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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 13, 2012

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Guests: Bob Shrum; Ana Marie Cox; Emanuel Cleaver, Judith Browne-Dianis, Susan Bucher, Simone Campbell

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

Tonight`s lead, the smearing of Eric Holder. Republicans are
conspiring to take down a historic leader and undermine the cause of
justice in this country. That`s the story we have to talk about tonight.

I want to start by going back to this very day, June 13th, in 1967.
That`s when President Lyndon Johnson nominated Thurgood Marshall to become
the first African-American justice on the Supreme Court. It was a huge
step forward for civil rights in this country. The leading African-
American attorney in the country chosen to our nation`s highest court.
What a moment.

But today, 45 years later, Republicans are in the midst of a vicious
attack campaign against the nation`s first African-American attorney
general. It`s part of an ugly effort that began even before Holder took
office. And hasn`t let up since.

Republican lawmakers are now threatening to hold him in contempt of
congress. They`re also calling on him to resign. It`s an escalation of
their attempt to attack him over a program called fast and furious. A so-
called gun walking operation that was dreamed up by the Bush administration
and ended by Holder. He made that very point yesterday.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: If you want to talk about fast
and furious, I`m the attorney general that put an end to the misguided
tactics that were used in fast and furious. An attorney general who I
suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of
tactics in operation wide receiver and did nothing to stop them. Nothing.


SHARPTON: There were three gun-walking operations during the Bush
administration. But Republicans going after the attorney general have
resorted to attacks that sink to a whole new low of dishonesty and
disrespect. He is, after all, the chief law enforcement officer of the
United States.

REP. ANN MARIE BUERKLE, NEW YORK: How many more border patrol agents would
have had to die as part of operation fast and furious for you to take

HOLDER: You know, I mean, really. Does that -- is that the way in
which you want to be seen, you want to be known? That kind of question I
think is frankly -- and again, I think that`s beneath a member of congress.


SHARPTON: Republicans have launched every attack they can no matter
how petty.


TIM WALBERG, MICHIGAN: You`re well known in this town for not reading
memos. What does that say about your leadership and management?

HOLDER: Given the decision to almost engage in character
assassination, I`m going to respond to at least some of that.


SHARPTON: They`ve accused the attorney of lying.


REP. RAUL LABRADOR, IDAHO: You either lied or you were grossly
incompetent in your actions.

HOLDER: That was among the worst things I think I`ve seen in
Congress. You took a whole series of statements out of context with no
context. Do I treat the members of this community with respect? I always
hope that I do. And what you have just done if nothing else is
disrespectful. And if you don`t like me, that`s one thing. But, you
should respect the fact that I hold an office that is deserving of respect.


SHARPTON: He`s right. You don`t show that kind of disrespect to the
attorney general of the United States. In fact, I want to name the
politicians you just saw in that clip. Congresswoman Ann Marie Buerkle of
New York. Congressman Tim Walberg of Michigan. Congressman Raul Labrador
of Idaho. These are minor lawmakers, but they should be ashamed of their

Republican congressman Paul Gosar even suggested that Holder and other
officials in the Obama administration might quote, "be accessories to
murder." And of course the far right has also ripped a page out of its old
playbook and accused the attorney general of racism.

In March of last year, "the Wall Street Journal" ran a column with the
headline; Eric Holder`s People. Blasting the quote "racial bias of the
justice department."

In December, the paper attacked Holder, this quite, "racial politics."
And last month, the paper criticized his quote, "racial incitement."

Taken together, these smears represent an unprecedented attack on the
top law enforcement official in this country. And it has to stop.

Joining me now is Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Democrat from Missouri
and chairman of the congressional black caucus. Just last week, he wrote a
letter to Speaker Boehner arguing against the attempt to bring contempt
charges against the attorney general.

Congressman, thanks for being here tonight.

