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PoliticsNation, Monday, June 4, 2012

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Guests: Barbara Boxer; Jon Erpenbach; Marty Beil, Bob Shrum, Joan Walsh, George Miller


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

Tonight`s lead, the final push. It`s night before the big recall
election in Wisconsin. In the last few days, thousands of activist and
union members, in Wisconsin, have been knocking on doors, calling voters,
asking people to get out and vote.

Tomorrow will be the recall vote. Right wing governor Scott Walker,
when Walker was elected in 2010 he promised he would focus on the economy.
He said he would create jobs. But all that was just a Trojan horse. Here
is a secret tape of what Walker told a billionaire donor about his real
intentions last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIANE HENDRICKS, BILLIONAIRE: Any chance we will be a completely red
state?

SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN GOVERNOR: Yes.

HENDRICKS: And become a right to work? What can we do to help you?

WALKER: Well, we can -- we`re going to start in a few weeks with our
budget adjustment. The first step is we`re going to deal with collective
bargaining for all public employees, because you can divide and conquer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s right, divide and conquer. Walker shocked the
people of Wisconsin and the rest of America by announcing he would gut
public sector unions by stripping away their right of collective
bargaining. This sparked outrage and massive protest across Wisconsin.
Democratic lawmakers actually fled the state in a bid to stop the bill from
going through. Protestors even occupied the state capital demanding Walker
back down.

For week this is real life drama played out on live television. But
in the end, Walkers Republicans cronies rammed the bill through in a just a
few hours. Walker claimed he been honest about his goal in crippling
unions right from the start. But was finally forced to tell the truth when
he was called to testify on Capitol Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you campaign on the issue of collective
bargaining being a problem with respect to Wisconsin`s budget?

WALKER: I talked about wages and benefits overall even run campaign
ads on it but I didn`t specify exactly what for. I talked about broad
spectrum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You actually brought up collective bargaining and
said that is something I am going to address if elected governor.

WALKER: I talked about the whole spectrum.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m asking a very specific question. Did you
explicitly single out --

WALKER: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No. No. Walker acknowledged that he kept his anti-union
agenda a secret from voters. At that same hearing, Walker was also forced
to admit that busting unions had nothing to do with fixing the budget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH (D), OHIO: Can you please explain to me and
members of this committee how much money this provision saved for your
state budget?

WALKER: We gave workers the right to choose which is a fundamental
American right, the right to choose whether or not if they want to be part
of the union.

(CROSSTALK)

KUCINICH: How much money does it save?

WALKER: It doesn`t save any.

KUCINICH: OK. That`s the point.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This was never about budgets. It was never about saving
money. It was about attacking unions. It was about crippling the
democratic base. And voters in Wisconsin didn`t stand for it.

At the beginning of this year, they filed more than a million
signatures to force a recall election to get Walker out of office. Last
month, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett won a tough primary to become his
democratic opponent. Now Barrett is within striking distance. A new poll
shows Barrett just three points behind overall, and Barrett is actually
ahead among independents. Now it`s about passion and getting folks out to
the poll.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM BARRETT (D), MILWAUKEE MAYOR: This started at after grass roots
movement and it started because of cruel in essence an integrity issue.
The fact that Scott Walker had a surprise attack against workers rights,
and it is probably fitting that it is going to end the way it started. It
is going to end as a grass roots movement.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me live from Madison, Wisconsin, is my colleague Ed
Schultz, host of "the Ed Show" here on MSNBC.

Ed, thanks for joining me.

ED SCHULTZ, MSNBC HOST, THE ED SHOW: Good to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now, what`s the key for tomorrow`s election? Who has the
passion that you are feeling out there?

SCHULTZ: Well, I came into the state on Saturday Al, with a real open
mind because the polls are what they are, the money is what it is, but
there is really no gauging of the enthusiasm at two. You get on the ground
and see it for yourself.

It is going to the turnout. There is no question about it. And the
numbers look like this -- Milwaukee County is going to be huge for Barrett.
He only got 37 percent of the voters in Milwaukee came out in 2010. Tom
Barrett got 62 percent of those. If he can get that turnout up to 50 or a
little bit more percent of the voters in Milwaukee County, he stands a real
good chance of winning this election, this recall tomorrow here in
Wisconsin.

