PoliticsNation, Thursday, May 31, 2012
Read the transcript from the Thursday show
Guests: David Corn; Hampton Dellinger, Bob Shrum; Terry O`Neill; Carolyn Maloney, Karen Finney, Wes Moore, America Ferrera
REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST, POLITICS NATION: Welcome to "Politics Nation."
I`m Al Sharpton.
Breaking news tonight, former presidential candidate John Edwards is
speaking out after a mistrial was declared in five of the six counts of the
campaign finance trial. On the other remaining charge, Edwards has been
found not guilty on the count that he took illegal campaign contributions
from wealthy eras, Rachel "Bunny" Mellon in 2008. Edwards was accused of
masterminding a plan to use money from wealthy donors to hide his pregnant
mistress, Rielle Hunter in 2008. He walked out at the courthouse a free
man and addressed the media.
JOHN EDWARDS, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I wanted to say first
thank you, for the jurors and their incredibly hard work and diligence.
They took their job very, very seriously. All I can say is thank goodness
we live in a country with the system like we have. I want to make sure
everyone hears from me and from my voice that while do I not believe I did
anything illegal or ever thought I was doing anything illegal, I did an
awful, awful lot that is wrong. And there is no one else responsible for
my sins. None of the people who came to court and testified are
responsible, nobody working for the government is responsible. I am
And if I want to find the person who should be held accountable for my
sins, honestly I don`t have to go further than the mirror. It`s me. It is
me and me alone.
I also want to say a word about my own children. Kate, who all of you
have seen, has been here every single day. She has been here no matter
what. No matter how awful and painful, and then finally, Emma, who turned
14 recently, and Jack, who just turned 12, who I take care of everyday, and
then finally my precious Quinn who I love more than any of you could ever
imagine. And I am so close to and so, so grateful for.
But, you know, this is the last thing I`m going to say. I don`t think
God is through with me. I really believe he thinks there are still some
good things I can do.
SHARPTON: Today`s news came after dramatic and confusing day in court
during which the judge mistakenly believed the jury reached a verdict in
all six counts.
Joining me now is Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist who managed John
Edwards` 1998 senatorial campaign. He also of course the chief strategist
for the Kerry-Edwards` presidential campaign in 2004, and David Corn,
Washington chief bureau for "Mother Jones" and also an MSNBC political
analyst. He is the author of the new book called "showdown" and live from
outside the courthouse in North Carolina, Hampton Dellinger, NBC News legal
Thank you for being here.
Bob, let me start with you. You know John Edwards well, what a day
and what`s reaction to the day?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, I don`t know him well for the
last eight years and I decided not to work with him for president in 2003
because I thought he wasn`t ready and I went to work for John Kerry. But
when I met the guy in `98 and I was just a consultant n that campaign, I
thought he had enormous potential.
What`s happen now, you know, there is another verdict that`s been
rendered here. His self-inflicting downfall is a tragedy for his family.
It means to me that is he is in the valley. The valley would have gotten
darker if there would be a guilty verdict. He will never dream again,
maybe he is, about being on that mountain top that he almost reached. If
he dreams about that, it`s a foolish and false dream. He, you know, he
said - we were talking before the show, he said God is not finished with
him yet, but the voters are.
SHARPTON: David, do you think the jurors might have been the last
people to vote in favor of him?
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It might have been the last
electorate he got on his side. He is 58 years old which doesn`t seem that
SHRUM: Thank you.
CORN: He has a lot of intelligence, America is a place of second,
third, and fourth acts, but it`s incredibly hard to see how he gets to any
place from outside of this valley that Bob accurately describes.
I mean, early today, somebody asked me to give an evaluation of where
he is, and I said what comes after your toast?
CORN: I mean. He is as low on the public scale as you can reach.
SHARPTON: Yes. He has like three percent favorable. So what --
SHARPTON: So people are clear though, let me ask --
CORN: This speech today and these remarks didn`t seem to help him
any. I mean, I don`t think it was a well played moment for him so, it
doesn`t get him --.