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

SHARPTON: What`s behind these attacks on the attorney general in your

CLEAVER: Well, first of all, I think that in the United States during
an election year, if one side wants to take its shots at the president and
even his administration, that`s one thing and that`s part of what we do in
this country. Sometimes we do it in a very nasty way.

But, when you start trying to hold people in contempt because they`ve
chosen to enforce the laws that they swore to enforce -- Lyndon Johnson in
1968 signed into law a measure that would prohibit the justice department
from ever presenting or leaking or giving away information secured on a

And what Eric Holder is being threatened about is obeying that law.
And I think -- so what`s going on is -- and it`s happening in Washington so
much, Reverend. And it`s a sick moment for our nation. It`s a dark
moment. Because what we`re doing is we are so caught up into the disposal
of President Barack Obama that we are dropping down into a level of
incivility and some that most people have never seen before that it`s
making the entire political process soiled to the point that nothing is
productively happening.

SHARPTON: Now, it really is motivated in part by politics, large
part. Steven King, Republican member of congress, in March, explicitly
said this was all politics. He said and I`m quoting him. "I think
leadership doesn`t want to be seen as using the gavels here for political
purposes. I think there`s a bit of an aversion to that. Me? I have no
reservations about that. This is politics."

CLEAVER: Well, you know, that confirms what I have shared with
people. And some of the people in my party get upset when I say, you know,
really, Speaker Boehner is a pretty good guy who wants to do the right
thing. And I think there are others in leadership who also are trying to
do the right thing in the Republican side.

However, I think they`re getting enormous pressure from the other side
to go far, far, far to the right. Far, far, far beyond what was previously

You know, Democrats do the same thing in terms of an election year
trying to make sure that the party in power pays some kind of price. But
not to the point where we try to dismantle a man`s character. We`re trying
to destroy Eric Holder for enforcing the law.

SHARPTON: And destroy any respect for the office. And the fact of
the matter is that when they say he has not cooperated in the fast and
furious probe that they want to hold him in contempt for, he has had
140,000 documents reviewed, 7,600 pages turned over. Eight hearings before
congress. And he said, let`s talk. Let`s keep talking. I can`t give
things that are somehow sealed or somehow beyond my ability we the law.
So, the public needs to understand it`s not there hasn`t been some
cooperation, but if it`s politics, I don`t think some of those that we`re
talking about would be satisfied.

But let me tell you what really, really caught my eye.

Senator Cornyn on yesterday, in attacking attorney general Holder,
brought up the voting issue. And called for his resignation. Let me show
you what Cornyn said.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R), TEXAS: Won`t cooperate with a legitimate
congressional investigation and won`t hold yourself accountable. Your
department blocks states from implementing attempts to combat voter fraud.
You leave me no alternative but to join those that call upon you to resign
your office.

HOLDER: With all due respect, senator, there`s so much factually
wrong with the premises you started your statement with. It`s almost
breathtaking in its inaccuracy. I don`t have any intention of resigning.


SHARPTON: Now, you know, I don`t know a lot about fast and furious.
I do know this was started under George Bush. I know Mr. Holder ended it.
And I know there have been some problems within under both administrations.
But I know a lot of us that are concerned about voting. And for Cornyn to
say that part of the reason he should resign is because he has the justice
department looking into the whole question of changing voting in states
where you and I, the congressional caucus, mass action, civil rights groups
have established there is no fraud. How do you say the attorney general
ought to resign for protecting people`s voter rights?

CLEAVER: Well, I think that the sad thing about this is that in the
United States of America, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and
liberals ought to be about wanting as many Americans to vote as possible.
This is the world`s leading democracy. And for us to have to deal with a
problem that doesn`t exist and then ask the attorney general to resign
because he wants to make sure that in a democracy everyone has a fair
chance to vote is just asinine and shows you just how low we have sunk.

I mean, we are going down, down, down in terms of credibility. Not
only to the people of this country but in this world. I`m here in Kansas
City and I talk to people and no matter what side they`re on, they are
disgusted at what they see. And people still continue to do it.

SHARPTON: Chairman Cleaver, thanks so much for your time tonight.

