PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Guests: Robert Reich; Randi Weingarten; Alan Grayson, Ion Sancho, Michael Hardy, David Corn, Michael Baisden
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, HOST, POLITICS NATION: Welcome to "Politics
Nation." I`m Al Sharpton.
We`ll be talking later in the show about the big election in
Wisconsin, and why I think it`s not as bad as some progressives are saying.
No question big money is a big problem. We need to keep moving forward
until Election Day. Fighting for what`s right, that`s what we need to do.
But we start tonight with what we will do now about a big fight and a
big fight of this election. The Republican Party is pushing to keep the
erroneous Bush tax cuts for rich people in this country. The same tax cuts
that have been destructive for the economy. Now, the GOP is embracing an
unlike l unlikely here hero for their cause, President Clinton. In an
interview, President Clinton said he believes the Bush cut tax should be
extended temporarily to help middle class Americans. So predictably, love,
President Clinton is ringing around Republican circles. He is their guy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Even Bill Clinton
came out for it.
REP. JEB HENSARLING (R), TEXAS: Obviously, President Bill Clinton
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: President Clinton got it right the
first time yesterday.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), MINORITY LEADER: Coupling that with Bill
MCCAIN: I want to thank you for having President Clinton on. He is
the gift that keeps on giving.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s right, despite facts, they continue to believe these
tax cuts are somehow good for the economy. It`s pretty incredible.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BOEHNER: Extending all of the current tax rates for at least a year
is really important if we`re going to help job creators gain a little more
confidence and put Americans back to work.
MCCONNELL: It`s obvious that the economy needs the certainty of the
extension of the current tax rates for at least a year.
REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: It`s about economic
growth and job creation. That`s what small businesses are telling us, and
it`s time to focus on job creation.
HENSARLING: This should not be a surprise. If you threaten the
largest tax increase in America`s history, much of which will fall on small
business people and entrepreneurs, you will not get robust economic growth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Job creation, economic growth, good for small businesses,
haven`t I heard all this before? And yet, nominee Willard Romney has I`m
bracing extending the tax cuts. He wants to take it a step further giving
the wealth even more tax rates.
But we are going to keep them to the facts. The Bush tax cuts have
only helped the wealthiest Americans. On average, millionaires have saved
more than $123,000 in taxes each year, thanks to the Bush tax cuts. But
middle class workers, Americans making between 40 and $50,000 average $647
And they love to talk about the deficit. Check out this chart on the
causes of the national deficit. See the red part in the middle taking up
most of the space? Those are the Bush tax cuts. And here is the big one.
Jobs creations. Are they kidding? We all know how that went. And the
president is not even entertaining the possibility of extending it. The
White House says no way, no how, not even temporarily.
Joining me now is Robert Reich, former labor secretary and now an
economics professor at UC Berkley. He is also of the new book, "Beyond
Outrage, what`s going on with our economy and democracy and how to fix it."
Secretary Reich, let me start with you by asking, can they keep saying
these same lines even though we know how destructive the cuts have been?
How do they keep running the same line?
ROBERT REICH, FORMER SECRETARY OF LABOR: Well, the Republicans have
learned a very important lesson over the years, Al. And that is if you
tell the same big lie over and over and over again, and you have enough
money behind the big lies, eventually people start believing them.
They have been saying that the Bush tax cuts need to be extended
because they work so well in 2001, 2003, and then the years after that.
Well, the fact of the matter is they poked a huge hole in the budget
deficit, and instead of creating a lot of jobs in creating 00 instead of
improving wages and economic growth, even before the great recession, the
Bush tax cuts were a complete dud. We had almost no job growth compared to
what we had in the Clinton administration, and the median wage, for most
Americans, continued to drop after 2001.
You had a huge, huge tax cut for the wealthy and nothing trickled
down. I mean, trickled down economics is a cruel joke and the Republicans
have absolutely no compunction about saying it that trickledown economics
works when the evidence is exactly the reverse.