SHARPTON: I want to come back to his speech. But Hampton helps me
and the viewers understand. He was charged with six counts. And --
explain what was the one count, he was acquitted of and, what was the five
that were considered mistrial? What was the essence of what we are talking
about here on a legal term?
HAMPTON DELLINGER, NBC NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Sure, Reverend, the one
count he was found not guilty of related to moneys from Bunny Mellon,
Rachel "Bunny" Mellon in 2008 used mainly kept by Andrew and Cheri Young,
solely going to Edwards` mistress, Rielle Hunter. There was another count
for 2007 contribution, the Bunny money, no verdict on that. No verdict on
two counts related to support from Fred Baron for the Young`s and for
SHARPTON: Now the Young`s worked for John Edwards, so people not too
familiar. John Edwards owns aids who helped with his campaign and were
orchestrating getting this money through.
DELLINGER: Right. You are exactly right Al. And of course, the
defense was that Edwards knew almost nothing about the cover-up money. It
came out that Andrew Young, Edward`s political aid turned nemeses pocketed
most of the money, most of the million dollars that at issue. But, in this
no guilty verdict on the conspiracy count, you know, no verdict on
conspiracy count, and no guilty of filing a false election commission
But, John Edwards, you know, if he had been convicted in just a single
count, it would be him in the ballot. It would be John Edwards in the
abyss. He faced real - like real likely hood of incarceration. You know,
he took a giant risk taking this to trial and he has walked away right now,
SHARPTON: Now, let me tell you this because a lot of people down in
North Carolina and around the country have said they think as he said, he
committed grave sins, despicable acts, but they don`t think it was illegal
and they think it was politically motivated trial. In fact, the prosecutor
that brought the charges against him was a man named George Holding, the
U.S. attorney that brought. He was a GOP appointee of President George
Bush. He stayed on as U.S. attorney under the Obama administration to get
the case to trial. Then, he retired a month after securing indictments
against for Edwards and ran for congress.
So, a lot of people feel this should not have been in court in the
first place even though they were outraged that the behavior that Mr.
Edwards engaged in that he, himself admitted was despicable.
DELLINGER: Sure. And Reverend, you know, there is real basis for
that feeling. Now, it is not just Holding this crossed administrations,
but for the prosecutors to bring a case, a criminal case when the federal
election commission did not see a civil violation raised a serious
And this was like no case that never ever brought before. This was
not Edwards selling a senate seat or an ambassadorship. This was Edwards`
logging his own pocket or buying ads or get out with money that was off the
bush. This was something that had never been tried as criminal case
before. The government has to show he had criminal intent. They have got
all the rules in their favor, but they could not get a conviction.
SHARPTON: Now Bob, do you think, and David said that he felt the end
of Mr. Edwards` statement of saying, you know that he wanted to couldn`t in
some public life, and you mentioned his statement with God is not through
with me yet, do you think he may read this in some kind of way of cracking
the door that he is not finished? That he comes out of this perceived as
some victim of a political vendetta.
SHRUM: Well, he would be self diluted if he thought that. But I
don`t rule that out.
I mean, look. If you step back a little from the legal issues in this
case, when you think about what was at stake in 2008, and this guy was
running for president. He has a mistress. He was covering up with the
technical agree in his involvement in the money, I don`t know. I wasn`t at
the trial. I`m not a legal expert. He was covering it up.
What if he had been the Democratic nominee for the president of the
United States and this was exposed a month before the election. It would
be a disaster for his party in this country. That is one reason that I
found the sort of solipsistic, almost strangely jubilant end of that
speech, so weird. I mean, he should have stopped. He should have cut off
the last page of his speech.
CORN: He obviously could not help himself.