CLEAVER: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: I want you in the audience to understand the level of
outrage that came to me around what was going on increased when Senator
Cornyn raised this question of voting. Something that you know we deal
with a lot on this show.

Why? Because there`s been no established increase of voter fraud. In
fact, there`s been an established number that a fraction of one percent has
found voter fraud. Yet they`re trying to change the voter laws all over
this country. Look again and listen to what Cornyn said.


CORNYN: You won`t corporate with legitimate congressional
investigation and you won`t hold anyone including yourself accountable.
Your department blocks states from implementing attempts to combat voter


SHARPTON: Block states from implementing attempts to block voter
fraud. What voter fraud? We`ve gone over and over again, there is no
clear evidence, there are no numbers they can put out. We`ve used the
numbers from the Bush administration. There is no voter fraud.

So, what he`s really saying is that the attorney general should not
enforce the voting rights act. The voting rights act which partly says
that certain states that have had a pattern of violating American citizen
voting rights must have free clearance to change the voting laws.

It is not the states that can say the federal government is standing
in their way. It is the state standing in the federal government`s way if
they try to change the law in those states without preclearance. That`s
the law. That is the law that was made and put on the books in 1965. It
is the height of hypocrisy to stand up and talk about how we love the civil
rights movement and how we all fought together with Dr. King then undermine
the voting rights act.

What bothers me secondly is, where is the leadership of the Democratic
Party? That`s right. We`ve heard some Democrats stand up. Congressman
Cleaver and others among them, certainly a lot are coming.

But I`m talking about the heads of the party. Why have you in this
whole debacle gained political laryngitis? I think you need to be called
out. Maybe I`ll start coming with names. Because it`s bad enough when
those on the other side start shooting at you for no reason. It`s worse
when your friends duck so they can get a clear shot.

Ahead, how did Florida Governor Rick Scott hatch his plan to purge
voters? The amazing answers coming to that coming up next.

Plus, Republicans wrap themselves up in religion. So why are they
waging war on the poor? A group of nuns is shining a big light on this

Willard wants to pretend he cares about the middle class. Wait until
you hear what he`s saying to the Wall Street crowd today.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: We knew Mitt Romney was Wall Street`s guy, but now he`s
practically bragging about it. How will President Obama respond? That`s


SHARPTON: We are back on "Politics Nation" with a real news flash.

Wall Street loves Romney. I know it comes as a big shocker. So why
do they love him? Because his policies put more money in their pockets.

Today, Romney met with 100 of the country`s top CEOs. He was just
connecting with his people.


get health care to act more like a consumer market. I happen to be a real
believer in competition and consumer markets. I also am going to put in
place a policy that no agency of government can add regulations without
removing opposite regulation. I want to repeal Dodd-Frank, a major portion
of it. I want to see lower tax rates. It makes no sense to me we that
have the highest corporate tax rate in the world.


SHARPTON: Lower corporate taxes, repeal Dodd-Frank, treat health care
like a consumer market. He`s wooing them. Wooing them all with the right
words. And they`re falling all over him.

Today, "Politico" reports Willard`s winning with Wall Street by a
landslide over the president. He`s already pocketed $37.1 million from the
financial sector donors alone. There is no wonder, they can afford to
shell out that kind of money for Romney. He`s going to save them big bucks
if he becomes president.

Romney plans on raising taxes on the poorest people in this country
while giving his multibillionaire buddies a massive tax cut.

So, this is what this election is about. Fairness. You have the one
percent candidate. Then you have the guy fighting for the other 99


Romney saying his 25 years in the private sector gives him an example of
how the economy works, why are you running with the same bad ideas that
brought our economy to the brink of disaster? We`ve got to move forward to
the future we imagine. Where everybody`s getting a fair shot. And
everybody`s doing their fair share and playing by the same rules.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist who
ran Ted Kennedy`s race against Mitt Romney in 1994, and Ana Marie Cox,
correspondent for "the Guardian."