Going around the state, going to Racine, which is a key area, going to
Burlington, which is kind of Republican, there are some really good
turnouts. They are going to knock on 1.2 million doors before Tuesday.

The Democratic infrastructure is really amazing. I have some people
tell me that they have never seen enthusiasm like this into the state.
Certainly, the visit by Bill Clinton in to the Milwaukee County helped over
the weekend. So, it is going to be very interesting to see. It is the big
money, it is the TV which is owned by Walker and the super PACs, and then
it is the people on the ground who were telling the real story and that`s
what the Democrats are counting on.

SHARPTON: Now, you talked about the big money. When we look at the
money, Walker`s donations, $30.5 million, 62 percent of it came from out of
state. Barrett`s donations 3.9 million, 26 percent from out of state. So
Walker has a lot more money, but it`s coming mostly from out of state,
almost two thirds from outside of Wisconsin. Barrett has less money, but
only maybe a quarter of it coming from out of state.

So, will the enthusiasm and I agree with you because I talked to
people all day on the radio, on my radio show that comes on in Milwaukee
and we have members of the national action network there, the enthusiasm
seems to be there, but will it be enough to overcome the money and the
places around the state that are going to come off of Walker?

SCHULTZ: Well, information is a powerful thing, Al. And when you go
door to door and you knock on 750,000 doors over a three day period on the
weekend, it has an impact. There are boots on the ground. There are
people telling the story, and the response that they are getting from the
homes that they go up to, they`re very encouraged about it.

So, here is the bottom line. In Milwaukee County, the African-
American community is going to be a huge, huge issue here.

SHARPTON: Yes.

SCHULTZ: Also, the Latino community is also very involved. The
question that the Democrats are asking is, where is Walker going to get
more votes? Where is he going to gain more from what he did in 2010?

And so, if Barrett can get the Democratic turnout, and if they can get
anywhere near what they did in 2008, this is going to be a rough night at
the office for Walker.

Now, the question is if Walker is going to get new voters and new
supporters, where will they come from.

Tom Barrett has done a very strategic campaign here in the last few
days. He has worked the western edge of Wisconsin, which is good
Democratic area, all along the northern tier and down into Milwaukee and
the Racine, which the boots on the grounds have been just really been
overwhelming. And also, Rev, it is the teachers. The American federation
of teachers has been on the ground everywhere I`m going. They have been
just fantastic and really enthused about this whole thing.

SHARPTON: Ed Schultz, thank you so much.

And be sure to check out "the Ed "Show tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern.
As he mentioned, he`s live in Wisconsin for special coverage of what could
be the most important election so far this year. You won`t want to miss
it.

Now let`s bring in democratic Senator John Erpenbach and Marty Beil,
the executive director of AFSCME council 24 in Wisconsin.

Thank you both for joining me tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Marty, turnout is key tomorrow. Can you tell us what your
members will be doing over the next 24 hours to get the vote out?

MARTY BEIL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AFSCME COUNCIL: The same thing they
have been doing over the last ten days. The enthusiasm, the energy is
absolutely incredible. Everywhere you go whether it is Madison, whether it
is Milwaukee, whether it is the western part of the state, whether it is
even places of Republican strongholds, the energies of people they`re out
to endorse.

As I said, we`re on target to do over a million two doors. And so,
the energy is there. Our people will have the energy going to the polls
tomorrow. You know, the issue tomorrow is to get your co-workers, the
issue is tomorrow is to get your relatives, and your neighbors, take them
to the pole and vote.

But I believe there will be a goodnight tomorrow, come bear it.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, senator. The governor ran on a
promise of creating jobs. His campaign promise was that he would create
250,000 jobs. His governing record is he only created 33,000.

Does this help to create a climate that would in many ways stifle some
of those that voted for him and supported him, and helped to energize those
that feel that he not only came with trying to go after unions and his
whole union busting, but he failed when he came with $33,000 jobs and
promised $250,000?