SHARPTON: Wait a minute. I want people to see this because I was
watching, and I felt that his confessions, his tribute to his family, his
talking about his kids, very moving, and then he kind of turned right
before, you know, you, to hang about it. And this is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARDS: And I don`t think God is through with me. I really believe
he thinks there are still some good things I can do, and whatever happens
with this legal stuff going forward, what I`m hopeful about is all of those
kids that I`ve seen, you know, in the poorest parts of this country and in
some of the poorest places in the world, that they can help them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I don`t think the thing that got me, and David you can
speak to this, is him feeling he is still of value because I think everyone
is of value. But today, is that what you really need to throw out there
when you have shown such great contrition, and you escaped a very narrow,
narrow, end of everything in terms of your freedom?
CORN: Yes. I mean I think bringing God into this was not the right
decision at this point in time. But, I think the only thing he can care
about other than his children and being a family man is redemption.
CORN: You know. He has to be thinking how can I redeem myself? I
had a storybook career. Bob helped me, I became a senator, I`m almost
became a presidential nominee. I have a lot of talent. I have a lot of
intelligence. All of these are undeniable. I did this awful thing. I`m
in the valley. How can I redeem myself?
I believe that`s the only thing that can be driving him forward now
and he jumped the gun. He just could not help himself this moment in time
to start his redemption story. He has not figured out it may take 10
years, may take 20 years, it may never happen at all. But that has to be
what`s motivating him, and it will be interesting to see what happens when,
you know, the networks call, and you know, people bothering him in the next
few days saying listen, you have a lot to tell. What are you going to say?
How is it he going to play that?
SHARPTON: How will he play it, Bob? You know him better. I mean, I
ran in the `04 race, and I spotted him for vice president. But I don`t
know what you know.
SHRUM: I have no idea. I hope he doesn`t do what David is suggesting
might. I`m happy that he wasn`t convicted. I know his kids. I knew
Elizabeth very well. I know his parents who were wonderful people.
SHARPTON: And I don`t know that this was really criminal.
SHRUM: And I don`t know that this is criminal. I agree with that.
I`m not expert on that. But I think David is absolutely right. The
restraint here would have been to thank the jurors, talk about his family,
confess what he had done wrong, and walk away and leave the rest of this
for another day. And by the way, I think talk about it, before you go on a
redemption tour. You want to go out and do redemption things.
SHARPTON: And one other thing that I would have added if I were the
adviser and I`m not. He should have said a real word about his ex-wife.
SHARPTON: Bob Shrum, David Corn, and Hampton Dellinger. Thank you so
much for your time.
Coming up, President Bush comes back to the White House. And his
record comes back into public debate. That`s not good news for Mitt
Plus, the star of TV`s "Ugly Betty" comes to Washington for a good
cause. America Ferrera is here to talk about fighting for the right to
And Republicans renew their attack on women`s right with a bogus vote
in congress. Aren`t these guys supposed to be creating jobs?
You are watching "politics Nation" on MSNBC.
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SHARPTON: We`re back with more strange developments from the
Republican controlled house. All they do is talk about jobs, but today GOP
congressman Trent Franks pushed a bill that would make it a federal crime
to carry out abortion based on the sex of the fetus. I can`t even believe
it, but they said this with a straight face.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ANN MARIE BUERKLE (R), NEW YORK: This is the ultimate war on
women, Mr. Speaker. If we don`t allow women to be born we can`t talk about
any other rights.
REP. CLIFF STEARNS (R), FLORIDA: You talked about war on women. This
is a war on ethics, war to you, if you don`t vote against this bill.
REP. CHRIS SMITH (R), NEW JERSEY: Let`s not forget the Planned
Parenthood aborts approximately 330,000 children every year. This, Mr.
Speaker, is the real war on women.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The real war on women? This is one of the most outrageous
lines I heard from this group. And studies show sex selection is
incredibly uncommon in the United States. A majority voting for the bill
today, but it required a two thirds majority to pass so luckily it failed.
Let`s be clear what`s going on here. This is not about protecting
women, it`s about limiting choices for women, but Speaker Boehner was out
there backing his anti-choice crew.
BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: This is an important
issue for the American people. This type of sex selection is most
Americans find pretty repulsive and our members feel strongly about it,
that`s why it`s being brought to the floor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s an important issue to the American people. Funny,
what about the other issue?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: American people are still asking, where are the jobs?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Millions are still asking the same simple,
persistent question, Mr. President, where are the jobs?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Either we`re going to get serious about the number
one issue which is the creation of jobs, or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The American people are stale waiting for the GOP to get
Joining me now is Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a democratic from New
York, and Terry O`Neill, president of the national organization of women.
Congresswoman, let me start with you. This is the GOP that says they
care about jobs. But, tell us what actually happened today.
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY (D), NEW YORK: Well, it was just the same old
same sold old going to the floor to bash women to limit their access to
choice, with they really a problem with, and bash their access to choice.
They passed at least 20 bills that put obstacles in front of or limit a
woman`s access to choice, but they have not come to the floor and supported
and infrastructure bill to put people to work or supported the president`s
budget or had a some kind of budget deal or jobs deal to work with people
and put them to work. Instead, they have come in with a sweeping agenda
that has attacked women`s rights and all kinds of directions. It is
sweeping in its scope, appalling in its indifference, and I would say
outrageous in its arrogance towards women.
SHARPTON: Now, Terry, this was laid out explaining the GOP and why it
keeps introducing anti-choice bills, today talking to Tamron Hall. Let me
show you this and I will get your reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I spoke to an GOP aide earlier today, and
essentially they told me look was that look, we have to feed our rank and
file some red meat every now and then, this is some meat for them to chew
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Red meat turn, because actually what they`re saying which
is preposterous, is they wanted to stop women from getting abortions based
on the woman saying I am having a girl. I wanted to boy. I want an
abortion which like it never happens. I mean, this is the most absurd
premise I`ve heard for going back at choice other than throwing red meat to
TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION OF WOMEN: Yes. And
it`s remarkably hypocritical, Trent Franks as to go to China and India to
find yet another excuse to really demonize women seeking abortions. And
the fact is we don`t have son preference in this country. Son`s preference
is a problem internationally. U.N. groups and international women`s rights
group is working to fix the problem. But the way to fix sons preference is
to improve the status of women, improve the economic standing of women, and
to eliminate gender based discrimination.
Mr. Franks, on the other hand, has voted for an entire slew of bills
that would do just the opposite. That would entrench the disempowerment of
women. Just recently the violence against women`s act, that Sandy Adams
proposed in the house a none - really anti-violence against women act verse
of this bill that Mr. Franks supported. It was a very anti-woman. He has
supported anti-woman efforts to slash spending programs that support women
and that employ women.
So right along the line, Mr. Franks and the other cosponsors and the
politicians that voted for this anti-abortion bill, they have voted for a
series of anti-women bills.
O`NEILL: The one thing that they got right is that there is war on
women and women are watching their hypocrisy and are not impressed.
SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman Maloney, the last time we heard from
Franks, he was a proposing a bill to limit the voting rights for the people
in the District of Columbia even though he is coming from Arizona. Now she
is back with this. Let me show you what he said yesterday and have you
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TRENT FRANKS (R), ARIZONA: A number of academic papers have now
published evidence that the practice of sex selection abortion has
demonstrably increasing here in the United States especially, but not
exclusively, in the Asian immigrant community.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Congresswoman, academic papers that established this, how
do you responds?
MALONEY: Well, I would say everybody opposed to any form of
discrimination in any form of sex selection, but that is not what was on
the floor. It was a sham bill limiting a woman`s access to health care and
to reproductive rights. And this is the same team that voted to defund
Planned Parenthood earlier in the House of Representatives which supplies
health care to one in five women in America. It`s the primary health
provider for millions of women.
So they`re extreme in their actions, the violence against women act.
