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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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Guests: Jared Bernstein, John Wiseman; Emanuel Cleaver, Melissa Harris-Perry, Catherine
Crier, Joe Wurzelbacher


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

Tonight`s lead. This is the man who is going to fix the economy.
Mitt Romney made his time at Bain his central qualification for president,
the reason that he is the man to lead us to economic recovery. It`s why
America needs him to occupy the White House.

Of course, Willard doesn`t like any criticism of that record, and,
well, he doesn`t really like to answer questions about it either.

Today, he sat down for an interview and was asked quote, "what
specific skills and policies did you learn at Bain that will help you
create an environment where jobs will be created?" Here is what he
answered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: That`s a bit of a question
saying like what have you learn in life to help you lead. My whole life
has been learning to lead from my parents, to my education, to the
experience I have in the private sector, to helping run the Olympics, and
then of course, helping guide a state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No, folks, that was the right clip you saw, I know you`re
thinking we gave you the wrong clip, the answer had nothing to do with
Bain, parents, education, the Olympics, had nothing to do with Bain, had
nothing to do with job creation.

Then he was asked, if he welcomed scrutiny of his record? Here is his
response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: What I can tell you is this. The fact is that I spent 25
years in the private sector. And that obviously teaches you something that
you don`t learn if you haven`t spent any time in the private sector. If
you say tell me what you learn from your schooling that would help you be a
president, how do I begin going through a list like that?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Again, I did not hear an answer about the scrutiny there.
But he did talk about learning, and the truth is Romney learned plenty at
Bain. But the president says they were the wrong lessons. Here is what he
is saying moments ago in Denver.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He should be proud of
the great personal success he`s had as the CEO of a large financial firm.
But I think he has drawn the wrong lessons from his experience. Because
his working assumption is if CEOs and wealthy investors like him get rich,
the rest of us will too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The wrong lessons. Romney may have made plenty of money
for his investors, but that does not qualify him to be president, and he
proved that yet again today when talking about how he would lower
unemployment.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Over four years by virtue of the policies that we would put
in place, we would get the unemployment rate down to six percent, perhaps a
little lower.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Great. Who doesn`t want unemployment down to six percent?
Terrific! But wait, didn`t I hear you say this just a few weeks ago?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Anything over eight percent, anything near eight percent,
anything over four percent is not cause for celebration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is getting absurd. This is why Bain matters. The
Bain questions will only get hotter, and he doesn`t seem to have an answer
for it.

Joining me now is Representative Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat from
Missouri and chairman of the congressional black caucus, and Jared
Bernstein, MSNBC contributor and a former chief economist for vice
president Joe Biden.

Thank you both, for being here tonight.

REP. EMANUEL CLEAVER (D), MISSOURI: Good to be with you.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me start with you, how can Romney run on a
business record that he doesn`t like answering questions about?

CLEAVER: He can`t do it successfully. I was the mayor of Kansas
city, Missouri when Bain Capital essentially cannibalized a company called
GS Technologies. And as mayor, we offered that company just about
everything we could do n terms of municipal government. We offered them
everything except the gauge barbecue and the chiefs and the royals. And
they still pulled out. They took all of the money out of the company they
left.

Now, I`m not mad at Mr. Romney. I`m not trying to say he`s not a good
guy, as accusing people of saying. He is probably a good guy. But, Bain
Capital was not a company that not created jobs, it created wealth. And
for a real clear reason, it created wealth for him, himself.
Now, the thing is, he never should have brought up Bain Capital as an
example of what he could do as president. And now that he has, he is going
to have to deal with that. He brought it up, the president didn`t.

SHARPTON: And we, by the way, Mr. Chair, we`re going to have a GS
former employer on in the next segment.

But Jared, let me go to you. Let me show you this full screen here
about the economy, because according to congressional budget office, we`re
on our way to a 6.3 unemployment economy anyway whether Romney gets us
there or not. So him saying would bring us to six percent is really on
track where we`re headed any way despite the fact that he said as I played
four percent just a little while ago, he`s now gone up to six percent.
But, the congressional budget offers and the office of management budget
both put us one, 6.3 percent, the other 6.1 percent. That`s where the
trend is headed anyway, Jared, right?