JON ERPENBACH (D), WISCONSIN STATE SENATOR: That`s absolutely right,
Reverend. And, that 33,000 figures, that`s even debatable.

What the governor done is he is completely torn the state apart. And
that is not conducive for business. I don`t care what anything has to say.
It`s no coincidence that the governor said 250,000 jobs, and we also have
about 268,000 public employees here in the state of Wisconsin.

So, I believe that is where he wants the new jobs to come from is from
public employees. All of that being said, what Marty said and what Ed had
said, is absolutely right. Momentum is on Tom Barrett`s side right now. I
would rather it be Tom Barrett than Scott Walker I think into tomorrow and
I feel really good about what`s going on in Wisconsin right now.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at the money, follow the money they tell
us, Marty. When you look at the out of state billionaire donor that`s has
invested or supported Scott Walker, Bob Perry, $500,000. Sheldon Adelson,
$250,000. Richard Devos, $250,000.

He has got a lot of billionaire money from out of state. Why are they
so interested in supporting Scott Walker and what`s going on in Wisconsin.

BEIL: Well, it`s all about the Republican agenda, you know. one - I
mean, that a big question that asked everyday here around the state is what
is the big interest of Texas and Arizona an Las Vegas and other
billionaires here. And the interest is, is that they can make more money
in Wisconsin, but it`s more their ideology. It`s more what their platform
is, and if they`re successful here, they think they can use this to
leverage successes in other states, so they spend the money.

But I have to tell you something, Reverend Al. All of the money is
spent. You know Walker is running ten times the ads to everyone
appearance. But, if you look at the polling, I don`t care what poll you
looking at, Walkers numbers have flattened and been frozen in terms of his
popularity in spite of the millions of dollars he spent on television ads.

SHARPTON: Now Senator, it`s clear they want to do this all over the
country, and it`s clear that this whole Republican philosophy is something
that`s got to be dealt with all over the country. It already they`re
drumming up the line that many of us fear they will try to use everywhere,
voter fraud. All day, we heard on FOX News today, possible voter fraud in
Wisconsin, let me show you this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some are raising concerns about the integrity of
the voting system.

ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Now, there are agencies of
voter fraud today n the eve of the election.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voter fraud a concern in the state.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Walker and others are raising concern
about the possibility of voter fraud.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Senator, have you heard about voter fraud? What are these
possibilities, what are they talking about?

ERPENBACH: Well, they are making it up. The chairman of the
Republican Party who happens to be a Wisconsin native, basically said there
is going to be about 2-3 percent of Wisconsinites, of his fellow
Wisconsinites who are going to cheat the polls, it`s a completely made up
issue.

A few years ago, Republican attorney general did an investigation into
voter fraud allegations in Wisconsin and they found 11 cases, eight of
those were convicted felons that a photo ID would never caught to begin
with. And three of them were actual cases of fraud. Three cases of fraud,
and they were prosecuted. We have laws on the books already. Voter fraud
is all about voter suppression and the Republicans know that.

SHARPTON: I think they`re rehearsing the lines going cross country
and I think that is what they`re setting the whole preview of what they
want to do nationally starting with trying to hide behind some of that
tomorrow.

What are you, if you`re sitting around the country looking at what was
going on in Wisconsin, Marty, in your closing words to me tonight, why does
this mat ere to me if I`m not in Wisconsin, why does the vote in Wisconsin
matter to me?

BEIL: We are on this country, you have to be vigilant. They have to
understand how Scott Walker got where he was, you know. There were a lot
of workers, a lot of middle class folks who sat on their hands in that
election. They figure the good guys would win. The good guys have to win.
The good guys need to win in that election. This could happen in any
state.

And so, our message to folks around this country is you have to be
vigilant. You have to be engaged continually. You can`t take anything for
granted because what happens here could happens any place and folks should
take a valuable lesson as it relates to Wisconsin across this county.

SHARPTON: State senator Jon Erpenbach and Marty Beil. Thank you so
much for your time tonight.