SHARPTON: Now today, press secretary -- White House press secretary
Jay Carney said that clearly that the president is not budging on tax cuts
by the Bush tax cuts. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There was no daylight
between President Clinton and President Obama when it comes to a, the need
to extend tax cuts for middle class Americans and to not extend tax cuts
for those making over $250,000.
He will not, could I be more clear? He will not support extension.
He will not support extension of the upper-income Bush tax cuts. That he
could not be more clear.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And President Clinton`s spokesperson, former president
Clinton`s spokesperson Matt McKenna said and released this statement.
"President Clinton does not believe the tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans should be extended again, he simply said that he doubted that a
long-term agreement on spending cuts and revenues would be reached until
after the election.
But, the facts are the facts has you said Secretary Reich. The
extension of these tax cuts would be devastating in terms of where we are
going or attempting to go in terms of economic recovery.
REICH: They make absolutely no sense at all. Remember, we do want to
extend the Bush tax cuts for the middle class. The issue is are those Bush
tax cuts going to be extended for people whose incomes are over $250,000
only on the force of incomes exceeding $250,000. And the answer has got to
be no. There is no reason. I know there is no logic. There is absolutely
no basis for extending those tax cuts when we have a huge budget deficit in
the out years that has to be brought down. When there is no excuse for the
very wealthy getting a continuation of a tax cut that had no positive
impact on the economy at all, measurable or in any other way, why in the
world would Republicans want to extend the tax cuts for the very wealthy?
There is only one reason. They`re in the pockets of the wealthy. That`s
where a lot of their campaign money is coming from. More than even the
Democrats campaign money, that`s where - I mean, that`s the Republicans are
the basically the spokespeople in this country for the top one percent.
SHARPTON: Mr. Secretary, Stand by one moment. I want to bring in
David Corn, a Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones and also an MSNBC
David, the fact that the Republicans now are trying to use former
president Clinton`s statements and now trying to rally around extending the
Bush tax cuts, your reaction?
DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I think we all know,
they`ll say whatever they can to get tax cuts for the rich through. When
times are bad, you have to cut taxes for the rich. When times are good,
you have to cut taxes for the rich.
And they know -- this is what is interesting here in terms of the
political dynamic and the secretary sure knows this. That if you look at
polls and you look at what President Obama argued during the whole debate
over this, the public believes that the wealthy should be taxed more, and
there should be shared sacrifice, particularly if you`re talking about
cutting any programs to deal with the deficit over the long term.
And so, the public is fully on the side. It goes from 60, 70, 80
percent depending on how you ask the question. But yet, Democrats often
are scared of making this fight or voting against this, because they will
be accused of being tax hikers by the Republicans and now they have all of
the super PAC money behind them as we saw, thanks to citizens united in
Wisconsin and elsewhere.
So, the political dynamic is even though this is a majority issue, it
sometimes it`s hard for Democrats to stand up to this, so, the Republicans
keep playing this game, you`re for hiking taxes up. You are hiking taxes
if you want to continue tax rates on the rich or go back to the old rates,
and they know they can use their super PAC negative ads to make Democrats
really pay for this.
And so, here comes Bill Clinton who says something and they latch on
that as well. It`s just that this fight just never ends, you know.
SHARPTON: But we got -- we go to keep fighting.
Secretary Reich, the fact is they talk about deficits and bringing
down the deficits. But, if we look at the facts under President Bush,
January of 2001, we had $5.7 trillion deficits, but 2002 January was 5.9,
then it went by 2003 January of that year to 6.4 trillion, and then by
2004, seven trillion. By January 2005, 7.6 trillion. By January 2006, 8.2
trillion. On and onto January 2009, $10.6 trillion.
So, this is the national debt they are screaming about, the
Republicans, the right wing. We have to deal with the debt that grew under
them and their president.
REICH: Of course it did, and it grew under them and their president
for two reasons. Number one because they had this big, big Bush tax cut in
2001 and 2003. Most of the benefits going to the very rich. And secondly,
because President Bush engineered a Medicare drug benefit that was also
extraordinarily costly and would not pay for it.
This is the old Republican technique of starve the beast. You create
a huge program, and you reduce the taxes on the wealthy, and that leaves
the government with a huge budget deficit and then Democrats are left
trying to pick up the pieces.