Thanks for both of you for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Bob, glad we got that news flash out there about Wall
Street login Willard tonight. The lines are drawn. How do you see it
playing out?

SHRUM: The Wall Street is going to put a lot of money into this.

Look. He`s not only unfair, the policies are not only unfair, they`re
unbelievably stupid. I mean, what he is proposing to do is go back to the
Bush era of deregulation. Get rid of Dodd-Frank. Get rid of the stuff
that`s been put in and to try to prevent another crash. Give massive tax
cuts to those at the top, as you said, which will actually increase the
deficit and the debt. That`s the recipe that led to the crash of 2008.

Now, you have a lot of these guys who only care about themselves. Who
know that they can go out there and recklessly gamble, make billions of
dollars. And if things go bad, they`re going to say they`re too big to
fail. The government has to come and rescue them. The average guy has to
come and rescue them. That`s what we have to get over. That`s what we
can`t afford to repeat.

And then, you have the democratic cry babies on Wall Street. The
people who just can`t believe that the president`s denounced speculation.
So their feelings are hurt. And they`re going to support someone whose
economic policies would hurt the economy and ultimately the stock market

SHARPTON: Now Ana Marie, when you make a position or take a position
that`s one thing. I think that he`s even gone further than that. Let me
let you hear where he said people who want to go after the rich and raise
their taxes should be ashamed. Look at this.


ROMNEY: I don`t want to raise the individual marginal tax rate from
35 percent to 40 percent. I know there`s some who think that that`s a
great way to go after rich people. And first of all, shame on anybody who
thinks we`re going to divide the country based on success.


SHARPTON: I hate to give another news flash all in one segment. The
country`s already divided when they have a tax rate lower than everyone
else. The question is trying to close the divide and have people, all, pay
their fair share, Ana Marie.

shame is really on the people that would increase that divide and make the
divide deeper which is what the impact of Romney`s policies probably would

I for one really appreciate what he said today, because I feel like he
laid out exactly what it is that he wants to do. And I think that the
American people are smart enough to realize that those policies are a
rollback to the very things that got us into where we are today. And why
would we go back to that? It`s true that the economy still has not
flourished like we want it to. And people blame Obama for that. But I
think that this election is looking like it`s going to be a clear divide
about what the role of government is as far as in the banking industry and
in people`s lives for that matter. When you bring in the health care
reform argument.

And Obama`s argument is government is there to make sure we have a
fair playing field. And Romney`s argument is that we take the referees off
and let everybody just, you know, scramble for the ball.

And also, by the way, some people are hobbled and some people can`t
even get on the field. He`s not interested in fairness.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, you`re one of the best strategists in the
country. Let`s go to the politics of this.

The government has to deal with the government problems. But in
politics we are in a very troubling economic time. How do we run against
him given this economy politically? What is the political strategy that
you see?

SHRUM: Well, I think the Obama people are doing a very good job here.
And I don`t have much patience for some of the bullfight critics in the
Democratic Party who are sort of complaining about this, think they should
be doing it.

They`ve set out to make the election a choice, not a referendum.
They`ve drawn the lines along the fundamental question of fairness. Who`s
going to stand up for you? Who`s going to stand up for the favored few? I
think the answer to that is clear.

And they`ve always done it on jobs in this opening salvo. The Bain
ads and the ads about Romney in Massachusetts are about a guy who in the
public sector did a bad job of creating jobs. So, you`ve got to give
people a choice. You got to make them look ahead to the future. Doesn`t
mean the president should run from his record. But he has to say in
essence we`ve done a lot, but we have a lot more to do.

SHARPTON: Now, Ana Marie, in an interview yesterday, Willard Romney
said it was strange that President Obama would accuse him of being out of
touch about police officers, firefighters, and teachers. And that the
federal government doesn`t pay for teachers, firefighters, and police
officers. Let me show you so you won`t think I misquoted him.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: He says that you`re out of touch. He
says that you want to cut firefighters and teachers. That you don`t
understand what`s going on in these communities. What do you say to that,

ROMNEY: Well, that`s a very strange accusation. Of course teachers
and firemen and policemen are hired at the local level and also by states.
The federal government doesn`t pay for teachers, firefighters, or
policemen. So obviously that`s completely absurd.