BEIL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, is the question some Democrats are asking, are
Republicans tanking the economy on purpose? We will talk exclusively to a
member of congress who has a strong opinion and the facts to back it up.

Plus, it should be an easy question, should men and women doing the
same job get paid equally? Everyone would be for that, right? Think
again, Senator Barbara Boxer on the latest chapter in the GOP war on women.

And President Obama goes right after the Romney plan that would save
Willard $5 million.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out at our "Politics Nation" page on
facebook? It`s the place where the conversation is always going.

Today, our facebook fans were buzzing about Romney`s campaign double
standard on the economy. We have more of that later on in the show.

But to join, just head over to facebook, search for "Politics Nation,"
and like us to be part of the "Politics Nation" conversation. We hope to
see you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

We all agree that women and men doing the same job should get paid the
same wage, right? Wrong. It`s the latest chapter in the GOP war on women.

Here is a fact. A woman today makes 77 cents for every dollar a man
makes, 77 cents. And it`s true for practically every single occupation out
there, a driver, a manager, a janitor, a sales person. If you`re a woman
you`re making less than a man. Same thing if you`re a cook, a CEO, a
security guard, or a police officer. Men make more.

Right now, the only thing protecting women from this discrimination is
the Lilly Ledbetter act which the president signed within days of taking
office. Almost every Republican voted against it. And tomorrow, they are
doubling down. The Senate votes on the paycheck fairness act. It would
hold companies actable for pay gaps between men and women. Allow more time
for women to sue for pay disparity. It stops companies from retaliating
against employers who share salary information, and it will offer training
to women on how to negotiate a fair salary.

The bill is expected to fail, but the president is speaking loud and
clear. Here is how he put it today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Women still earn just
77 cents for every dollar a man earns over the course of her career. A
woman with a college degree will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars less
than a man who is doing the same work. So, at a time when we`re in a make
or break moment for the middle class, Congress has to step up and do its
job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Equal pay for equal work. Who could be against that?

Joining me now is Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat from California.

Senator Boxer, first, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: It`s great to be with you.

SHARPTON: Now, we were talking about this in the office today. Can
you explain this to me? How can anyone be against a bill that would help
close the wage gap?

BOXER: No one should be against equal pay for equal work. But they
will make up reasons. They will probably say something like we don`t want
people to go to court and sue and all the rest. And the reason they make
up these non-sensible excuses, is because they are doing the bidding of the
wealthiest corporate people like the Koch brothers and those folks.

It always gets back to follow the money, Reverend. But they don`t
follow the money for the middle class. They follow it for the wealthiest
among us. So, they will get even wealthier while women in the course of
their lifetime, as the president so eloquently put it, are behind the eight
ball. And it is almost $430,000 is that average loss over a lifetime.
Imagine that from this disparity.

SHARPTON: $430,000 over a lifetime.

BOXER: Yes.

SHARPTON: If you look at closing the gap, it would make nearly
$11,000 difference because women are making about $11,000 less than men.
That`s four months supply of groceries, five months of child care, three
months of rent and utilities, five months of health insurance premiums,
four months student loans payments, five tanks of gases. I mean, this is
serious things that come out of your life.

BOXER: This is serious business for the middle class, for the
families of this country, for the working women and for working families
that count on two incomes, and sometimes one income from a woman. And it
is very serious.

You know, and what is $11,000 to a Koch brother or to Mitt Romney in
his category? It`s not much. But for the average family, it is a lot.
You laid out what they can do with that. So, it`s not only a question of
fairness and justice, it`s a question of making sure that our families can
afford to do the things they want to do for their kids and it`s a key
issue.

But you know, you look at this whole war on women, they always come up
with a reason whether it`s the birth control issue, the violence against
women, the fair pay act, and by the way, I want to say to the people up in
Wisconsin, Scott Walker repealed the fair pay act for women there. I hope
everyone within the sound of my voice up there will say that that is wrong
and send a message and vote to recall that governor. And by the way, Mitt
Romney called him a hero after he did that. Yes.

SHARPTON: Now Romney, talking about Romney, this is what he said is
the real war on women -- and Willard says he is interested in helping the
women. Here he is on the campaign trail try to win over the women`s vote.
Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The real war on women has
been wages by the Obama administration`s failure on the economy.