BERNSTEIN: Well, if the economy were to pick up speed, absolutely. I
think what you have to be concerned about there, is to map Governor
Romney`s policy agenda on to this unemployment number he has been throwing
around. I mean if you just look at the supply side trickle down, the
regulatory stuff that are in his policy documents, he doesn`t side this
stuff. It`s exactly the policy set that got us into the mess we`re in now
where unemployment has been stuck at highly elevated levels. And it feeds
right into the comments that you and the congressman were making.

If your model of the economy is trickle down, that means you`re all
about the kind of PE profit maximizing model where tax cuts and big gains
to those at the top are supposed to create more economic activity that
benefits the middle class and lower income people. We have had a natural
experiment of this during the George W. Bush years, and the impact was
exactly the opposite. The middle class, low income people struggled, and
then fell off the cliff in a recession includes in part by the very set of
policies we have been discussing.

SHARPTON: The other thing confusing, Mr. Chairman, is he have flipped
and flopped over the unemployment rate, but he also flipped on the numbers
of jobs he`s claiming that Bain created. Now, mind you, he said what
establishes him as a job creator is he was CEO of Bain.

But then, when you get pinning him down or attempt to pin him down on
how many jobs he created or Bain created, let me show you his answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: If you take those places we`re able to add jobs and subtract
those that lost jobs, we added over 100,000 jobs.

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

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, down to thousands,
we still don`t know how many jobs he created, but he wants to use this as
his calling card as a job creator.

CLEAVER: Well, what governor did was he re-adjusted the number of
jobs he created based on the level of scrutiny of Bain. And every time
something would just proved he moved out to a lower number.

But reverend Al, let me go back to something that he said earlier on
other rape that ran. He talked about bringing unemployment down to four
percent. That`s a violation of everything he said he believes. Remember,
he said government should not be involved. Let the private sector run it.
And the recession automatically his, that it`s just cyclical.

Well, if he is talking about bringing it down, he said I`m going to
bring it down to six percent, that`s a violation. So, why would the
government under a Romney presidency be to bother to get involved? After
all, a recession is cyclical by itself.

SHARPTON: Well, you missed. He wants the private sector to run
everything under Obama. We can have big government intervention under
Romney.

But Jared, let me keep on the theme to Chairman is on. Because Romney
once again today said the president has decided to attack success. But
what the president actually says is that odds would that - they are trying
to act like the president is anti-business while he is so pro business
under the personification of business. Let me show you what Romney said
today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Sadly, President Obama has decided to attack success. It`s
no wonder so many of his own supporters are calling him to stop this war on
job creators.

OBAMA: I believe the free market is the greatest force for economic
progress in human history.

From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets
and free enterprise.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So Jared, we have him clearly distorting the president.

BERNSTEIN: I really share your frustration and I thank you for
exposing that. Because, you know, if you look at the numbers, the business
community ought to be in love with President Obama because corporate
profits are not just back to where they were before the great recession
when they were already sawing, they surpassed that. The stock market is up
more than double since the crash.

And mean while, middle class families are still struggling, so it has
always been a huge head scratcher for me that they would take that
position. But, you know, I think the president is trying to make one
simple point here. And you`re right it`s being distorted. What he saying
is, I`m all for profits. Go ahead. Be profitable. But don`t, American
people. Don`t those of you in the elector rate mistake corporate
profitability for employment growth.

SHARPTON: Right.

BERNSTEIN: It is definitely part of that picture, it`s necessary,
it`s not sufficient, and we have seen that very clearly in this recovery.
And I just mentioned, corporate profits, fully recovered employment is
still climbing back.

SHARPTON: Mr. Chairman, we also see as he tries to distort the
president. He is running on this that he is the pro-business guy. He, as
a business executive knows how to get things done, and he ran on this to
become governor in 2002.

