PoliticsNation, Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
Guests: Dana Milbank; John Mica; Katherine Eban; Adam Schiff, Ana Marie Cox, Wes Moore, Ion Sancho, Judith Browne-Dianis
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m
Tonight`s lead. The Republican`s party is contempt for the American
people. GOP lawmakers are on the verge of holding the attorney general of
the United States in contempt of Congress for the first time ever. They
are likely the case that momentous vote tomorrow in what will go down in
history of disgraceful abuse of power and waste of time. Perfectly fitting
for John Boehner`s right-wing tea party Congress.
The so-called gun-walking programs were actually started during the
Bush administration. But the Republicans parted by the National Rightful
Association are peddling a conspiracy theory that fast and furious was
cooked up by President Obama in order to take away gun rights.
Here`s what the head of the NRA said last night.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WAYNE LAPIERRE, NRA PRESIDENT: In attempt to seek political advantage
and in an attempt to enact more gun control laws on honest American
citizens and use this whole issue politically against the second amendment
of the United States.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The Republican now leading the charge against Eric Holder,
Congressman Darrell Issa, mimic the talking point earlier this year.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE: Could it
be that what they really were thinking of was in fact to use this walking
of guns in order to promote an assault weapons` ban. Many think so. If
you don`t think that this fast and furious and things like it are the
beginning of an attack in a second term on the second amendment, you really
haven`t evaluated this president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And now, the NRA is using its political muscle to pried
lawmakers including Democrats in a voting for contempt and it is an
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why is the NRA waiting in to a contempt issue?
This seems totally inappropriate and far a moved from the gun issue unless
this is really all about politics.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you were the prosecutor, this would be
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a political patch it job and I believe the
American people are disgusted with Congress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: She is right. The American people are disgusting with
Congress. They want jobs and healthcare and save retirement. Instead,
Republican lawmakers have been selling conspiracy terrorism prosecuting the
highest ranking law enforcement official in the country. It is all part of
the GOP plan.
A recent book that revealed that top Republicans met just hours after
the inauguration to work on a plot to bring down the president. They agree
to try to quote, "win the spear point of the House in 2010" and then "jab
Obama relentlessly in 2011." That` exactly what they are doing now with
Even before Congressman Issa took over the oversight committee last
year, he had announced plans the whole hundreds of hearings against the
Obama administration. Part of what critics said was a witch-hunt worthy of
Joe McCarthy. He is wrong and it is a shame. But it was what Republicans
in Congress have become.
Joining me now is Democratic congressman Adam Shift of California. He
is a former federal prosecution who was been outspoken in Holder`s behalf.
And Dana Milbank, columnist for "the Washington Post" who was out of the
congressional hearing today setting the rules for tomorrow`s contempt vote.
Thank you both for joining me this evening.
SHARPTON: Congressman, let me start with you. How do you explain
REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: Well, unfortunately, I explained
this what it is merely a partisan exercise. It is pretty clear that the
fast and furious investigation which had a legitimate start. I mean, there
are legitimate concerns about this gun-walking issue has become completely
un-worth from what it began and is now become really a political exercise.
And I think the NRA waiting into it making this a scored vote. In
other words, if you want a perfect score with an NRA, then you got to vote
this way on the contempt issue, only further politicizes this.
I think it is fascinating that Chairman Issa today acknowledged what
we all know which is, there is no evidence that the attorney general was
even aware of this gun-walking operation. And if that`s is the case, and
the chairman admits that, then what is this contempt about, except for time
consuming, waste of money and resources.
SHARPTON: Now, explain what did political pressure is from your
colleagues when NRA says that if you want to get a perfect score from us,
you are going to vote contempt.
SCHIFF: Well, in the pressure is amends. I mean, in a great many
districts where the gun issue has tremendous resonant, these members are
really, you know, quite terrifying that not having a good NRA record. The
NRA, of course, knows this. They want to put those members the untenable
position between having to choose between. You know, a really prevails
contempt vote, a bogus contempt vote, a partisan contempt vote on the one
hand or voting against the NRA on the other hand.
That`s the exactly the kind of position the NRA wants to put his
members. A lot of them vulnerable members in. But it is a terrible
(INAUDIBLE) of what ought to be a sober process. This is a contempt power
that ought to be use very scurrilously under very well circumstances and
certainly just as a yet another partisan tool in a political campaign
SHARPTON: Well, that includes not a political tool from the
But Dana, you were there today in the hearing. Chairman Issa, you
just heard congressman Schiff, Chairman Issa admitted that the attorney
general may not even known about this?
DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Yes, he said
that he doesn`t believe that he knew anything specific about it. And he
also said, the documents he is requesting, the things at the heart of this
actually aren`t about the program. He said those words. It`s about what
the justice department did after this whole program was already shut down.
Now, earlier today, House speaker Boehner was out there saying, we are
all about jobs. We are all focusing on jobs. And the next thing they do
is go and schedule this vote on holding sitting attorney general in
contempt for the first time in American History.
I don`t think it is any coincidence that they scheduled this vote on
the day that we are all going to be talking about the Supreme Court and
healthcare. Because I think they realize, this is completely off message
with that they should be talking about right now.
SHARPTON: Well, you all, I think I will be talking about both.
But, let me ask you this, Dana. How do you, in any way justify the
fact that if the chairman of the committee, Mr. Issa, who has been the main
lead on this, admits that the attorney general may not have and probably
did know about this. And this is not about the document they are
questioning has nothing to do with the program on the death of the ATF
agent, then how could we be talking about holding the attorney general of
the United States in contempt tomorrow, something that there has never
happen in history when he admits the man maybe didn`t know about and the
documents in question have nothing to do with the death of this man as well
as the program when you got everybody running around saying, don`t you care
about the death of the man when obviously, all of us do.
MILBANK: Right. And now, there are questions being raised in the
press about whether the program itself was all of the evil things that it
was thought in the first place.
But look. the one thing, the Republican I supposed can say is that,
there is nothing is going to come of this contempt vote anyways, so they
can go out and have this spectacle tomorrow. And of course, Eric Holder`s
justice department is not going to prosecute Eric Holder for being in
contempt of Congress. If we are going to hold people in contempt of
Congress, there would be tens of millions of Americans who have they have
to lock up for that.
But that`s perhaps not the best excuse for holding this spectacle in
the first place.
SHARPTON: Well, Congressman Schiff and Dana, I want you to hold it
right there in a minute. You mentioned it is up on the press about the
whole program. So I want to bring in now and talk to someone who wrote a
stunning new report, and I mean stunning. From Fortune magazine, that
calls into question virtually everything Republicans have been saying about
fast and furious.
Now, this article is a result of a six-month investigation. And it
concludes that the right-wing version of the case is quote, "replete with
distortion, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies," end of
In fact Fortunes says, the central premise of Issa`s investigation
that ATF agents under fast and furious deliberately let guns go across the
border is a myth.
Fortune article says quote, "They insist they never purposefully
allowed guns to be illegally trafficked. They seized weapons whenever they
could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them
at every turn."
Joining me now is the Fortune contributor who wrote this piece,
Thank you for you, being here, and congratulations on this article.
KATHERINE EBAN, CONTRIBUTOR, FORTUNE MAGAZINE: Thanks for having me.
Pleasure to be here.
SHARPTON: Now, first, what was fast and furious if it wasn`t some
program to go and let the bad guys` walk? Of course, the border would
gone. Because that`s what the American public has been led to believed.
And after, we - you are exhausting report, you`re saying that wasn`t even
what the program was?
EBAN: Right. People keep calling it a program. In fact, it was a
single investigation into a group of straw purchasers, basically, 18-year-
old kids who were put out by the Sinaloa (ph) cartel in Phoenix Arizona
because they had criminal records to go in and buy as many weapons as they
ATF was watching this straw purchasers. ATF never provided weapons.
They never promoted the sale of the weapons. They had no doubt that they
were straw purchasers and that the guns were going to be used in illegal
activity. But their single challenge was, how, under the laws, could they
And they were continuously told by prosecutors really at every turn
that they didn`t have probable cause to go ahead and cease the weapons --
SHARPTON: They were observing the sales and purchases. They were not
part of it.
EBAN: They were not part of it. And that has been something that has
been mistakenly reported now for a long time. They were never part of it
in the fast and furious case. There was no effort to get more guns to the
straw purchasers. The effort was to stop them but the question was how.
SHARPTON: Now, the Republicans claim ATF agents deliberately let over
2,000 guns walk as a result of fast and furious. Is that not true?
EBAN: That is not accurate. Agents in the course of their
investigation and through shoe leather work identified 2,045 guns that
their suspects had purchased. They entered these guns and the serial
numbers into a suspect gun data base.
But the fact of the matter is 75 percent of the guns in that data
base, they never shriveled. They didn`t know about until after the fact.
Hundred eighty three of those guns, their suspects had purchased before the
investigation even began.
EBAN: It was their diligence that led them to enter the over 2,000
serial numbers into the data base. But now Congress is saying that`s the
number of guns they walked or lost track of. That simply is not true.