Why are we allowing them to get away with the same thing over and over
and over again particularly, Al, at a time when the top one percent in this
country had never taken home a larger percentage of total income. It is up
to20 percent of total income.
And when the tax rate that they`re now paying is lower than it`s been
in 50 years, and we`re facing a huge budget deficit. If they don`t pay
their fair share, everybody else is going to have to pay more down the
road, and we will have to lose Medicare, we are going to lose Medicaid, we
are going to lose a lot of Social Security, we are going to lose a lot of
the programs we depend on.
SHARPTON: Well, see, this is to me what this election really comes
down to. Fairness and about who are the ones in this country that will be
the priority in terms of who will we salvage and who will we protect.
The rich, those at the top, or ordinary, average middle class
Americans and working poor, and poor people that need government to protect
them against those that want all of the privileges and none of the
Robert Reich and David Corn, thank you for your time tonight.
REICH: Thank you.
CORN: Sure thing.
SHARPTON: Coming up, why some of my friends on the left should shake
off that Wisconsin hangover. Sure Scott Walker won, but the results don`t
tell the whole story.
Plus, breaking news from Florida where Republicans are defying the
justice department and doubling down on their voter purge. An explosive
response from Governor Rick Scott sets up a big show down with the federal
And Willard loves to talk tough about war, but a new report reveals
exactly how he avoided the draft during Vietnam. It is a story getting a
lot of attention today.
You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: A young Mitt Romney avoided military service in the Vietnam
War. So, why did he later say he longed to be there? That`s coming up.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."
Congratulations to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker for keeping his
job. It`s a big win for the GOP. But, let`s be clear about what happened
last night and what didn`t happen last night. Here is how Walker did in
the 2010 election against Barrett.
Walker won just over 52 percent of the vote in 2010. And here is how
the race shaped up last night. Walker got 53 percent. One percentage
point different from 2010. One point, $30 million in funding and Scott
Walker gained one point on the scale. How is that possible?
Well for one, exit polls showed 60 percent of the people think this
should only be a recall election for political misconduct. What Walker did
to the unions was unpopular, but it wasn`t illegal. And 10 percent of
people believed there should never be a recall.
Folks, 70 percent of people who voted last night didn`t think there
should have been an election. Even with Walker`s win, the news wasn`t all
If you are looking for silver lining, here it is.
Democrats changed four senators last night, and democratic John Lehman
was able to unseat his Republican point. That`s right, last night the Dems
won back control of the state Senate. Another thing the GOP doesn`t want
to talk about, the presidential election had been held last night, Obama
would have beaten Romney by seven points.
Folks, no doubt the progressive lost the battle last night. But now
is not the time to be down. Now is the time to keep going, keep fighting.
Now is not the time to give up.
Don`t be in denial, we lost a round, but don`t through in your towel
because the fight is far from over, this is just the beginning.
Joining me now is someone that knows a thing or two about fighting,
Randi Weingarten the president of the American federation of teachers, and
former congressman Alan Grayson, a Democrat from Florida.
Thank you both, for being here.
ALAN GRAYSON (D), FLORIDA: Thank you.
RAND WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Nice to
be with you.
SHARPTON: Well Randy, let me start with you. What can we learn from
Wisconsin and a roll big money played in organizing and winning the
WEINGARTEN: Well first, look. The results were decisive, but the
exit polls are showing us what the Wisconsin voters really said. So, of
course, we were disappointed in terms of the results.
But I think you got it right, Al. The results are that Wisconsin
voters who very much believe in good government, was sending an
unmistakable message to all of us that said recalls are for misconduct.
And that`s what we learned from the exit polls. It was not about the labor
movement. In fact, the exit polls said that they believed that the labor
movement. It was not really about Scott Walker. But it was about don`t
use recalls for this kind of situation.
In fact, you saw the difference between what happened in Wisconsin
verses what happened in Ohio where it was just about the law, and the
voters said reverse the -- you know, keep collective bargaining. But, I
think your point about money is also very important.