Let me show you exactly what he is saying in 2002.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There`s no question but that some of those companies were
successful. I wish I could bet 1,000, I can`t. But I`m basically in the
investors` hall of fame and that kind of record is something I will use to
help the people of Massachusetts.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He is in the investor`s hall of fame and he was going to
use to help the people of Massachusetts and people of Massachusetts ranged
47 out of 50 states in job creation, Mr. Chairman.

CLEAVER: Well, if you talk to the steel workers in this community,
what you will later n the show, that they will say that he is in the
employees` hall of shame.

Now, the governor cannot become angry and irritated at the president
or anybody for talking about these issues because he brought them up. He
brought them up when he run against Ted Kennedy for the U.S. senate.

SHARPTON: Right.

CLEAVER: He brought it up when he run for governor. And he`s is
bringing it up now. The difference, of course, is that this time there are
only two candidates out there, President Obama and of course, Governor
Romney. And so, it`s o easy to contrast them.

He wants people believe that he knows a lot about business. He knows
a lot about making money. He knows a lot about businesses that make money.
I will never question that.

But, that does not mean you qualify for president. Look. He is not a
bad guy, my cousin, Herman, is not a bad guy. I will never vote for him
for president. So, it doesn`t mean that you got to be a bad guy to find
that your policies in the past and your business operation were bad.

SHARPTON: Well, thank you Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and Jared
Bernstein. And Herman has a lot of potential, congressman.

Thanks for coming on the show tonight.

CLEAVER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the real people whose literally lives were destroyed
by Mitt Romney`s Bain Capital are speaking out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was devastated. It makes me angry. Those guys
were all rich. They all have more money than I ever spend. Yes, they
didn`t have the money to take care of the very people that made the money
for them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bain Capital walked away with a lot of money that
they made off of this plant. We view Mitt Romney as a job destroyer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Our exclusive interview with the steel worker whose company
was taken over by Bain in 1993.

Plus, the new Republican attack line, President Obama is divisive, but
Collin Powell, yes, Collin Powell has a response.
`
And I thought I heard it all. But now, some conservatives are claiming
their party, the Republican party, is the party of civil rights. We won`t
let them re-write history.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: What really happened during Mitt Romney`s time at Bain
Capital? Two often, people`s livelihood to a destroyer. Our interview
with a steel worker whose company was taken over by Bain. What really
happened to those workers?

And important story, that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Everyone in Washington is asking about Governor Romney`s
time at bane. People need to know what his business experience, really, is
all about. Fifty nine percent of people believe that Romney`s business
experience would help them improve the economy. But Americans need to know
the truth about Romney`s business model. And it`s not about the millions
of dollars that Willard made. It`s about the human catastrophe Bain
Capital wreaked on thousands of Americans. It`s the story how the name
Bain Capital became synonymous with killing jobs, ruining families, and
even ending lives. And it`s a story that has to be told.

Joining me now is John Wiseman. He saw firsthand the devastation that
Bain Capital caused to hundreds of families out of a steel plant in Kansas
city. John worked for Armco Steel which Bain purchased in 1993. They
changed the company`s name to GS Technologies.

In 2001 when John was working at the GST as the GST representative for
the united steel workers union, GST was forced to file for bankruptcy
protection. They shut their doors and fired 750 workers in the process.
But Bain walked away with a cool $12 million profit and left the government
holding the bag to pay a lot of GST`s pension plans to the tune of $44
million.

John, thanks for being here tonight.

JOHN WISEMAN, FORMER UNION REPRESENTATIVE FOR GST: My pleasure,
Reverend Sharpton. Thank you for having me on.
SHARPTON: You know, John. Those numbers are stunning. But, they don`t
tell a story that it human cost of what happened at GST. What happened to
the people who were working there?

WISEMAN: It`s such a tragic story. There were 750 people who
immediately had their lives turned upside down and their entire families
along with them, and the entire community in fact. And it still has not
recovered.

When the plant closed down and they filed the bankruptcy, the people
lost their health insurance, the retiree health insurance, not only to
folks still working there, but we had a lot of folks that worked at that
plant that had been retired for years who lost their retiree health
insurance. They had their pension slashed by up to $400 a month because
the pension plan was so badly underfunded by about $44 million, and only a
seven year period.