SHARPTON: Now, just for the facts before you respond, Ana Marie. The
federal government pays nearly 11 percent of public school costs. Spent
over a billion dollars for hiring police officers. Awarded over $630
million in grants to hire more firefighters. When you apply for a job, you
should -- maybe get a job description and know what it is that you`re
applying for if he`s going to head the federal government. I mean, this is
a little wacky to me, Ana Marie.

COX: Yes. I think that the word strange here is interesting that
Romney uses it. I think his response is very odd. It`s very, very odd,
but understandable. I mean, when is the last time that Romney met a
teacher probably or met a firefighter or met a fireman?

In his entire life, he probably hasn`t much need for much public
school teachers and probably could afford to hire his own security. He
doesn`t think in terms of an average American who relies on those public
servants on a daily basis. Especially the people in the middle class and
lower middle class who might have more interactions with police and firemen
and might actually be police and firemen and teachers. It`s a stunning
statement. I hope it gets the attention it deserves. I`m glad we`re
talking about it.

SHARPTON: Bob, DNC released an ad of using teachers and first
responders to take a swipe at how out of touch he is. Let me show this and
get a quick response from you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a firefighter.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m a police officer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney says there should be fewer of me.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He wants to cut taxes for people like himself by
cutting jobs like mine.




SHRUM: Very effective ad. Draws the dividing line. Look, Romney
knew when he was on FOX and he said that. He knew what the facts were. He
knows the federal government puts money into all these programs. But this
guy will say anything, do anything -- you know, sometimes I think you know
how you can tell when Romney`s lying? He moves his lips.

SHARPTON: Bob Shrum and Ana Marie Cox, thanks for your time tonight.

SHRUM: Thank you.

Ahead, they`re doing everything they can do to cut from the poor like
attacking food stamps. Now groupers doing something about it and it may
surprise you


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Folks, remember her?
Think way back to the year 2000. That`s Kathryn Harris. She was at the
central controversy as Florida Secretary of State in charge of certifying
the recount of 2000. After also serving as George W. Bush`s campaign chair
in Florida, nobody will ever forget the hanging chads and the confusion in
the days after the election. And then there was this ballot. The
butterfly ballot. Used in Palm Beach County. The source of major
confusion. The top part was easy. If you wanted George Bush, you punched
the top circle. But if you wanted Al Gore, you had to punch the third
circle. It turns out, over 6,000 who wanted Gore punched that second
circle and accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan. After all of that, it
boiled down to 537 votes. We all know how that turned out.


Governor George W. Bush, the winner of Florida`s 25 electoral votes for the
president of the United States.


SHARPTON: No, before that, Katherine Harris was involved in a massive
effort to disenfranchise thousands of voters in Florida. But she made a
big mistake. Her voter cleansing program designed to vet the voting rolls
for felons wrongfully kept thousands of people from voting. Particularly
minorities. Twelve thousand voters were wrongfully identified as felons
and purged from the voter rolls. Twelve years later, we`ve had massive
voter suppression going on again. And surprise, surprise. It involves
voter purging. The breaking news today, an explosive report from the
Miami Herald saying, Governor Rick Scott`s voter purge plan was hatched
after a five minute conversation with his former Secretary of State Kurt
Browning. Browning who was an election supervisor for 26 years recently
told the Miami Herald quote, "I didn`t feel comfortable rolling this
initiative out. Something was telling me this isn`t going to fly. We
didn`t have our eyes dotted and T`s crossed when I was there. I would not
have sent this to the list of counties." And to the new Secretary of State
Ken Detzner, who`s leading the way and defining the Justice Department`s
warning. But a funny thing is happening on the way to the purge, we found

Joining me now is Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of the Advancement
Project. And Susan Bucher, she`s the supervisor of elections for Palm
Beach County, Florida. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Miss Booker, let me start with you. Will you participate
in the Governor`s plan to go through the voter rolls in your county?