(APPLAUSE)

ROMNEY: The real war on women has been the job losses as a result of
the Obama economy. And if we are going to get women back to work and help
women with the real issues women care about, good jobs, good wages, a
bright future for themselves for their families and for their kids, we are
going to have to elect a president who understands how the economy works
and I do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at that and deal with the Romney
campaign on the Ledbetter act, when this campaign was asked if he stood for
fair pay, let me show you what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, does Governor Romney support the Lily
Ledbetter act?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well get back to you on that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. We`ll get back to you on that is what his campaign
said. So, he talks about fairness, but it doesn`t match with policy, and
the lily Ledbetter act, the only act that really needed right now is on the
books, they will get back to him on that.

BOXER: Yes. I hope the women will get back to him some day, you
know, and not vote for him.

I have to tell you this. When they attack President Obama on this
economy, my heart just races because we all know when our president took
over as president of the United States. We were bleeding jobs at 600 and
700,000, 800,000 jobs a month. But he actually turned it around and
created jobs. And he is not going to get a good night`s rest until we are
really back and creating jobs at the pace that all of us want to.

But if you look at the Republicans, what they`re doing here by
filibustering, stopping us from taking up the equal pay act, giving us a
very hard time on the transportation bill that I`m proud to be the chairman
on that conference committee, it is three million jobs. It`s really
difficult. They won`t even pass a bipartisan bill there. We`re hoping
they will change their tune. But so far, it`s been nothing. They stopped
the president`s jobs bill.

So Reverend, you know, all of these talk about how Mitt Romney is
going help create jobs, look what he did to all of those poor people at
Bane Capital.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

BOXER: He stepped on them to make all of these millions. He didn`t
care if they lost their jobs, lost their pension, lost their healthcare.

I just hope women of this country and the men that support us will
rally around President Obama and rally around the Democrats in the Senate
who are trying to push this paycheck fairness bill.

SHARPTON: Well, Senator Barbara Boxer, such an important issue, and
we are going to be talking more about the transportation bill later in the
program.

But, thank you so much for your time and coming on the show tonight.

BOXER: Sure.

SHARPTON: Ahead, hypocrisy alert, Romney loves to hassle President
Obama for dumping millions into a failed solar company. But now, he has
got some explaining to do.

And there was a secret plan to destroy the Obama presidency from day
one, but how low will they go?

We`ll talk to a sitting member of Congress with an explosive take and
the facts.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The conversation on POLITICS NATION, Facebook page has been
hot all day. POLITICS NATION`s folks have been really engaged in the
crucial Wisconsin recall. Timothy is planning to be the first in line
tomorrow to vote for Tom Barrett and Mahlon Mitchell. While folks like Ron
and Marsha are helping by calling Wisconsin voters and getting people out.
Tomorrow to get the vote out is important. One more information and to get
more information on the election and the other big stories of the day, head
over to Facebook, search for POLITICS NATION, and find our page. And be
sure to like us to get all of our updates and be part of the POLITICS
NATION conversation, 24/7. We hope to see you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Campaigns make mistakes
every so often. Lately Willard Mitt Romney`s team has had a little trouble
with spelling. Last week they rolled out for an app calling for a better
Amerisha (ph) maybe it was Americha (ph). Now, campaign`s Facebook page is
offering a sneak peek at one of their ass. No, not a peek as in a look at,
a peak, p-e-a-k like a mountain top. But hey -- I have flubbed or word or
two in my career, but at the end of the day, that stuff doesn`t matter
much. This election is about something much bigger. It`s about the role
of government, it`s about believing that government can help people, that
it can be a force for good, that people who work doing people`s business,
the public sector, are key to making this nation great, that`s what
President Obama believes. And on the other side you have Willard Mitt
Romney, a candidate who has an outright disdain for those working in
government.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We will stop the unfairness
of government workers getting better pay better benefits in the very tax
payers they served.

