentation of this segment.
I mean, they`re the ones who said from the very beginning at the caucus
room here in Washington, D.C., that we`re not going to work with this
president, therefore we want him to fail. And if this President fails, it
means unfortunately what? The country fails. That is what is divisive,
divisive, however you want to pronounce it.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, let me go back to you. It`s a lot of
ugliness and divisiveness or divisiveness as Joe said whichever you want to
pronounce it. Governor Chris Christie attacked the President this weekend
while he was addressing Kentucky Republicans. He said and I`m quoting him.
"President Obama has cared more about posing and preening than progress."
And then Congressman Joe Walsh, town hall this weekend, a constituent at
Walsh`s town hall attacked the President and Congressman Walsh listened and
said nothing. Let me show it to you.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: She should have said it before he was elected and
said, I`m a socialist, I believe in socialism, communism, whatever, and say
this is where I want to lead the country, not do it underhandedly.

REP. JOE WALSH (R), ILLINOIS: However you want to label and define
it, don`t you think now after three and a half years as a country, now we
have a really good idea where the President wants to go.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, absolutely because he feels he has everyone
by cojones, now.


SHARPTON: I mean, real ugly kind of crazy shrill language but it`s
being entertained and in some cases being recycled by some of the leaders
in the Republican Party in some cases.

GRAYSON: Well, you`re going to see nothing but personal attacks
against President Obama for the next six months. Because we`ve seen
nothing of personal attacks against some for the past four years. You
know, this whole question of his birth certificate, when has a white
president ever been asked to produce a birth certificate. It`s all nothing
but personal attacks because they have no answers for anything. All they
can do is make ad hominem arguments. There`s a -- trades for you. Ad
hominem arguments. They`ve got no health policy worth discussing, their
health policy is basically say, don`t get sick. They`ve got no educational
policy worth discussing, and their economic policy is reverse Robin Hood,
they`re stealing from the poor, and giving to the rich.

MADISON: I would also say to you that these guys must be trying to
get a job with the next Men in Black movie. Because I don`t know what
planet that they lived on. Anybody in their right mind whose done any
amount of study knows you can`t be a communist and a socialist at the same
time. You know, the Nazis fought the communist, the communist fought the
Nazis, these are bogeyman terms. That`s all these are and that`s all
they`re trying to do.

SHARPTON: Well, I`ll tell you something else, Joe that anyone knows
in politics, you don`t criticize a candidate and incumbent president for a
Harvard degree when your candidate has two Harvard degrees.

MADISON: Well, thank you --

SHARPTON: Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, I have to go. Joe
Madison, always good to have you on. Thank you both for your time.

GRAYSON: Thank you, Rev.

MADISON: Always good to be there. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, today, major Catholic groups announced lawsuits
against the Obama administration over birth control. One of the biggest
leaders is threatening to stop feeding the poor.

On a lighter note -


OBAMA: I`m so in-love with you.


SHARPTON: Now, we know what inspired the President Obama to sing at
the Apollo and it`s not what you think. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We`ve seen the clip over and over again, and today we`re
finally finding out what was behind the President singing at the Apollo
five months ago.



OBAMA: I`m so in-love with you.


SHARPTON: At the launch for the G-8 Summit over the weekend,
President Obama let the cat out the bag.


OBAMA: I want to acknowledge a good friend. We were just talking
backstage. He was my inspiration for singing at the Apollo. Bono is here,
and it is just good to see him.


SHARPTON: So there it is. The President says, U2`s lead singer Bono
was the inspiration for singing Al Green`s "Let`s Stay Together." But both
are heading their voices to a worthy cause. Calling on world`s leaders to
lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade. And that`s
music to my ears. We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: The debate over birth control is back. Today, 43 Catholic
diocese groups and universities including Notre Dame filed a lawsuit
against the Obama administration. They are challenging the healthcare laws
mandate that their health plan include access to birth control for their
employees. Groups are claiming the plan forces, religious leaders to
accept government`s definition of what the church is. New York`s Cardinal
Dolan says, Catholic groups will have to choose between helping the poor
and providing equal access to health care.


CARDINAL TIMOTHY DOLAN, NEW YORK: We don`t want to come to a Doomsday
scenario where sooner or later, if these mandates click in, we`re going to
find ourselves faced with a terribly difficult decision as whether or not
we can continue to operate.

Feed the hungry, that we educate the kids, we take care of the sick,
that we clothed the naked, that we look out under victims of human traffic
and --


SHARPTON: Joining me now, Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans
United for Separation of Church and State. Thank you for joining me

STATE: It`s nice to be here.

SHARPTON: A Doomsday scenario. I mean, what do you make of what
Cardinal Dolan said?

LYNN: You know, Cardinal Dolan is completely wrong about almost
everything in this debate. Including the history of what the church has
been about. The Christian church throughout the world has been primarily
interested, you know, in helping the poor. That is how it got started.
That was the central message. This issue of birth control didn`t come up
until a pope in the 1930`s wrote a paper letter condemning birth control.
Birth control as you know, Reverend Sharpton not even mentioned in the
bible, it`s not an issue. But it is so offensive, so unethical for a
leader of the church to actually say if Obama`s rules go into effect, we
might stop helping those in need. We must stop helping the homeless. It`s

SHARPTON: That`s what I`m trying to -- I`m trying to get you to
explain, because really I`m sure a lot of people are confused as I am,
what does birth control have to do with helping the poor?