SHARPTON: Yes. Let me -- I want you to address that. Look at the -
look at this full screen, Randi and Alan. Walker raised and spent $30.5
million, Barrett only $3.9 million. And when you list the top ten spenders
of the 2010 election, the only three on the list that supported liberal
causes were unions. Randi?
WEINGARTEN: Well, this is why the money advantage is so corrosive.
So, if you were in Wisconsin during the last several months, because
remember Barrett was only the candidate for a month.
WEINGARTEN: You would have seen wall to wall ads by Scott Walker
without any kind of response. So you would not know that the labor unions
gave the concessions asked for, you wouldn`t have known who Barrett really
was or what he stood for. That`s the corrosive influence that a few people
can actually outweigh and grow drown out the voices of everybody else.
SHARPTON: Now Alan, you`re running for office this year. How do we
deal with a one sided discussion it big money is able to weigh in like
this. How do you deal within our race? What do Democrats learn out of
this Wisconsin situation last night?
GRAYSON: We`re hoping that small contributions can make up the
disadvantage that we`ve had in big money. In our case, 50,000 people have
come to the Web site congressmanwithguts.com and made contributions. That
means that we have raises much money as we need to raise so far to respond
to the negative ads from the other side which had already started.
The chamber of commerce is running an ad in my district already
started in May that the Politicfact group called liar, liar pants on fire
ad. They don`t care. Big money just doesn`t care. They keep running ads
that know are false because they are hoping to fool people that way.
GRAYSON: You are going to see more and more of that this year. The
only way to respond to that is for people to reach into their pockets and
support the candidates who they think they need to support in order to have
a fair and just system. And this year there is no alternative. We`re
fighting to save Social Security, save Medicare, save Medicaid, save our
pensions, save our right to organize, save our student loans. All these
things are at stake this year.
SHARPTON: Randi, we have to fight to save our right to organize.
Where does labor go from here and how do we fight to preserve our right to
organize and Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the things we care
WEINGARTEN: Look. When you work for working families, we need - we
know that we lose more battles than we win. And so you still have to fight
those battles for working families.
Alan is right, we will have to fight knowing there is a money
advantage. Long term, there has to be public campaign finance. But at the
end of the day, Americans if we reach them, and you saw this from the poll
results yesterday, if the president was on the ballot, he would have won.
WEINGARTEN: So it is about really having a conversation with
Americans around the country about who is out there for fairness. So make
sure your kids can go to college. That college is affordable and it is
accessible, that parents actually are OK in retirement, and that those of
us trying every single day to work hard and play by the rules have access
to the American dream. Rich, middle class, or poor.
WEINGARTEN: And so, that`s what we have to do, you know. So, we`re
disappointed today, but we go on and fight tomorrow because we`re fighting
for a virtual cause which is to ensure that America has the American dream
for all people, not just some people.
SHARPTON: Mr. Grayson, as they try to talk about extending the tax
cut, I only have a minute left, but I want you to weigh in on that as
someone who fought this and continues to fight this in this campaign. What
will the tax cuts if extended do to us?
GRAYSON: It`s shocking to me that we`re even thinking about it at
this point. The bush tax cuts were enacted 11 years ago tomorrow. And in
those 11 years, private employment in the United States has increased by
zero. Zero. Not a single job has been created by the private sector since
the Bush tax cuts went into effect.
You know, Einstein said if you do the same thing over and over again
and expect a different result you`re crazy.
GRAYSON: And you have to be crazy to support extending these Bush tax
cuts for the rich.
SHARPTON: I think some of them think we`re crazy. They are not
crazy. They are getting away with a lot of money at the top.
Randi Weingarten and Congressman Alan Grayson. Let`s keep up the
fight. We win some, we lose some. The only permanent losers are those
that don`t fight at all.
Thanks for your time tonight.
WEINGARTEN: Thanks you.
GRAYSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, breaking news from Florida, Republicans are defying
the justice department depending their bid to purge voter rolls and
potentially disenfranchise thousands of American citizens. We can`t let it
Thai is "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out on facebook? It keeps the
conversation going all day long.