SHARPTON: Wow.

WISEMAN: They -- the company had an agreement to pay people eight
weeks of severance pay who lost their jobs. Our people never got a penny
of that, yet they paid out their top 30 executives over $300,000 a piece.

SHARPTON: So, wait a minute. While they didn`t pay the servants`
agreement to the workers, they paid their top executives over $300,000?

WISEMAN: A piece, that`s correct.

SHARPTON: Now, I understand also when Bain took over GST, there were
changes in the factory. They hired managers with no experience in the
steel industry.

WISEMAN: You`re correct. That happened very shortly after they
bought the plant in 1993, really started rapidly in about 1995. They pretty
much got rid of all of the existing management group that were really pros
at running a steel plant, and they replaced them with folks that had no
experience and really didn`t know how to operate a steel plant.

SHARPTON: I also understand that the machine maintenance in steel
back to cut cost, safety precaution who ignored by management and workers
were exposed to dangerous conditions, and workers were forced to work
overtime.

WISEMAN: Yes, to all of the above. Maintenance and upkeep of our
equipment virtually went away, completely ignored. It was an ugly scene.
And our people have paid a dear price for it. Many of them lost their
health insurance as I mentioned earlier, and unfortunately, we`ve had some
of those folks, who literally, had to choose between providing health care
to themselves or a sick spouse, or food.

SHARPTON: And some of these workers were sick as well, is that also
correct?

WISEMAN: That is correct. There was a quite a number of these folks
that worked at that plant over the years that separate from asbestos`s.
And when GST eliminated their insurance benefits, they had nowhere to turn.
They had to go to the private market to try to buy insurance. And I know a
couple cases where they were quoted costs by insurance company that would
cost them $5,000 a month. And you didn`t misunderstand; $5000 a month and
that was for a very high deductible. That was because of the pre-existing
conditions that had with the asbestos.

SHARPTON: Now, the reason this is important, is Mr. Romney chose to
run on this. He is, but front center CEO of Bain, proves he knows
business, proves he knows what to do to create jobs, and to run an economic
plan to keep everybody moving forward.

What do you think as one that worked at one of the companies that was
taken over by Bain while he was the CEO? What do you think the American
people need to know about Mr. Romney?

WISEMAN: Well, you know. He is touting himself as some kind of great
job creator. And what I can tell you, Reverend Sharpton is, what happened
to us here in Kansas city, as well as he did the same thing at many other
plants around the country, he turned out to be a job destructor instead of
a job creator.

And I think the American people in your large viewing audience need to
think hard and long about that. Because do we really want somebody with
this kind of a track record doing the same thing to the entire country that
he did to the workers here at GST in Kansas city and the Amped folks in
Ohio -- I think people need to think long and hard about it because it
scares the daylight out f me that think about possibilities.

SHARPTON: John Wiseman, thank you for sharing your story. Powerful
testimony, thank you for your time, and we really would be having you back.

WISEMAN: Thank you so much, Reverend, for having me on. Appreciate
it.

SHARPTON: Thank you.

Still ahead, Collin Powell speaks out on the quote, "ugliness" in GOP
attacks against President Obama. Are there any other reasonable
Republicans left to listen to him?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the new republican attack line of the week
-- drum roll, please. They`re all calling the President divisive. Florida
Senator Marco Rubio kicked it off over the weekend in South Carolina
calling the President the most divisive figure in American history. Last
night, Paul Ryan spoke at the Reagan library calling the, quote, "Divisive
politics of the last three years." And over on FOX News, Sean Hannity got
the memo, but former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a republican, was
there to set the record straight.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: I find him one of the most divisive
figures that I`ve witnessed in politics today.