SHARPTON: John Dodson, who testified before the committee was a
whistle blower in the Fernandez case. In fact, your article says he in
fact was one of the solid appoints of selling of actually being involved in
gun walking himself. He sold six AK Draco pistols to suspected gun
traffickers, went on vacation without recovering the guns. Guns were never
found, suspect was never charged.
Now, how significant is that?
EBAN: Well, it`s significant because Dodson and several other agents
he was allied with who had a tremendous grudge against their supervisor
holds up as proof that guns were walked.
An e-mail sent by their supervisor saying we`re having friction in our
group. Says nothing about gun-walking. One month after he wrote that e-
mail, Dodson actually pitches, proposes a plan to walk guns in a completely
separate investigation. Both rejected his request. Dodson pushes. Both,
submitted that up to a supervisor. He finally gets approval.
But, in all of group seven, John Dodson who is Representative Issa`s
chief whistle blower is the only agent who actually used taxpayer funds,
purchased guns, and put them into the hands of a suspected trafficker.
SHARPTON: So the main witness, the main whistle blower of what ATF
agents were doing, John Dodson, was the only one that actually did this.
EBAN: That is correct. And, you know, whatever your definition of
gun-walking and there have been so many in the course of this
investigation, that is really the most egregious example that he procured
the gun and put them into the hands of the trafficker. There is no other
example of Phoenix group seven of that occurring.
SHARPTON: So the attorney general of the United States for the first
time in history is facing contempt. Largely based on the word of one of
the witnesses. This witness who in fact is the only one that participated
in the sale.
So, tell us. You`ve done six months investigating this. "Fortune"
magazine. What`s the bottom line the American people should know from your
EBAN: The bottom line is the ATF agents in question did everything
they could to seize guns and basically prosecutors determined that they
didn`t have grounds under the laws as written to seize most of the guns
that wound up flowing ultimately to criminals. That is a far cry from guns
You know, the fact of the matter is the agents and the prosecutors say
they were following the laws as written. So you could argue with the laws.
But it`s not a question of throwing the laws aside. That is not what
occurred nor is it the case there was actually a tactical plan to walk guns
which is a claim that has become fact.
SHARPTON: Thank you so much for being with us tonight.
Let me go back to you Congressman Schiff. You heard what she has said
after her investigation. If her investigation is true and "Fortune"
magazine has printed it, why are we so far away from the truth and why is
the American public led to believe there was this gun-walking operation
when in fact it was not. I mean, how could this possibly happen and why
are we on the verge of the attorney general in contempt?
SCHIFF: If those facts are correct, the reason they haven`t come to
the surface until now is that`s not really been the focus of the government
reforms investigation. They haven`t really been interested in how did guns
so-called walk across the border, who`s responsible, how did this idea come
about, or did the idea in fact come about which has been popularly
I think the way in addition to this reporter`s diligent work that
we`re going to get though bottom of this is not through committee work
which is, you know, right now political and partisan in nature, but through
the inspector general investigation that the attorney general himself got
I would imagine the I.G. is looking into exactly the issues that have
been raised today in your program. And that is what were the origins, what
would the agents trying to do? Was this is problem of not having probable
cause to arrest or was this is problem I`ve been working on which even if
you make the arrests are there charges to bring them to justice or to get
them to roll over on higher ups in the cartels? The penalties on these
straw purchases are wholly inadequate. And many prosecutors may simply not
want to bring charges against straw purchasers because they can`t get much
of a sentence and they can`t get much cooperation.
SHARPTON: All right. Congressman, we have to hold it there.
Thank you, Congressman Schiff.
Dana Milbank and Katherine Eban of Fortune Magazine, thank you for
your time this evening. We will be right back.
SHARPTON: The Republican Congress may vote to hold the attorney
general in context. Why? I`ll ask Republican congressman John Mica, next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with more on what`s behind the efforts to hold
attorney general Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. Some Republicans
have a theory on the reason for the fast and furious gun-walking program.
Earlier this month, Florida congressman John Mica explained it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN MICA (R-FL), OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM: People forget
how all this started. This administration is a gun control administration.
They tried to put the violence in Mexico on the United States. So they
concocted this scheme sending our federal agents sending guns down there
and trying to cook some little deal to say we`ve got to get more guns under
control. That`s how all this started.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The fast and furious program was concocted to get more gun
control in the United States. It`s an interesting theory. Do you buy it?
Joining me now is that Congressman John Mica, Republican of Florida.