We have 145,000 more government workers under this President, let`s
send them home and put you back to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Send them home, why? What a jobs plan that is. I don`t
know who Romney thinks he`s talking about. But teachers are government
workers, so are firefighters, so are police officers. You want to send
them home? The truth is Republicans want to cut, cut, cut. Because all of
those tax cuts need to be paid for somehow. This chart shows the causes of
our national debt. That big red portion, that`s the Bush tax cuts.
Willard is out talking about laying off public workers, how about tackling
the big red block, and what`s worse -- he wants to make it worse. Willard
would save almost $5 million under his tax plan compared to President
Obama`s. That`s not right. And this President knows it.

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Bob Shrum, a democratic strategist who
ran Ted Kennedy race against Mitt Romney in 1994 and Joan Walsh, editor at-
large for Salon.com and an MSNBC political analyst. And thanks to both of
you for being here.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here.

JOAN WALSH, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Bob, let me start with you. I`ve said this before and I`ll
say it again. In an election defined by fairness, how can Willard Romney
win?

SHRUM: Well, he is trying to turn this simply into a referendum of
whether or not people are happy or unhappy with where we are. The
President`s move this economy forward but not as far as he`d like. I mean,
last year, for example, we sold 11 million cars in this country. Next,
this year, we will going to solve 14 million. But what Romney and the
Republicans are doing is rooting for a downturn, they`re hoping to turn
this election into a situation where people just say, I`m unhappy, so I`ll
try this guy no matter what his defects. Now, I think the Obama campaign
has been very smart, they`re downing this election into a choice, same kind
of thing you`re doing on the air right here. They`re saying, here is this
guy, here`s who he really is. You know, he has an economic plan that would
give himself a $5 million tax cut.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

SHRUM: And it would also increase the deficit, and it would cut
spending so sharply, so fast that it would throw a sin into a recession.
That`s an economic -- miracle.

SHARPTON: Now Joan, Romney -- let me show you this, he released his
financial disclosure form on Friday. And it showed that he earned about
$190 in speaker`s fees. He owns as much as a half million dollars in gold.
He invests at least $1 million in his Son Taggs Company, hundred million
dollars trust for kids and grandkids on and on. But we don`t begrudge him
his success, that`s fine. It`s his policies that make it hard to swallow.

WALSH: It`s his policy certainly Reverend Al and it`s also his tax
policies. And all of his tax policies, you know, going back to Ronald
Reagan, getting worse under George W. Bush and getting much worse under
Mitt Romney. These tax policies advantage the rich and disadvantage the
middle class. And that`s been the story, sadly, going back to Ronald
Reagan. Sadly, since I became an adult. You know, I feel like I was part
of that last generation that really was promised the American dream and it
was delivered to us more or last. We got great public schools, we got
great public universities, you know, as you and I have talked about. Mitt
Romney as governor of Massachusetts, he cut higher education funding by 14
percent, and fees and tuition at public universities there, went up 63
percent.

That is what they have been doing. They have literally been taking
from the poor and the middle class and giving to themselves and their
friends. That`s why I can`t get away from what`s going on in Wisconsin,
that`s why all of that outside Koch Brothers money is going into Wisconsin,
to Scott Walker, and that`s who is clustered around Mitt Romney and it`s a
kind of self-dealing. Romney is going to make himself richer and count on
the rest of us not to pay attention to it, so.

SHARPTON: Bob, Joan, you mentioned it, he`ll make himself and his
friends richer, you`ve mentioned it. Associated Press, Bob, said today
that Romney`s tax plan helps the rich consolidate even more wealth. Let me
read you what it wrote. Associated Press writes, Romney wants to lower
current tax rates for everyone by 20 percent. This benefits the wealthy
most. Quote, Romney would pay an effective rate of 34 percent under the
Obama plan. That drops to 13 percent under Romney`s own tax proposal.
Even lower than the 15 percent he estimated for 2011.