COLIN POWELL, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, that is the term
that`s being used rather freely. I don`t think he`s that divisive is an
issue. I think we have right now, we have dueling points of view strongly
held by both sides. And the President is starting to go to the mattresses,
just as the Republicans are going to go to the mattresses to try to win the
election. What could have been more divisive than when President Obama was
inaugurated for a number of Republicans, friends of mine and a number of
commentators to say, we are going to destroy him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: From day one, they hatched a plan over dinner to bring him
down. And four three-and-a-half years, it has only gotten harsher and
uglier, so General Powell, why did you endorse President Obama in 2008?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

POWELL: I felt that the Republican Party at that time was conveying
an impression of harshness. There was a certain ugliness to some of the
things that are being said about President Obama, and some of the things
you see at the campaign events.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Harshness and ugliness. Just moments ago, the President
responded in Denver with his take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I believe I`m absolutely
convinced we`re not at divided as politics suggest right now. I still
believe we got more in common than the pundits tell us, we`re not Democrats
or Republicans first, we`re Americans first. That`s what I believe.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Joining me now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of MSNBC`s "Melissa
Harris-Perry," and Catherine Crier, a former judge, prosecutor, journalist
and author of "Patriot Acts: What America Must Do to Save the Republic."
Thanks to both of you for joining me tonight.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY": Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Melissa, this divisive line of attack seems to be the new
one, what do you make of it?

PERRY: Well, at the moment, I`m just loving Colin Powell, right. It
wasn`t that sort of a statement like moment. Here you`ve got surrogates on
the President`s, you know, own team who are making this false equivalency
between the Bain Capital question and the Reverend Wright question. And
here you`ve got General Powell really making it very plain, very clear that
no, this is a president who ran very much on a kind of method and goal of
unifying the country, and was met with what must be described as massive
resistance from day one. From the moment that he took office, there has
been nothing but massive resistance, a kind of just say no program on the
part of Republicans who are now sort of using exactly their own tactics to
describe the present things that he`s divisive when in fact, it`s really an
incredible sort of projection, kind of psychological projection of the GOP
on to the President.

SHARPTON: Now, Catherine, last night at the Reagan library.
Congressman Paul Ryan complained about President Obama`s divisive politics.
This is what he said. He said, "The divisive politics of the last three
years have not only undermine social solidarity, they have brought progress
and reform to a standstill at the very time when America was desperate for
solutions to a devastating financial crisis."

CATHERINE CRIER, AUTHOR, "PATRIOT ACTS": Reverend, I`m puzzled.
Because when you look at the record whether it was maintaining Wall Street
as his financial advisers and not getting a lot of reforms through that I
think this country needs, whether it was sustaining all of the military
policies, deporting more people in three years than Bush did in eight, we
go through all of these sort of republican positions, and this man on so
many policies, could be effectively described as a moderate republican,
certainly a conservative democrat. So, I`m not sure how, when you look at
the empirical evidence, you can substantiate the claim that he has been
divisive.

SHARPTON: Now, Melissa, I think Catherine raises a point because even
among progressives, we`ve heard the argument among those of us that
consider ourselves progressives that he is too compromising and that he`s
too much trying to have unity and he`s making too many concessions. And I
have gotten into one or two fights with some friends over that. I mean, I
don`t understand what they think he should be doing.

Well, I mean, I think that`s exactly the point is that when you look
empirically at the President, Catherine was just suggesting. You know,
when you look at his foreign policy which in many ways has been consistent
with American foreign policy overtime. And to the extent that it is
shifted, it`s shifted in ways that I think are kind of reasonable, sort of
drawing down the troops in Iraq, something that the American people have
indicated really since 2006 that they wanted. When you look at sort of the
President`s behavior domestically, again he governs closer to a Bill
Clinton or Ronald Reagan than he does to some sort of socialist fantasy
that has been created by the right. But it`s exactly because they simply
created it, that they`ve simply projected it. And so, now they can state
it and kind of continuously re-state it without having to have empirical
evidence to back it up. It`s really just a talking point, it is not an
assessment of this President`s first term in office.

And also Catherine, not being honest about the record. Because when
you look at the fact the Republicans have blocked this president at almost
every chance they got, Senate Republicans block 9/11 first responders bill.
House Republicans demanded offsets for disaster relief. Boehner rejected
President`s request to address Congress. Senate Republicans filibustered
the jobs bill. Senate Republicans filibustered judicial nominees. And
then, after all of this, you have Ryan standing up there last night talking
about how he brought progress and reform to a standstill. Everything he
proposed, they either filibustered or blocked.