BUCHER: No, sir. We did not start sending our first letters out
because we determined that the information provided to the supervisors was
not credible nor reliable information and that`s our requirement in Florida

SHARPTON: So, you`re saying as the supervisor in Palm Beach County
that you have not sent out the letters and that you do not feel that the
list sent you complies with what it needs to and should be required to for
you to operate as an official of elections in your county?

BUCHER: No. The determination, the final determination in the
Florida law lies with the supervisors of elections. And prior to us
getting ready to send letters out, we discovered that some of our
colleagues who did send the letters out, they found a World War II
decorated veteran. They found a lady that was born in Ohio, somebody born
in Massachusetts. The information is outdated. It came from the division
of driver`s license. And you can see on our data, some of the information
is as old as 12 years old. It was from the year 2000. And so, we
requested updated information. And today, we haven`t received anything

SHARPTON: So, you found veterans, you found people who had a long
history of voting. You found people on the list that was just blatantly
incorrect. What do you think the government is up to here?

BUCHER: Well, I think we have a previous history and I think you
already stated that, you know, Florida has a history of trying to update
the voter rolls. Very interestingly so in the presidential election year.
You know, the supervisors want to keep accurate data and accurate voter
rolls. And since I joined the supervisors office about three and a half
years ago, we have legally purged almost 50,000 voters who either passed
away, moved, or no longer have their voting rights. And that`s the way it
should be done. It shouldn`t be at the 11th hour. You know, obviously,
Secretary Browning who has a lot of election experience did not feel
confident that the information provided to the supervisors was credible nor
reliable. Otherwise he would have sent it to us when he had it. It`s been
around for about a year. It`s interesting that at the 11th hour they`re
pushing this on us. And we are in election mode. We don`t have the time
to do this. And I`m pleased that the --

SHARPTON: Susan, it`s not that you don`t purge voters. But you`re
saying that do it right. Don`t do it at the 11th hour and don`t wait until
the election time. Very interesting. So you`re not apologist about
cleaning the rolls. But you want to do it where people are protected if
I`m hearing you correctly.

BUCHER: That`s correct. You know, there`s no time any supervisor in
any state wants to go tag a voter and say, show me your papers and have
them turned up to be a U.S. born citizen. That`s just not fair to us. And
the only place that we`ve received the information is from the Department
of State. And the information is obviously incorrect. And the supervisors
are not complying with the direction that the Governor and the Secretary of
State has requested.

SHARPTON: Now, Judith, this happened after a five minute conversation
between the then Secretary of State and the Governor. Five minute

I mean, this is clearly, you know, the smoking gun evidence of this
debacle. Here you have, you know, the Secretary of State saying, you know,
this is wrong. You know, this isn`t the first time that this has happened.
In 2000, actually the company that did the purge actually said to them to
Katherine Harris, we should not do it this way. But she decided to go
ahead. And, you know, there`s no coincidence that this is happening at the
last minute. You know, when we look at this, this is about a showdown
around democracy. In one corner, we have the Secretary -- we have the
Governor who is the voter suppresser. In the other corner, we have the
Attorney General of the United States saying he`s going to stand with the
citizens of the United States. And he`s going to protect the right to

SHARPTON: Now, Judith, the Governor said that he`s really trying to
fix a problem. A problem that doesn`t exist. Let me show you what he


RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA GOVERNOR: This is protecting the rights of
the U.S. citizens and not diluting their vote by non-U.S. citizens. When
non-U.S. citizens registered to vote, it is illegal. We were trying to fix
our voter rules and they`re trying to stop us. It doesn`t make any sense.


SHARPTON: Now, for the record, the voter fraud in Florida since 2000.
There`s been 178 allegations out of 37 million votes cast. I mean, this is
really the epitome of a solution looking for a problem.