Congressman first of all, thanks you very much for coming on the show
MICA: Good to be with you and good to talk about an important topic
SHARPTON: Fine. Now, we just played a piece of your interview.
SHARPTON: Do you believe the Obama administration was actually hoping
for gun violence?
MICA: No. I think that they were trying to find a way to impose more
restrictions and gun control in the United States. And blame, again, the
violence on drug trafficking and the murders that were taking place in
Mexico on arms from the United States entering Mexico.
SHARPTON: So you believe that they concocted this program to have
guns going to Mexico so something could happen that they could then come in
and deal more with gun control?
MICA: Absolutely. That was the purpose of it. Am and the whole
thing became terribly botched. They lost control of the guns. This is the
department of justice using hard earned taxpayer money to buy weapons and
then supplies them to drug dealers and murderers in Mexico. It`s
unbelievable. And then losing track of the weapons.
SHARPTON: Now, that is why the committee has started the
investigation into this program?
MICA: Absolutely. Well, again, when you have a federal agent, first
again you`ve got to go back February 4th of 2011. Department of justice
denied any knowledge of the program in a letter to us and we actually know
that they tried to cover this up because they knew that we knew. And
actually could have come clean as early as March.
There was an e-mail the we intercepted that said that they were
involved and they should let us know. But instead of doing that, they went
nearly 11 months and stone walled the committee not providing information.
Then, when we did --
SHARPTON: But you are aware today, Congressman, that your chairman
said today that Mr. Holder, the attorney general didn`t know about it.
MICA: Well, he may or may not. Again, --
SHARPTON: But he`s the one you`re talking about holding in contempt.
MICA: Well again, we don`t know all the facts. And what we`ve asked
for are the documents. We`ve gotten about seven or eight percent of the
documents we`ve identified. But there`s no way to make a determination.
Maybe Mr. Holder is innocent.
SHARPTON: Well, then why are you trying to hold him in contempt if he
may be innocent?
MICA: Because he is in contempt. He`s in contempt of not providing
us with the documents. We are a legitimate investigative committee in
congress. We`re responsible for overseeing taxpayer money. And we`re
responsible for the agency like the department of justice. And all we want
is information about a program that went horribly wrong with an agent
killed with weapons supplied by the department of justice.
SHARPTON: I want to get to that because there`s a published report
saying the weapons weren`t provided by the government. But let me - before
I get to that, you`re asking for -- the oversight committee says that the
scent of the contempt vote, that you basically have been refused documents
that started February 4th.
And you just said maybe the attorney general didn`t know about the
program. Your chairman said day he probably didn`t know. So therefore, he
had no motive to personally hold back documents that could have implicated
him if he didn`t know them. So, maybe when he said --
MICA: You`re talking somewhat in circles.
SHARPTON: No. I think y`all are talking in circles. If you`re
saying he didn`t know yet he`s up for contempt. He certainly wouldn`t be
hiding something to protect himself. Maybe these things are very
MICA: He`s in contempt. Period. It`s that simple.
SHARPTON: You`re admitting he doesn`t have a personal reason to be
hiding them. If he didn`t know.
MICA: Wait. I didn`t admit he didn`t have a personal reason to be
hiding them. I don`t know that. What I`m trying to do is for the
committee, ensure that we get the documents. That we owe people
accountable. Someone is responsible for first developing this program.
Someone is responsible for not overseeing this program. Someone is
responsible for the weapons that were used to kill an agent and 200 other
SHARPTON: All right. Let`s go back to that. I agree with that.
Then, if we`re concerned about the program, have you heard of operation
wide receiver where 450 guns walked in 2006?
MICA: It`s possible.
SHARPTON: Have you heard of it? Is it possible? Have you ever heard
of the program?
MICA: I don`t know. I don`t know much about it. I know there were
programs before -- but there`s never been a program where a man was killed.
SHARPTON: Sir, sir. Why don`t you just answer what I asked you. Did
you hear of the Hernandez case in 2007?
MICA: Again, I don`t know all the details.
SHARPTON: But you heard of it?
SHARPTON: So why didn`t -- if you think that this particular program
was developed in order to get rid of guns, why don`t you think operation
wide receiver which was the same type of program, why wasn`t that concocted
by Bush to get rid of guns here? Or the Hernandez case? Or the Mendrano
I mean, why all of a sudden would you start with this fast and furious
when you had program under Mr. Bush unless you`re saying Mr. Bush was also
conspiring against the guns n this country?
MICA: Well, the big difference is the Bush -- all of the Bush
activity that you described were handled in an orderly fashion.
SHARPTON: How do you know that? You have not called them before your
committee. How do you know that? You just said you don`t even know about
I them. You said you had heard of them.