CRIER: That`s right. And one more I want to answer that is, is the
military budget. We know as the Republicans agreed that they would going
to go along with major cuts, and what did they do? They immediately
abandoned this position, this last week and said, no, we`re ignoring it,
we`re going to push for a military budget that even exceeds that the
Pentagon is asking for. So, they`re even backtracking on their own
agreements. It`s pretty extraordinary, but I would ask the American
people, what are you, right, left or center, who everyone votes for. Is go
back to the empirical evidence and look at the numbers, it would take you a
couple of minutes on the internet to find the answers to this questions,
but the rhetoric is incendiary and the rhetoric is false.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, in Robert Draper`s book, Melissa, it`s all
part of the plan to make the President a one-term president according to
Draper`s book. Step one, show united and unyielding opposition to the
President`s economic policies. Step two, win the spear point of the house
in 2010. Step three, jab Obama relentlessly in 2011. Step four, win the
White House and the Senate in 2012. According to Draper`s book, that was
the four steps, and they seem to be staying right on that strategy.

PERRY: Yes. And I want to be really clear. All of this. Sort of
this whole goal of winning, because you know, if you`re in a democracy,
sure you have a goal of winning, you set out a strategy for winning, part
of sitting out a strategy for winning is beating the opposition. But we
should be really clear that they apparently want to win just to win. And I
think this goes back to Catherine`s point about it, if you look empirically
at how this President has governed in a way that`s actually been very
moderate, and particularly given how bad our circumstances are, he has
actually been extremely moderate, very much willing to compromise, and so
this desire to win is not rooted in like some sort of great desire to do
better by the country because the country is doing better than it was.
This is just about winning for winnings sake, and I think that`s the thing
that ought to make us the most nervous.

CRIER: And Reverend Al, not to sort of pitch the book, but I`m talked
in there when my favorite quotes is from John Adams, "Ideology is the
science of idiots." And in fact, we have a party right now that is
pressing ideology to the detriment of our constitutional republic. And
many of their positions, many of the rule changes in Congress that, you
know, prohibit bills even coming out of committee without 60 votes, we`re
not getting the kind of rational compromise that in fact the founders
created, the grand compromise which is what they called it, James Madison`s
constitution, when both sides, the left and the right, gave up the attempt
to make this country sway one way or the other and said, we`re going to
have a leveled playing field. We`re going to have rules, and every two to
four years, we`re going to have to convince the American people which way
they`re going to go within the rules of the game. They`re now changing the
rules which ultimately could dismantle the very thing they alleged they`re
trying to preserve and that is this constitutional republic.

SHARPTON: Be careful there for calling John Adams a socialist.
Melissa Harris-Perry and Catherine Crier, thanks for your time tonight.

HARRIS: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And be sure to catch Melissa`s show. Melissa Harris Perry
from 10 a.m. to noon Eastern Time. Saturday and Sunday.

Coming up, Republicans try to re-write the history of the civil rights
movement saying the GOP is and always has been the party of civil rights.
I have a few things to say about that. But first, remember Joe the
Plumber, he is back. He is running for Congress. He is saying some
controversial things and he`s coming up live on POLITICS NATION. Al the
Preacher, meets Joe the Plumber. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Remember Joe the Plumber? Well, he`s not happy about
something Joe Biden said. And he joins me live to tell us why. That`s
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, I have been saying this for awhile. A good
businessman does not make a good president, Vice President Biden made that
case yesterday in New Hampshire.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: Your job is president is to
promote the common good. That doesn`t mean the private equity guys are bad
guys, they`re not. But that no more qualifies you to be president than
being a plumber, it doesn`t. And by the way, there are a lot awful smart
plumbers. All kidding aside, is not the same job requirement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s not the same job, but that remark isn`t sitting well
with the man who may be the most famous plumber in the country. Joe the
Plumber. You remember him in 2008 when he asked President Obama about his
economic policies and became Palin`s campaign buddy. He`s got be for Joe
Biden saying, quote, "Since when is it Joe Biden`s job to tell the American
people who is and who isn`t qualified to be president? This type of
elitism and class warfare are the reasons why I`ve gotten into this
campaign."