Today, our facebook fans are telling us how they feel about the
Florida`s voter purge and voters` suppression laws around the country.
Mary Ann says quote, "this act is designed to help the Republicans
steal the election."
And Sheree posted, "they will try any means necessary to beat
We want you to join the "Politics Nation" community too. Head over to
facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation
that keeps going long after the show ends. We hope to see you there.
SHARPTON: We`re back with breaking news out of Florida where
republican officials are defying the Justice Department and defending their
campaign to suppress the vote. The move from Governor Rick Scott`s
administration sets up a showdown with the federal government over their
bid to purge voter rules. In a sharply worded letter, Florida Senator of
State says, the effort to shutdown the purge quote, "hardly seems like an
approach earnestly designed to protect the integrity of elections and
ensure that eligible voters have their votes counted."
Florida has sent thousands of letters to registered voters across the
state saying they`ve been identified as potential not citizens. These
people must prove their citizenship or be purges from the voting rules.
But this voter purge list is fundamentally flawed. In Miami-Dade County
alone, more than 1600 people were identified as non-citizens, but at least
385 of them turned out to be eligible. That`s nearly one in four, and we
have no clue how many eligible voters may slip through the cracks. That`s
just one county. State wide, 180,000 voters have been targeted as
potential noncitizens including this 91-year-old citizen who got a purge
letter last month.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL INTERNICOLA, TARGETED IN VOTER PURGE: And I never had any
trouble. I voted here for the last almost 15 years around here. And I
voted in Brooklyn when I lived in Brooklyn and I really don`t understand.
To me, it`s like an insult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It is an insult, especially when there is practically no
voter fraud in Florida. Since 2000 there has been only 178 allegations
after fraud in the whole state out of 37 million votes cast. That`s .00005
Joining me now is Ion Sancho, supervisor of elections for Leon County
in Florida. And Michael Hardy general counsel for the National Election
Network, my civil rights organization that is fighting hard against voter
suppression efforts. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.
MICHAEL HARDY, GENERAL COUNSEL, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Thank you,
ION SANCHO, LEON COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS: Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Mr. Sancho, what is your reaction to this letter of
defiance from Governor Scott`s administration?
SANCHO: Well, looking at that letter. I could see basically just
simply about argument for argument`s sake. In our opinion, in what I`m
referring to is the state`s local supervisor of elections, we have one
representing every county, we`re not going to implement any league act. In
our general council last week circulated a memo indicating that the legal
issues are really making it impossible for the state`s local election
officials to proceed. So regardless of what governor is saying in the
letter to the Justice Department, quite frankly there will be no systematic
purge of citizens from this point -- from the state supervisors.
SHARPTON: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. From what I`m understanding
you right, are you saying here tonight despite the letter from the Florida
Secretary of State to the Justice Department that there will not be
purging by the local supervisor, you being one, and that you will not going
to abide by the letter that they sent to Justice Department from the
administration of Rick Scott.
SANCHO: Yes, that`s what I`m saying. Even before this letter that
came out. Those of us that have the ability to read playing law as section
eight of the NBRA which has passed the 1993 states, it is illegal under
that federal act to conduct a systematic purge with three exceptions,
during a period within 90 days before a federal election. We have a
federal election on the ballot here in Florida on August 14th. That means
that deadline was May 16th after which there cannot be a systematic purge,
and I took an oath to uphold the constitution of the United States, and
this official and I believe the majority of us will not conduct any illegal
activity under the National Voter Registration. So Governor Scott can do
all he wants in this partisan endeavor, the local supervisor of elections
want to make sure that our system works as it has for the last decade, and
we`ll going to ensure that our voters are protected.
SHARPTON: Wow, that`s a strong, strong statement, my kind of
statement, but a strong way. Attorney Hardy, as a lawyer, is he right on
the law to the best of your ability to research this?
HARDY: Oh, I think he is, and I believe that his statement that the
response of Florida to the Justice Department was argument for argument`s
sake in trying to stake out a legal position that they will try to defend
was absolutely correct. The law is very clear. The plain language of the
law is clear, and I think if in fact this ends up in court, they will have
a very difficult time defending that a systematic purge was attempted
within those 90 days.