They excluded huge swaths of our population, the LBGT community, men,
women, living on Indian reservations. Immigrant visas, and then, we are
still 77 cents to the dollar, and yet many of them voting against the Lily
Ledbetter act which allowed people to sue for discrimination and have
opposed any fair treatment and pay.
So the attack, they say it`s not a war, but let me tell you all of the
casualties are women whether it`s slashing women`s health care, slashing
women`s programs, day care has been slashed, supportive services have been
slashed. There is an effort to roll back health care. The president`s
health care bill, Al, does for women in health care what I would say title
nine did for women in access to sports and education.
MALONEY: It really covers women entirely with their health care.
It`s a major step forward for American women.
SHARPTON: Well Terry, let me ask you because I`m going to run out of
time. Does these kinds of continued assaults on women by the Congress and
the Republican candidates to the primary, has this energized your members?
Are your constituents, the people you hear from and at worked with now, are
they energized around this election?
O`NEILL: You know, they are energizing r-our members and it is
increasing our membership. There is no question about it. We are seeing
an enormous number of women who have not been politically active, paying
attention, and by the way, we`re seeing a lot of men who have not been
paying attention to this war on women. Waking up to it, and becoming
appalled by it and reaching out to us to say, how can I help?
The way -- what`s going to happen I think, is that people are going to
start asking candidates in the 2012 elections, where do you stand on
protecting women`s access to reproductive health care? Where do you stand
on protecting women from domestic violence and sexual assault? Where do
you stand on paycheck fairness for women? And if we don`t get the right
answers, I think you are going to see a lot of people paying a heavy price
at the polls for their continued participation on the war on women.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman Maloney and Terry O`Neill, thank you both for
your time tonight.
O`NEILL: Thank you.
MALONEY: Women will remember in November, Al.
SHARPTON: Remember in November, I like that.
MALONEY: Absolutely, we are going to remember.
SHARPTON: All right.
Ahead, President Bush back in the White House today. We will tell you
why it could impact the Romney campaign. And, we need to be watching
what`s going on in Florida, Rick Scott blocking the vote for thousands.
We`ll talk to a celebrity fighting back, stay with us.
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POLITICS NATION conversation.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. There was differently a
sense of dejavu at the White House today. Former President Bush joined
President Obama for the unveiling of his official portrait. The event was
warm, cordial and respectful, and included this clip from the former
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FMR. PRES. GEORGE BUSH (D), UNITED STATES: I`m also pleased Mr.
President that when you are wandering these halls as you wrestled with
tough decisions, you will now be able to gaze at this portrait and I ask,
what would George do?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s a funny line, but it may be more accurate than
President Bush realized. Really? President Bush added $4.9 trillion to
our national debt. During his administration, median income dropped 4.2
percent. And by the time Bush left office, 8.2 million more people were
living in poverty. Well, glad the Bush years are behind us. Except for
that one person named Willard Mitt Romney, those years are his blueprint
for the future. It turns out, Romney has surrounded himself with the best
and the brightest from the Bush administration. Glenn Hubbard designed the
Bush tax cuts when he was chairman of the Council on Economic Advisors.
Now, he`s a key part of Romney`s economic team. Greg Mankiw was a key Bush
economist who wants said that outsourcing was quote, "A plus for American
economy," end of quote. Now he is advising Willard. These are the guys
who helped Romney create a plan that extends Bush tax cuts for the rich,
and didn`t gives them an extra tax cut on top of that. President Obama
says, this is not the way forward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: This time their agenda is on
steroids, but it`s not new. They want bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans, they want even deeper cuts for things like education and
Medicare and research and technology. But that`s not new, that was tried,
remember? The last guy did all this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Folks, there may be one thing we learned at the White House
today, W. stands for Willard.
Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Karen Finney, former
communications director for the Democratic National Committee. And Wes
Moore, best-selling author of "The Other Wes Moore" and a U.S. army combat
veteran. Thank you both for being here.
Karen, let me start with you, does Romney want to take us back to the
bad old days of the Bush era?
KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: It sure seems that way,
doesn`t it? I mean, you know, we have this vision that if, you know, by
some horrible chance Romney were to win, you know, he would be asking
himself what would George do. Those what I thought about when Bush said
that. But yes, I mean, you know, interestingly not if you look at both his
economic and his foreign policy team, many of the people that he`s hired,
and even a couple of the people that have been named as potential like Rob
Portman, VP all comes from the Bush administration and were directly
responsible for what is I think now broadly considered some of the greatest
mistakes in our economic and foreign policy history.
SHARPTON: Now, Wes, when you look at the people that he surrounded
himself, a couple of which I have named and as Karen has named, Portman is
being considered for vice president, and you look at the polls of who the
American people blame the economy on, 49 percent still blame President
Bush, 34 percent President Obama. The Washington Polls poll. This is
three and a half years later. I mean, is it wise, politically, or is it
just they are so locked into their dogma to even surround yourself with
advisors who the overwhelming majority of the American people feel they`re
policies cause us to have a weak economy.
WES MOORE, AUTHOR, "THE OTHER WES MOORE": Well, it`s interesting
because you hear all the arguments where people say, well, the President`s
been in office for three-and-a-half years. And things aren`t better and
they`re blaming him for it. Without any type of context as to what the
situation was when he first walk into the office.
MOORE: And I think what we`re seeing here is this is the difference
between being the president and running for president. You know, when
you`re the president, you have to actually have a sense of pragmatism
inside of the policies that you`re going to push forward. Mitt Romney
basically can go back and put together any type of platform because what he
says doesn`t matter. What he says doesn`t influence the American economy.
He`s running for that job. In fact is, he doesn`t have that baseline to
make those core decisions now. And that`s where leadership comes in.
Leadership is not about conforming yourself to a certain dogma and sticking
to it. Leadership is about understanding the environmental context and
then making decisions based on that which shows what the policies is
pushing us far. Shows he has no context as to where we are right now and
what this will kind to go forward.
SHARPTON: Now Karen, before people say that I`m embellishing this
connection, let me play something to you an RNC spokeswoman said this about
the economic agenda of Mitt Romney and how it relates to the Bush agenda,
listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RNC SPOKESWOMAN: It`s less government spending. It`s lowering taxes
so small businesses can grow.
RADIO HOST: How different is that concept from what was -- what were
the policies of the Bush administration.
RNC SPOKESWOMAN: I think it`s that program, just updated.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I think it`s that program just updated. So all of the
right wing bloggers that like to attack me, and I`m trying to keep them
employed, they have to deal with the fact that even RNC spokes people are
saying, this is the Bush agenda a little updated.
FINNEY: Well, you know, Rev. We can take that one step further. In
Rolling Stone magazine, there is a wonderful piece that actually points out
of Romney`s top donors what their issues are. And guess what, you know,
some of these guys want less regulation particularly that pesky EPA. And
some of those guys, a lot of them are hedge fund guys who want to see lower
corporate taxes. So, you know, not surprisingly, it`s not even just the
same agenda, but the donors, the major donors to his campaign and to his
super PAC are people to whom he will be holding around that agenda. So,
he`s got really, as Wes was pointing out, where is the leadership? There`s
no reason to divide from that strategy because that was paying the billing.
SHARPTON: And when you look Wes at the Romney tax plan, is a give way
to the rich. Bottom 20 percent which he attacks increase, $149. The top
.1 percent would see a tax cut of more than $735,000 and this kind of
imbalance in taxes. I mean, even John Bolton, a former Bush ambassador to
the U.N. Certainly, no liberal or no democrat, he said and I`m quoting
John Bolton, he says, "I think people would agree with Obama that he was
left with a mess.
MOORE: And you can`t talk to a single economist on the Right or the
Left who can look where we are right now. We still have, we still have a
stubbornly high unemployment rate.