Well, joining me now is Joe Wurzelbacher known as Joe the Plumber,
he`s running for Congress in Ohio. Joe, thanks for being here tonight.

JOE WURZELBACHER (R-OH), CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE: Hey, thanks Mr.
Sharpton.

SHARPTON: What`s your problem with Vice President Biden`s statement?

WURZELBACHER: Well, the simple fact that -- yes, the Blue Collar,
we`re the ones that built this country, and you think we would have a
better understanding on how to run it. And that`s my problem with the
statements. You know, plumbers don`t have aren`t qualified to hold office?
So, he is sitting there saying that only he and his Harvard and Yale
examples running that are currently running this country are allowed to run
this country? It`s just doesn`t make any sense. Our founder fathers
wanted people like you and I, you know, that come from the community and
represent our fellow Americans. Essentially, Vice President Biden doesn`t
believe that?

SHARPTON: Well, I don`t want to speak for him and his argument, but
let`s stay right there on the Blue Collar and you and I and regular people
running the country. We could find common ground there, Joe. So, let me
ask you this. What about the fact that elites pay less of a tax rate than
blue color workers, does that both you as well, those economic policies?

WURZELBACHER: Oh, brother, I am bothered by it, I can`t tell you how
I`m bothered by it. That is, I want to replace the tax codes. I`m tired
of the subsidies and incentives. Unfortunately, Barack Obama, President
Barack Obama talked about doing more incentives and subsidies in his speech
he gave a couple of months ago as he addressed to the state. We need to
get rid of this tax code because it is quite wrong. It`s not about fair.
You know, the world is not fair, you and I know that. But there is right
and wrong. So, we need to replace the tax code, we need to work towards
the fair tax, the flat tax, the Herman Cain`s 9-9-9 plan. We got to do
something real and level the plain around that where we encourage a small
business and middle businesses that can`t pay the lobbyist like the large
businesses camp.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, so, you had supported Cain.

WURZELBACHER: .whether we can make something happened.

SHRPTON: You had supported Cain and then now you support Romney.
Now, Romney pays about 13.9 percent in taxes. Certainly, he`s got two
degrees from Harvard, so clearly Romney doesn`t represent what you are
talking about nor does he advocate that, right?

WURZELBACHER: Well, I`m not here to talk about Mitt Romney. I mean,
Mitt Romney can talk about what he wants to do himself. He`s going to be
the GOP presidential candidate and yes, I will get behind him. Herman Cain
is a good man, solid man, he was a friend of mine. Absolutely, he got
people excited about tax replacements.

SHARPTON: But you`re just supporting Romney because he is the GOP
nominee, you really don`t believe what Romney is saying.

WURZELBACHER: Well, you know, Romney has fulfilled his American
dream, he`s been out there, he`s worked hard to promote himself and to take
care of his family, and he didn`t ask for handouts from the government. He
didn`t ask for anything.

SHARPTON: Getting a tax cut like that is a handout. I mean, getting
a tax cut like that from the government saves you a whole lot. But let me
go to something else, you`re a plumber, you represent.

WURZELBACHER: Hold on Al, hold on.

SHARPTON: OK. Go ahead.

WURZELBACHER: Go to your party. Why isn`t the Democratic Party
talking about tax replacement?

SHARPTON: They are. They are. They`re talking about letting Bush
tax cuts expire.

(CROSSTALK)

They are. They`re saying that the rich and the poor and the working
class ought to pay the same rate of taxes. They are talking about that.
Let me go to something else. You`re a famous plumber. Do you believe that
plumbers should have the right to collective bargaining and to be
represented so that they`re not exploited by the elite and the upper class?
You just had a fight there at Ohio around collective bargaining, so I`m
sure you believe that plumbers should be protected since they don`t have
the money for a lobbyist?