SHARPTON: Now, Supervisor Sancho, you`re also a lawyer, so you`re not
just talking as someone that has not gone through this and looked at it
from a lawyer`s point of view. Let me say.
SANCHO: Well, let me be precise, sir. I have a law degree, but I
practice the administration of elections, not law in the State of Florida.
SHARPTON: OK. All right. You have a law degree though?
SANCHO: Yes, sir.
SHARPTON: OK. Now, let me ask you this. If you and the majority of
supervisors tend to take the stand, you announced here tonight, which is
very important and is really stunning news, can they implement the purge?
Can the administration of Governor Scott implement the purge without the
execution being done by supervisors like yourself?
SANCHO: No they cannot. We`re the hands, legs, feet, and eyes of the
process. We are actually under Florida law, the individuals who are in-
charge of the eligibility of the county voter laws. Not the Secretary of
State, not the governor. And I do not work for them. I was independently
elected by the voters of my county, and I work for them.
SHARPTON: Well, Attorney Hardy, it looks to me that if the Secretary
of State has written this defiant letter, the Governor is backing that
position, but if the supervisors are saying no, then at least in this case
Supervisor Sancho saying, he`s not going to do it and he believes a lot
won`t. It seems like OJ Brown (ph) song, "A dog life can`t cut it,"
they`re just talking loud saying nothing. They can`t defy if the arms and
legs of the state are saying, we`re not doing it.
HARDY: Yes. And it really demonstrates the problem that the Governor
is going to have. When you have your own election supervisors and county
elected officials who`ve been elected by the voters as he has said. That
say that this is improper, it is illegal based on our reading of the laws
within our county and within our state, the governor is going to have a
very difficult time pushing this. They may be trying to push a fight with
the administration, with the Justice Department, they are trying to also
bring in the Homeland Security issue, but it is a fight that really, the
facts of this are not in their favor.
SHARPTON: Now, supervisor, the fact is that Florida has a history in
terms of voting rights that falls under the voting rights act of `65, it is
not supposed to change basic voting unless it is pre-cleared by the Justice
Department. They`re talking about fraud. I showed you the graph where
only 0.0005 percent of the people voting had even having allegations of
fraud. This is clearly a lot of us around the country suspicious, fairly
suspicious but you are saying, you`re not dealing with the politics, you`re
dealing with the law and you`re dealing with that you elected to protect
the voting of the people in your county.
SANCHO: Yes, and if you look at the reason why the national voter
registration act passed in 1993, Reverend Sharpton, it was a overwhelmingly
passed bipartisan law passed pre-2000. So, we had not gotten into the
super hyper-partisanship that we seem to be today. It is a wise policy to
not divert the attention of the election official from the actual
conducting of an election. Ninety days have got to have this election
under way. I have train my workers, test the voting machines, make sure
the ballots are properly prepared, make sure that the polling places are
set up. There`s a million things we have to do, and dealing with this
bureaucratic problem is really not critical now. What is critical is we
make sure that the precincts open on time, that the citizens have the right
ballots styles, and that they are really informed and ready to vote on
August 14th. The state should have done this last year. And I know in
reading the memo of the state, they`re saying, we talked to them last year,
but you know what? You missed the deadline. Everything has a deadline,
Governor, you missed it. Let`s be wise, let`s focus on conducting the
election properly, because this state owes its citizens that.
SHARPTON: And I hope you don`t miss the show tonight, Governor
because we`ll going to do it again tomorrow night, we`ll going to keep
talking about it. Attorney Michael Hardy and certainly Ion Sancho, thank
you both for your time tonight.
HARDY: Thank you.
SANCHO: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, Mitt Romney once said, he longed to go to
Vietnam, so why did he get four deferrals? It`s a story lots of folks are
talking about today. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I have a lot of memories of
France, walking around the City of Paris and walking not just in the
Champs-Elysees, but also over to the Jardin of Luxembourg.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That was Willard Mitt Romney talking about his love of
France. Of course, French culture has been a big part of his life.