SHRUM: Maybe he ought to have a slogan, "A tax cut for me." Because
that`s what he`s running on. Look, the guy at every level, I think this is
a hypocritical and misleading campaign to day, a 20 percent tax cut for
everybody, people in the middle class are going to get very little out of
that.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: People at the top are going to get an enormous amount.
Earlier in this segment, you showed him saying, 145,000 new workers in the
President Obama.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: You know what those people do? They`re in the Defense
Department, they`re in Homeland Security, and they`re in veterans affairs.
All of the areas that Romney wants to support.

SHARPTON: Let me stop you there, Bob, but it`s a tight election
according to the polls.

SHRUM: Right?

SHARPTON: How do we beat him? With all of this out there, it`s very
close according to the polls, how do you run against him?

SHRUM: I think the Obama campaign which went through this in a
different context with Hillary Clinton for my great respect.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: A very disciplined campaign is going to proceed to make this
election a choice, it started with Bain, and it`s now talking about his
record on jobs in Massachusetts, and the hilarious defense of it by the way
that Ed Gillespie, one of his recent recruits came up with, was well, they
were 47th, but by his last year, he worked them up to 30th. So, the great
job creator got them into the bottom half of job creation in this country,
and he wasn`t even paying attention in his last year, he wasn`t running in
Massachusetts, he was running for president.

SHARPTON: Joan, over the weekend, Romney`s campaign was out defending
his record as the governor of Massachusetts saying, he inherited a bad
economy. Take a listen to this, Bob just talked about that.

WALSH: All right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This comes up repeatedly that Massachusetts was
47th out of 50 in terms of job growth. Actually, when Mitt Romney arrived,
Massachusetts was an economic basket house.

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Over the four years, it was 47th.
There`s no question about that.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is what they`re doing, Chris. They`re
averaging out over the years, so they`re bringing down the gains of his
fourth year in office which shows the real impact of his policies and
diluting it with the first year in office.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joan, can you interpret that for me? I don`t quite
understand how he is doing the math there.

WALSH: Well, I mean for one thing Reverend Al, they have such a sense
of entitlement, they don`t even notice. I don`t even think they realize
that they realize that they are doing what they tell President Obama he
can`t do. Now, President Obama really inherited a basket case of an
economy, he inherited a depression. But they say, he shouldn`t talk about
that, that`s ridiculous, he count what President Bush did. But then, when
they`re called on his lousy record in Massachusetts, they want credit. And
it`s like, they don`t think he should have to show his tax returns. It`s
like that sort of stuff is for the little people. They can`t even be
trusted to know the basics of politics and to know what to expect.

SHARPTON: And I`m going to have to hold it there, Joan. Thank you
and I`m sorry but we`re running out of time. Joan Walsh, Bob Shrum, thank
you both for coming on the show tonight.

SHRUM: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Mitch McConnell infamously said their first priority
was to make President Obama a one term president, but how far will they go?
We`ll talk to a member of Congress with very strong opinions.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITCH MCCONNELL, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: Our top political priority
over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell making that
ugly promise nearly two years ago into the Obama presidency. Republicans
have done just about all they can do to prevent the President from doing
his job and ultimately win a second term. In fact, it was their plan all
along. One new book reveals that republican lawmakers were plotting the
anti-Obama`s strategy literally from day one while the new President and
his new wife were dancing at an inaugural ball, lawmakers like Eric Cantor
and poor Ryan were meeting at an upscale restaurant less than a mile away.
Since then Republicans have blocked the American jobs act, they`ve forced
the debt ceiling crisis, and now they`re dragging their feet on everything
from student loans to the highway bill.

One long time, democratic congressman has had enough. He has showed
up blistering statements saying, quote, "We are seeing in full swing a
radical republican plan to win political power by killing jobs and
weakening the middle class. This is the most cynical and destructive
partisan strategy yet." End of quote.

Joining me now is that congressman, Congressman George Miller,
democrat from California. First, Congressman, thanks for being here
tonight.

REP. GEORGE MILLER (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you very much, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Congressman, you think Republicans are purposely trying to
block the recovery, tell us why.