MOORE: We still have an economic swing that we`ve seen real
improvements. We`ve seen more pick-ups and particularly in private sector
employment. But we`re not where we need to be. You can`t talk to one
economist on either side who says, well the policies that we should put in
place right now is basically policy that`s are not just regressive tax
policies, but also retracting economic policies. We have to be able to be
a bit forward thinking in progressive about how exactly are we going to get
the economy going. And what`s being pushed and recommend about the Romney
campaign right now are not those policies.
SHARPTON: But again, Karen, let me ask you this. Did the campaign is
about recovery, who can do the best with the recovery? That this president
continuing in where he has gone in terms of the auto bailout and other
things, and whether Romney can do a better job with the recovery. But how
does he sell that if he`s saying, I`m going to do exactly the policies that
we`re trying to recover from?
FINNEY: Right. You know, I think part of what the Romney team is
banking on, and I think this is where the liability is for team Obama. And
I think they know this. They have to be very careful to not be seen as
blaming Bush. It`s one thing to know that the American people blame Bush
and to sort of layout. Look, here is where things were when we came in.
But, you know, one of the things that you`ve seen President Obama try to
keep doing is talk about the future and talk about the blueprint for the
future. It`s also part of why the rhetoric that you`re hearing from team
Obama and from Democrats rightfully so, is that Romney`s policies would
take us back. And quite frankly that frame is not only true on economic
policy but also on a number of social policies that we were even just
discussing earlier. So, the team Romney is trying to make the argument
that because he`s a businessman, we`re not supposed to talk about Bain, and
because of his business experience, he would be a better steward of the
economy and that is really going to be what the fight is about in the next
MOORE: And if I can just -- about, I mean, Karen is absolutely right,
and I think the President is actually taking a very good tone that this is
not about taking blame or pushing blame on anyone. This is simply about
saying, understand the context is to what we`ve first came into. And let`s
really think carefully about what will be the best policies going forward.
SHARPTON: Karen Finney and Wes Moore, thank you both so much for your
FINNEY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, the Florida voter purge. Florida is set to exclude
thousands of voters, nearly 60 percent are Latino. Actress America Ferrera
of "Ugly Betty" thing is doing something about it. She joins us to talk
about engaging Latino voters, next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with the coordinated effort to block the vote.
We all need to be watching this, especially what`s going on in Florida.
Earlier today, a federal judge in Florida shutdown part of a new election
law that would impose a 48 hour filing deadline for third party votes
groups that register new voters. But Governor Rick Scott is set to exclude
as many as 182,000 voters. The state claims could be non-citizens. The
Miami Herald reports 58 percent of these people are Latino voters. In the
last few weeks, tens of thousands of voters have been purged, alleged
felons or people they claim is dead but it`s littered with errors.
Yesterday, election supervisors throughout Florida confirmed U.S. citizens
are improperly included in voter purge. There is this 91 year World War II
veteran who voted in Florida for the last 14 years, and Maureen Russo who
has been a registered voter in this state for the last four decades. These
voter suppression laws mainly target minorities. Democratic voting bloc,
and now is the time to fight back. Everyone can make a difference.
Actress America Ferrera is known to many of us as the star of the show
"Ugly Betty." She is helping mobilize Latino voters with a new campaign,
America for America, launched in Washington, D.C. today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMERICA FERRERA, ACTRESS: America for America is not about me and
it`s not about a political party or any one candidate. America for America
is a chance to have a national conversation about our future and how we can
claim a better future by voting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Joining me now is actress is America Ferrera, thanks for
being here tonight America.
FERRERA: Hi, thank you Reverend for having me.
SHARPTON: Now, there are so many causes people in Hollywood embrace.
Why is this voting cause so important to you?