DIANIS: That`s right. Americans should be outraged by this. That
this governor is standing in the way of democracy. He is undermining our
democracy trying to get people off the rolls at the last minute. And in
fact, it`s illegal. You can`t suppress the vote this -- you know, you
cannot suppress the vote first of all. And then you cannot purge so
closely to an election. And we know what this is about. This is about him
doing it for partisan gain.

SHARPTON: Susan, let me ask you the last question. What`s the way
forward? There`s a standoff here, the Justice Department`s involved.
What`s the move forward in your opinion?

BUCHER: Well, in my opinion. We`re going to look to the federal
government and the courts to do the right thing. And we`re going to
proceed and start ramping up for very important presidential year. And we
have policies and procedures in place to protect the voter rolls and to
protect the voters. And I`m confident that the federal government will
help us proceed in the proper manner. And we won`t be purging the voters.
Because we`re in election mode. We`re so close to the presidential and the
primary that the 90 day time frame that is outlined in the federal law and
also in the state law should be adhered to. And that`s what we`re going to
do here in Palm Beach County.

SHARPTON: Well, let me say this. Obviously we all have our own
opinions, and I`m very transparent about mine. But this is not about who
you support. This is not about what party you might be a member of. This
is about protecting everyone`s right to vote. And we`re going to keep
talking about it, keep fighting in Florida and everywhere else. I don`t
care if the people we protect all vote against the way I think they should.
They must be protected. We must protect the democratic right to vote for
everybody. Judith Browne-Dianis and Susan Bucher, thanks for your time

BUCHER: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

DIANIS: Thank you, sir.

SHARPTON: Up next, Paul Ryan is facing his toughest opposition yet.
A group of nuns are traveling the country and speaking out against his
attack on the poor. Plus, the e-mails are still coming in for my interview
with Newt Gingrich. I`ve got one more thing to say, however, about his
response to food stamps and secret meetings. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: America has always been a country that takes care of our
own. But some don`t believe in that anymore. Now a group of nuns are
doing something about it. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. There`s a war being waged
in this country. It`s a war against the most vulnerable in our society.
For months now, the GOP has relentlessly targeted programs that help the
poor. Today was the latest example. Senator Ryan Paul offered up an
amendment to the Senate for their farm bill that would cut food stamp
spending by 45 percent next year. Is that really how we should be fixing
this economy? By taking food out of the mouths of hungry children? No,
it`s not. But sadly, villainizing the poor has become a rallying cry for
the other side.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: We don`t want to turn this -- into a
panic. That allows able-bodied people (INAUDIBLE).

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m not concerned about the
very poor. We have a safety net there.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We need people working with jobs, not our saving
food stamps.

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: Our nation needs to stop doing
for people what they can and should do for themselves. Self-reliance means
if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.


SHARPTON: Neither should he eat. That`s outrageous. But it makes
sense coming from a party fully behind wrong way Ryan`s budget. A budget
where 62 percent of the cuts come from low income programs. This isn`t
American. This isn`t right. And it`s why a group of Catholic sisters are
organizing nuns on the bus. A bus tour that will start in Iowa and then
travel through nine states to highlight the cruelty of this legislation.

Joining me now is Sister Simone Campbell. Executive director of
network, a national Catholic social justice lobby. She`s organizing the
nuns on the bus tour. Sister Campbell, thanks so much for joining me this


SHARPTON: Now, why is it so important to you that you and others are
speaking against this budget?

CAMPBELL: Well, what we know is that out in the country, people don`t
know the reality of the budget. They just hear the sound bites of
politicians saying, oh, this is wonderful, this is good, this is
responsible. And what we know is that this budget that was passed by the
house, proposed by Congressman Ryan erodes the very core of who we are as a
nation. Because what it does is it says we no longer believe in community.
We no longer believe in caring for each other. We only believe in shifting
money to the taut. More money to those who are the riches. And giving
even more money than the military wants to the military. People don`t know
these facts. And we need to make it clear. We stand with the people who
have -- our economy has pushed to the margins.