WURZELBACHER: Well, I believe in the private market. If they want to
unionize, that`s up to them, Al, I have no say in that other than being...

SHARPTON: Which you`re running for Congress, what is your feeling?

WURZELBACHER: Well, hold on. That`s not a federal level, Al. I`m
running for a federal position, in no way shape or form do I think the
federal government should get involved with unions at a private level.
Now, as far as them working for the government or the state, you know, I
think it`s quite wrong that a taxpayer is not represented it at the
bargaining table. That`s wrong, Al. You can`t slice it any which way but
that being wrong. So, I am against that, I believe that the taxpayer needs
to be represented when they go to bargaining table.

SHARPTON: But you don`t take a position on union organizing in your
state as a plumber, since you were fighting for the Blue Collar workers and
all of us that are like.

WURZELBACHER: Well, not all Blue Collar workers are unions, Al, but
I`ve told you, I answered it very straightly. You know, as far as unions
go, if you got private unions, that, you know, one of the local 50 here, my
local plumbing union, if that`s what they want to put together and it
works, it works for them, I`ve got some cousins in it. I`ve got an uncle
that`s in it. It worked well for them. They`ve made a good life. But at
the same time, I don`t think union leadership is very honest with union
followers.

SHARPTON: But that`s an addition. So, you believe in the right to
organize and that`s fine with you and you`ve got family members there. So,
you don`t believe in the rich guy getting bigger taxes, you believe in
union organizing, your quite a different kind of republican, but you
believe in state`s rights?

WURZELBACHER: Well, listen Al, I`m about getting America better. I`m
not worried about the Republican Party, the Democratic Party. I`m here to
work for America. That`s why we need to replace the tax code and pull
regulations back to the center. That`s what we need to do. This whole
green energy thing is driving me nuts because it`s subsidized off the back
of broke taxpayers. We got to get away from that. You know, we got to
talk about the truth. And unfortunately, we don`t hear the truth, all we
here is a lot of gossip and drama out there driven up by both sides of the
party.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: You`re right.

WURZELBACHER: That`s why I`m running for Congress.

SHARPTON: You`re absolutely right, Joe. And the broke taxpayers need
some relief which is why we need the tax cuts to be run out so that
everybody can pay their fair share, and we all rise together.

Thank you, Joe. Thanks for your time tonight.

WURZELBACHER: Al, that`s not going to happen, Al. Hey, take it easy,
Al.

SHARPTON: Some Republicans are trying to rewrite civil rights
history. We won`t let them. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: In the past couple of years, Republicans have done a lot of
objectionable, even crazy things. Now, they`re trying to rewrite the
history of the civil rights movement. The latest attempt comes from the
conservative National Review Magazine claiming, quote, "The Republican
Party has always been the party of civil rights." The party of civil
rights. You can have your own opinions but you can`t have your own facts.
Let`s look at the facts. First, the author seems to forget the history of
the very magazine he is writing for. National Review founder William F.
Buckley Jr., famously opposed the civil rights bills of 1964 and 65.
Writing at that time, quote, "The white community is so entitled because
for that time being, it is the advanced race," end of quote. Buckley`s
views later evolved, but in the `60s, he was leading voice against civil
rights. The National Review also claims President Lyndon Johnson a
southern democrat was against civil rights. LBJ against civil rights. The
man who backed the civil rights laws in 1957, 1960, 1964. The man who gave
this powerful speech to Congress and supported the voting rights act.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LYNDON B. JOHNSON, 36TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It`s not just
Engross, but really it`s all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy
offing bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: When he signed this law in 1965, LBJ reportedly told an
aide, we`ve lost the south for a generation. And he was right. White
Southern Democrats like Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms jumped ship and
headed straight to the Republican Party. Those disaffected Democrats found
a comfortable home in the Republican Party of Barry Goldwater, whose 1964
presidential campaign opposed civil rights. I grew up, a mother, my mother
and father when I was born in the 50s, were Republicans, in the `60s they
were Democrats because the Democrats supported civil rights. Either the
writers don`t know history, or they don`t know what civil rights is all
about.

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.
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