LYNN: Well, it doesn`t have anything to do with helping the poor
unless it`s available. Of course if you want to control family size, if
you`re making that moral choice using your own conscience, that`s what we
ought to be protecting. There is something phony here, Al, going on about
this corporate conscience, the bishops talk about a corporate conscious of
the church. I`m interested in the conscious of individual women,
individual employees, individual students who want to space out children,
who want to use birth control, and use it in a responsible fashion. That`s
the conscious we ought to be protecting, not some kind of phony corporate
conscience. That`s even sillier than corporate free speech.

SHARPTON: Now, because the reason I`m saying I`m confused, I
understand the argument, but what the mandate says is they must make things
available to their employees. They`re not telling them they must take it,
they`re not saying they must violate their religious beliefs but they must
respect the beliefs of their employees and they must respect the rights of
their employees. So, how do you say rather than respect the rights of my
employees which may defer for me as an employer, I may then have to stop
taking care of the poor, I mean how do you rationalize that?

LYNN: Well, there is no way that I can rationalize it, and I think
that when Mr. Dolan makes these comments, I mean, he really is repudiating
his own churches` history and his own commitment to those who are in need.
And ultimately, Al, this is not just about the arch diocese of some city
not wanting to participate in an Obama insurance plan. It`s got more to do
with this. The bottom-line of the Catholic bishops is this, any Roman
Catholic employer should have the right to simply say, I`m not covering
anything that I disapprove of. I don`t mean just a person in a Catholic
hospital, I mean a person that runs a bookstore, a person who runs a

In fact, the head, a lawyer for their conference of Catholic bishops,
a man named Anthony Pecorello (ph) actually said that if he decided to quit
his job and decided to own a Taco Bell, not something he is likely to do,
but he would want to write as a individual Catholic to deny coverage of
birth control for his employees. There is no way this administration which
has tried desperately to negotiate some kind of compromise, none only with
the conference of Catholic bishops but with these right wing evangelical
groups too. There is nothing else to compromise. They didn`t get what
they want, and now they`re going to demand and threaten that they would
even take their services away from the poor.

SHARPTON: It`s amazing story, thank you, Barry Lynn.

LYNN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: It`s an important issue, thank you for your time tonight.

LYNN: Thanks.

SHARPTON: I spent my life fighting for justice and dealing with
critics. I have news on both.


SHARPTON: Tonight, I want to close the show talking about the cause
I`ve dedicated my life to. Something I fight for everyday. Justice. Our
nation rests on the foundation that the law must be applied equally to
everyone. But all too often, it`s not. Here in New York City, 86 percent
of the people stopped by the city`s so-called stop in first policy, a black
or Hispanic, 86 percent. Now, I`m not against fighting crime. But it is a
crime when the law is unfairly applied. That`s why National Action Network
and labor groups and NAACP`s are planning a march here New York next month.
To protest this stop in first policy in abuses of it. Today, police
commissioner Ray Kelly wrote an Op-ed defending his apartment, and Op-ed
that both praises me and acknowledges the tough questions that critics like
myself are asking.

Kelly correctly points out, that African-American clergy have been
concerned about crime in their communities. Kelly says, quote, "They and
the Reverend Al Sharpton were among the few to identify the problem in
unvarnished terms, even as Sharpton continues to criticize the police when
he perceives excess." Kelly then goes on to say, critics with short
memories and questionable motives continues to misrepresent America`s most
diverse police department as racist. Commissioner, facts are facts. It`s
hard to misrepresent this one. A disproportionate number of people being
stopped of people of color. It`s a matter of justice. But in America
today, issues of race and justice are all too often confused and distorted
by the right-wing media. Over at FOX News, Bill O`Reilly has been talking
a lot about a white couple that was beaten by group of black teens. Now,
O`Reilly is calling for justice.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: In America, we`re supposed to have
equal justice for all and there are many laws that protect minorities as
there should be, but a bias crime is a bias crime no matter what skin color
is involved.


SHARPTON: Of course, I agree we should have equal justice for all.
Of course, people ought to be prosecuted if they did that, but these four
teens have already been charged in this attack. The justice process is
taking its course. By contrast, Trayvon Martin`s family lawyer called me
to get involved in the case because justice was not taking his course.
George Zimmerman needed to be arrested, the evidence supported that.


SHARPTON: I did not come to Florida after talking to Sybrina and
Tracy and Crump and Parks to convict Zimmerman. I didn`t come to try
Zimmerman. I come to say what is good for one is good for all.


SHARPTON: I doesn`t matter if you`re Black or White, gay or straight,
young or old, the same standards of justice should be applied to everyone.
It`s the reason I fought against unfair immigration laws in Arizona for
Latinos. It`s why I recorded the PSA calling for marriage equality. These
are injustices that need to be corrected. We must have the same standard
of justice for everyone. I only go when I`m called and I only go if the
justice system isn`t working. That`s not ambulance chasing, too often
we`re the only ambulance. The only ones that will come.

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


<Copy: Content and programming copyright 2012 MSNBC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
Transcription Copyright 2012 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of

Sponsored links

Resource guide