SHARPTON: Now, people ought to know that food stamps helps kids
basically and reduces poverty. Really doesn`t make sense to target this
program. The fact is nearly 75 percent of participants are families with
children. And food stamps reduced the poverty rate by eight percent.

CAMPBELL: And that food stamps are a really important way to help
families bridge tragic times in this really tenuous economy. Additionally,
it should be noted that many of the food stamp recipients work full-time.


CAMPBELL: And that, in fact, food stamps should not be considered
charity but rather a business subsidy. Because businesses can get away
with paying low wages and their workers can survive. So I think we need to
see this as a program that supports the whole nation, not just the ones who
can buy food.

SHARPTON: Now, I have to ask you this. Paul Ryan says that his
Catholic faith was a guiding force in coming up with this budget plan.
Listen to this.


RYAN: One of the primary tenants of Catholic social teaching means,
don`t keep people poor. Don`t make people dependent on government so that
they stay stuck in their station in life.

I suppose that there are some Catholics who for a long time thought
they had a monopoly of sorts. Not exactly in heaven, but on the social
teaching of our church. Of course there can be differences among faithful
Catholics on this.


SHARPTON: What do you make of that? Is there some Catholic budget
here in your mind that Ryan`s proposing?

CAMPBELL: Well, definitely the Ryan budget is not a Catholic budget.
He only thinks of supporting those at the top. What Congressman Ryan
misses that all faiths teach is that at the core, yes, his individual
responsibility. But it`s also communal solidarity. We only are as good as
the weakest person in our society. That`s the measure of our society.
That`s the measure of our faith.

SHARPTON: Now, how has the Vatican responded to your bus tour? I
want to have to go over. I have to ask you that.

CAMPBELL: Oh, the Vatican hasn`t responded. But the thing that we`re
really excited about is that our Catholic bishops share our perspective
that it is an immoral document. It is not a correct budget. It`s not in
keeping with our faith. So we are delighted to stand with our bishops and
oppose the Ryan budget.

SHARPTON: So, we have nuns on the bus and the bishops are supporting

CAMPBELL: I know. It`s amazing.

SHARPTON: That`s great. Sister Campbell, thanks for coming on
tonight. And good luck on the bus tour. We`re going to catch up with you.

CAMPBELL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Last night Newt Gingrich came on the show and we got a
chance to talk about his racially charged rhetoric on food stamps. I
resented all that he`d said particularly because some criticized Secretary
Duncan and the President and even me for working with Newt on education
reform back in 2009. For Mr. Gingrich to make those comments was
disturbing. And he had to be challenged.


people getting food stamps are white. They`re not black. So, if I`m
talking about food stamps, it`s not an inherently racial comment.


SHARPTON: It is if you say you go to the NAACP and tell them they
should get paychecks not food stamps. You didn`t say you`d go the NAACP
and say, help you get whites off food stamps for paychecks.


SHARPTON: I also brought up how Newt attended a secret meeting on the
night of President Obama`s inauguration. A plan how to obstruct everything
about his presidency. Mr. Gingrich confirmed he went to the meeting and
said he was proud of it.


GINGRICH: Don`t you think that in 2001 when George W. Bush was being
inaugurated, a group of Democrats got together and said, how do we get the
White House? And in 2005, they got together and said, how to we get the
White House and.

SHARPTON: No. But there`s a qualitative difference in how do we get
the White House and that we are committed tonight to block everything he
does, that we are going to be relentless. And really care nothing about
the fact that he was inheriting the worst economy since the depression by a
member of your party.


SHARPTON: I`m glad that Newt and I had that last night. And we`ve
agreed to do some more talking in the future. I was glad that we talked
openly about what I felt was racially tinged. And I`m even more glad that
he admitted that they did meet that night. And that no matter what
President Obama did, they already planned to block him.

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


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