MILLER: I don`t think there is any question. Their absolutely
purposely trying to keep the recovery from continuing to grow. When you
see that Speaker Boehner announces that they`re going to go back after the
debt limit, that they`re going to risk again a credit rating of the United
States of America, that they`re going to question again putting the United
States into default after the disaster that that policy was a year ago when
they did this. We lost a notch on our credit rating, manufacturing orders
stopped, consumer confidence plummeted, and now a year later, it`s not a
coincidence that they decided to reignite that discussion around the debt
limit and they`re engaging in the sabotage of the recovery of the American
economy.

And a recovery that is so important, the middle class families. And
you only need to look as far as the highway bill. The highway bill was
reported out of the Senate by a bipartisan vote with 74 Democrats and
Republicans supporting it. And since that time, the House has passed a
bill, but they have not agreed to passing a bill that can pass the
Congress. And that is telling you that what they`re seeking to do is deny
the American workers those jobs this construction season.

SHARPTON: Now, given what it will do to families, given what it will
do to people`s lives, you`re saying that they would do all of that just to
achieve power? Just to get this President out?

MILLER: This is a struggle for the Republicans and the Congress, this
is a struggle over power. This is not a struggle over how good the economy
can be. This is to keep the President from having successes, and to try to
dampen the growth that we have had in the economy over the last several
months. And between the statements of John Boehner and the inability of
the Republicans, the unwillingness of the Republicans to move a highway
bill that could create hundreds of thousands of jobs this summer, this
construction season, it`s very clear what they`re plan is. Their plan is
to keep any increase growth in the economy from happening before Election
Day. Those jobs would be on the streets today, had they passed a
bipartisan bill in March as the Senate did.

SHARPTON: Now, it`s not just the Congress, a new book outlines how
GOP obstructionism and attacks on President Obama, the book even - "It`s
Even Worse Than It Looks" by Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein says, quote,
"The Republican Party has become an insurgent outliner. Ideologically
extreme, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding
of facts, evidence, and Science." I mean you`ve been in Washington 40
years, have you ever seen an opposition party like this?

MILLER: No, you`ve never seen. You`ve never seen this kind of
opposition to the success of our economy. To fight a president when the
economy is struggling to grow and this is in fact growing, but the fight
the President`s so it won`t grow as fast or quickly as it should, as
quickly as it should. And that`s what`s going on here. This is a
conscious decision that this President will have no successes, in any
attempt he makes to continue the economy from growing from the depths of
the economic financial crisis, they`re going to keep that from happening.
And as Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann point out that they have now become
a radical party within the Republican Party. And that`s in the Congress
because they`re so hungry for complete control and they think that`s better
than the American economy growing and succeeding.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to have to hold it there.
Congressman George Miller. Thank you for your time tonight.

MILLER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with a big birthday to celebrate tonight on
POLITICS NATION. Let me get this rumbled please. Special POLITICS NATION
happy birthday goes out to the minimum wage. It was 100 years ago today,
Massachusetts passed the nation`s first minimum wage law back in 1912. It
helped lead the way to the national minimum wage law which went into in
effect 1938. The minimum wage gave basic workers rights and basic
protections. It helped pave the way for fairness in America and it helped
millions build on their American dream. But 100 years later, Republicans
aren`t celebrating.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Applying the
current minimum wage to people who are 15 or 16 with limited skills
guarantees they don`t get hired.

RON PAUL (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Minimum wage is a
mandate. We`re against mandates, so why should we have it?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, conservative don`t want to guarantee workers this
basic protection, but wait, back in January, Mitt Romney seemed more
moderate on this issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: My view has been to allow the minimum wage to rise with the
CPI or with another index, so then to adjust automatically overtime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But the right hammered him for that, so by March you got a
new talking point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: When I was governor, the legislature passed a law raising
that minimum wage, I vetoed it. The level of inflation is something you
should look at and you should identify very minimal so far.

So, that would tell you that right now there is probably not a need to
raise the minimum wage.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not a need to raise the minimum wage? Easy for him to say
he is a guy worth $250 million. But Willard, this isn`t a quiet room, we
need to be talking about workers rights. That`s why thousands of people
marched in Wisconsin, that`s why they`re still fighting tonight. Happy
birthday minimum wage, and we intend to see you have many, many, many more
birthdays.

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

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

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