Remember this Olympic video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: (SPEAKING FRENCH)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: There is another reason Willard loves France, it helped him
avoid serving in Vietnam. The Associate Press reports that as a Mormon
missionary in France, during the late `60s, he avoided the draft. It was
one of four deferments that kept him from the war. That`s interesting
right? Especially since Romney participated in protests supporting the
draft and the Vietnam War. That`s him right there. He supported to warn
Vietnam. And when Romney ran for president decades later, he was quoted as
saying, "I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam." If you long
to be in Vietnam, getting four deferments is an odd way to show it. But
why is this all important? Because Romney is talking pretty tough about
sending Americans off to the kinds of wards that he managed to avoid. He
increased defense spending by $2.1 trillion. And he said this about
President Obama`s decision to withdraw from Iraq.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: The President`s failure to secure an agreement, and maintain
10,000 to 30,000 troops in Iraq has to be one of these signature failures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Back with me is David Corn, a Washington bureau chief from
Mother Jones and also an MSNBC political analyst. He`s the author of
showdown about the Obama administration, and Hubris, about the Bush
administration. So, how they sold the Iraq war. David, thanks for joining
DAVID CORN, MSNBC, POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be with you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: What does this Vietnam issue say about Romney?
CORN: Well, you know, what it says is that he is very, to be kind
about it, flexible when it comes to describing his own past. Not only did
he say that he longed to be in Vietnam, he also said he was frustrated that
he hadn`t been able to be in Vietnam alongside those brave troops. He said
that back in 2007 when he first ran for President. Yet, there was nothing
preventing him from being in Vietnam. In another point in time, they say
he didn`t do anything to take himself out of the pool of applicants for the
draft. But actually he did. As you mentioned, four deferrals, several for
students when he was going to school in Stanford and elsewhere, and also, a
pretty controversial deferment at the time for his Mormon missionary work,
then the Mormon Church had this automatic deferrals for young man who went
overseas to be missionaries.
And it was controversial. It looks like if there was a dodge for
Mormons as opposed to other religions. And so, he had to seek those
deferments, and you know, he could have not asked for them, he could have
kept his name in the graft. He could have signed up himself without being
drafted. So, there were a lot of ways he could have put that longing to
good use, and he chose not to. Which a lot of people did at the time, but
the point is, and this is why I think it`s relevant that even years later,
as an adult, not as a young man, he is sort of fibbing, telling stories,
not coming to terms and trying to have it both ways.
SHARPTON: And I think that`s the point. I think he has the right to
do whatever he legally wants to do, but the question is you can`t rewrite
history later. You can`t have it both ways and you can`t also come out
with these strong pro-military positions and use as a cover that you longed
to be in service when you look at the fact that he`s talked repeatedly
about cutting the size of government, but the only place he wants to build
up is the military. He adds 80,000 to the Defense Department, 38,000 to
veterans affairs, he`d had 20,000 Homeland Security, I mean he is beefing
up the military and talking about what he longed for the record speaks
something far different.
CORN: But during the Bush years, the George W. Bush years, there was
a popular term called a chicken hawk, you know, neocons and others who are
really seemed eager.
CORN: Even more than eager, for a war in Iraq and elsewhere. People,
when they had the chance to actually fight a war, say Dick Cheney for one,
you know, took the advantage of the system, gamed the system --
SHARPTON: Yes. I have to hold you right there, David, I`ve got to
go. We`re running out of time. Thank you David Corn for your time.
CORN: Sure thing.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back with one of the country`s top radio
personalities and also a best-selling author. Michael Baisden joins us
live here, next.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Folks, hosting this show
puts me in a great position to talk about everything from social justice to
politics. Like yesterday`s recall election in Wisconsin, the republican
effort in states like Florida to purge voter rules and what`s at stake in
the 2012 election. These are big topics across the country and nobody
knows that better than my next guest.
Joining me now is one of America`s top radio personalities, the one
and only Michael Baisden. He is the host of the national syndicated, "The
Michael Baisden" radio show which reaches seven million listeners and the
author of a new novel "Maintenance Man II," Michael, thanks for being here.