FERRERA: Well, I think this year and this election is really critical
time for the Latino community, and a critical time in our history as all
Americans, not just Latinos. This issue of making voting hard, making
registering to voting hard goes against what all Americans should believe
in. And I think that to protect those rights is an initiative that we
should all feel obligated to take on, not just Latino organizations or
SHARPTON: Now, America, many of us that in the civil rights community
are fighting about the problems in terms of voting bloc, but you came out
today trying to encourage Americans in general, Latinos specifically to
come out in vote. Not even just dealing with the civil rights issues, but
come out and vote. Why is that personally so important to you? What got
you interested in voting in your own life?
FERRERA: You know, I was born and raised in Los Angeles in Southern
California, and I remember a very pivotal moment when I became aware of
being labeled as the other. I was about nine or eight years old when prop
187 was around. And I had to be pulled over by my mother before going off
to school, and she had to say to me, brief me, basically and say, people
might ask you questions, people might question where you`re from. You`re
an American and you have every right to be here and don`t be intimidated
and don`t be afraid. And being eight or nine years old and having to deal
with that reality has stuck with me. And the truth is, is that nearly 20
years later people are living with this now. And in even more aggressive
ways. So it`s a very personal issue for me and one that I`ve witnessed
with my own eyes on the ground in states like Arizona and Alabama, and I
think it`s shameful that any American would stand for this type of
intimidation of our own citizens.
SHARPTON: You know, when I look at the fact that 17 states passed the
new voter suppression laws in 2010, and when I see all of the immigration
laws that have been passed, and then you look at the fact that there are
21.7 million Latinos that are eligible to vote today, up from 19.5 million,
and I hear your story, it`s a story that goes beyond those of us that
engaged in politics or those of us that takes size, but here`s someone,
you`re telling a very human story. Obviously successful in Hollywood, you
don`t have to get out and do what you do, but saying, hey, I can`t forget
what happened with me and my mom, and I want people to vote, I think that`s
a very compelling message.
FERRERA: Thank you, and you know, every month 50,000 Latinos become -
- turn 18-years-old every month. And those are 50,000 18-year-olds who
need to be empowered and need to feel like their voice should be used and
not that their voice should be suppressed or that they`re being intimidated
and being asked not to engage civically or that they live in a country
that`s trying to make it harder for them to engage civically and to be
involved in what`s happening in their communities.
SHARPTON: That`s great, America Ferrera, thank you for your time
FERRERA: Thank you.
SHARPTON: As we mentioned earlier, President Obama and the First Lady
welcomed the Bushes to the White House today for the unveiling of their
official portraits. These two men have major political differences, but as
the President said today, they share a love for this country and a respect
for the office of the presidency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: It`s been said that no one can ever truly understand what it`s
like being president until they sit behind that desk and feel the weight
and responsibility for the first time. And that is true. After three and
a half years in office, and much more gray hair, I have a deeper
understanding of the challenges faced by the presidents who came before me
including my immediate predecessor, President Bush. We may have our
differences politically, but the presidency transcends those differences.
We all have this country, we all want America to succeed.
BUSH: I am pleased that my portrait brings an interesting symmetry to
the White House collection. It now starts and ends with a George W. When
the British burned the White House as Fred mentioned, in 1814, Dolly
Madison famously saved this portrait of the first George W. Now, Michelle,
if anything happens -- there`s your man.
FMR. FIRST LADY BARBARA BUSH, UNITED STATES: It was really gracious
of you to invite us back to the White House to hang a few family pictures.
And I`m sure you know nothing makes a house a home like having portraits of
its former occupants starring down at you from the walls.
MICHELLE OBAMA, UNITED STATES FIRST LADY: It`s just been amazing to
learn from your example not just as a first lady but as a mother of two
wonderful daughters. You know you`re on the other side of where we hope to
be in a couple years, two daughters that sit up straight and cry and think
lovingly about their mom and their dad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I think that is a healthy thing to show the American people
that despite disagreements and despite politics, they can stand together
and respect each other. It`s a healthy tone to set. In fact, one of my
political adversaries was touched by today, he called me and said he`s got
my picture that he wants to hang up in his office, he wants me to even sign
it. He`s going to send it over as soon as he takes the darts out.
Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts now.
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