In your book, you talk about the dark side of politics using fictional
characters. I`ll have to ask you about the real life struggle that`s
played out in Wisconsin yesterday. What do you make of the results?
MICHAEL BAISDEN, HOST, "THE MICHAEL BAISDEN SHOW": It`s really
interesting, you talked about earlier today, I`ve been watching the news on
it, you said some great things about the president of course. The polls
look good on him coming out. You say, it is not that bad of news, a lot of
people see it`s a terrible news. For the unions it is sending a message,
they`re trying to get the money out of the unions that support the
democratic campaigns right. So, we know that`s what is all about. But I`m
like optimistic about everything. I think ultimately when it comes down to
the election, the President is definitely going to carry that state.
SHARPTON: Now, you are just in the entertainment radio and you do a
lot of serious work. Today, we have to deal with the fact that Rush
Limbaugh attack the President on his radio show, about his celebrity
friends. Let me let you hear this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: He is celebrity of the United
States, he is not the president, and he is actively and his whole team is
out there pushing this. So, it`s Barack Hussein Kardashian. It`s what he
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How do you react to that?
BAISDEN: This guy is a joke. You know, early today, I hope you all
heard, Reverend, early today, you referenced James Browne.
BAISDEN: You should have referenced Prince, Let`s Go Crazy. That`s
all in your show, Reverend. Because for me, it`s just more madness. I`ve
talked about this before. In the movie "Remember the Titans," what`s going
on with the Republicans right now reminds me of the movie, "Remember the
Titans," remember the movie with Denzel Washington?
BAISDEN: And the kids that were playing in this big game and the
referees were cheating. He`s a cheaters, cheaters, and I think that`s what
we have right now. Republicans are trying to cheat their way into this
election and it`s not going to work.
SHARPTON: Now, you push heavy voting.
SHARPTON: You tell people to decide who they want to vote for, but
voting has declined in terms of turn out from 2008 to 2010. You pushed --
for this year. You`re hoping to get it back-up.
BAISDEN: I`m not worried about it, I`m so optimistic Reverend
Sharpton. I think that when we get close to the Election Day, I travel to
the 71 cities with the one million -- campaign, we`ll going to travel to
another 70 cities, it`s not just to promote "Maintenance Man II," which
deals with politics to Republicans, black president, right? I mean, the
whole thing, we`re dealing with those issues, but we`re also encouraging
people to get registered to vote and they will turn it out. We`re going to
win this election.
SHARPTON: You have also been looking for missing children.
SHARPTON: Tell us about that.
BAISDEN: That`s a very important thing Working with Black and Missing
Inc. We just started this up, the channel came up. I realized it wasn`t
enough. People talking about children of color that were missing. And so
with the national platform I have been on 77 different cities, I said, you
know, we can do something to help. And we found, I think 12 or 13 children
now have contributed to the finding of those children. I`m very proud of
SHARPTON: You just found one, a young lady, 14 years old from
SHARPTON: And I think that, so with your radio show, it`s not only
entertainment which is great in this huge audience, but you seek to
educate, I know we went into -- together.
SHARPTON: You and I did the first national rally around. Trayvon
BAISDEN: Entertainment party is all good. It keeps people engaged
until it`s time to sound the alarm. And that`s the way I see it. I see
it, let`s engage people, let`s talk about relationship issues. But when
it`s time to get down to business, we get down to business.
SHARPTON: What is the most important thing in this election? What is
this election about?
BAISDEN: Voter turnout. Because right now, I think people have
chosen sides. And I got news for you and your viewers. We`re going to win
this election when the debates start. That`s the only time that the
viewers from the other side see are going to see these two candidates side
by side, and President Obama is going to knock it out of the park when they
see the difference in this man and Mitt Romney.
SHARPTON: The book, the name of the book.
BAISDEN: "Maintenance Man II." Check it out, it`s been a long time,
as I wrote it, politics is great, you`ll got to love it.
SHARPTON: Michael Baisden, thank you for joining us tonight. And
good luck with the new book, "Maintenance Man II."
Thanks for watching, I`m Al Sharpton, "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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