MICA: First of all, no one was killed.
SHARPTON: You said you don`t know much about them. How do you now
know they were done orderly?
MICA: Because we do not have reports of anyone being killed or maimed
in those programs. What we were trying to do is track guns. That`s been
done many times. No one`s ever blown it so badly as to have these guns --
SHARPTON: Congressman, with all due respect --
MICA: Most guns we find are in Mexico but they are in the United
SHARPTON: If you are investigating whether some government -- the
justice department concocted something to go against guns. Then why aren`t
you investigating all of the programs since they started to see if they
were concocted? Or are you only trying to sell a conspiracy theory on this
administration and this attorney general?
MICA: Well, because none of them had the consequences of this where a
federal agent was killed, several hundred others were killed. And again,
they lost track of the --
SHARPTON: But no one -- no one argues that -
SHARPTON: You`re saying this was concocted around gun control. And
if it was concocted, then the three programs that were identical ahead of
it could have been concocted. But you`ve not called one of those officials
in front of your committee.
MICA: Because no one was killed. We have law enforcement exercises
in which guns and weapons and sometimes even drugs are transmitted in the
trafficking network so that we can capture people. But I don`t know of any
of the instances you`ve cited or that we have seen that has resulted in --
SHARPTON: How could you see it if you never called it in front of
your committee? You started by saying you know very little about the
committee. And it`s amazing how you got to know more and more as we
Congressman John Mica, thank you for your time tonight.
MICA: And I certainly know more than what you`re providing your
viewers. Thank you.
SHARPTON: Oh, I`m asking you questions. I think you`re the one
that`s providing my viewers of what to think about tonight. Thank you very
MICA: Your questions are just going in circles and not dealing with
SHARPTON: Yes. That`s right. We`re circling the wagons around how
very suspicious your selection of witnesses has been. Thank you very much.
MICA: You should get the information and conducted investigation.
SHARPTON: I think we should.
MICA: Thank you. Good to be with you.
SHARPTON: I think we should. And I think that clearly we should
investigate all the way back, all of the programs and see if your
conspiracy theory has any merit not only now but all the way back. I
think we should also investigate the "Fortune" magazine story that says
none of this was sold by federal government agents. And I also think we
ought to investigate why if your chairman has said that the Attorney
General had no knowledge of this, why he`s up for contempt tomorrow because
he certainly wouldn`t have a motive.
MICA: Because he did not supply us with the documents. And he will
be held in contempt. Because he did not cooperate with an investigative
committee of Congress. Thank you. Good to be with you.
SHARPTON: About a conspiracy theory that they did all of this to
concoct to fight the NRA and you that are pro-guns. All of this was put
down. But George Bush who did the same programs had nothing to do with
that kind of conspiracy.
MICA: And people were not killed.
SHARPTON: We don`t know what happened. You have not called them
before the committee. You`re not familiar, you don`t know.
MICA: Well, again, we know again the death that took place here, the
loss of keeping track of the weapons. That was not the case in the other
SHARPTON: You said you didn`t know much about it. Any number of
things could happen. Inquiring minds want to know. You should have called
them in front of the committee.
MICA: Well, it`s good attempt to try to blur the issue tonight. But
I`m afraid you haven`t succeeded. Good to be with you and thank you.
SHARPTON: Good to have you with us. And I`m sure we`ll continue
watching this. Thank you very much.
Willard Romney arrived in a town still recovering from Bain Capital
takeover. The same day we get evidence the Bain attacks are working all.
Plus, the coordinated corporate-backed effort to suppress votes hits
New Hampshire, Texas, Iowa, and Florida. Why we must fight their
SHARPTON: Welcome back. Today, Mitt Romney was selling his vision
for the economy in sterling, Virginia. A town that was once home to a
factory and a company partially owned by Bain Capital. The company called
DDI Corp. Filed bankruptcy in 2003 after firing 460 workers at the
factory. Its stories like that that are giving the Obama campaign a
major opening in this election. Tough ads are now running in swing states
like Virginia and Ohio. Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNOUNCER: Day one, President Romney stands up to China.
But would he? The Washington Post has just revealed that Romney`s
companies were pioneers in shipping U.S. jobs overseas.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Last week alone, the Obama campaign spent more than $1.5
million in ads in Ohio alone and it`s paying off. A new Quinnipiac poll
shows President Obama leading Romney in Ohio 47 percent to 38 percent. And
an NBC poll shows him leading Romney by eight points in the nation`s
Joining me now is Ana Marie Cox, Washington correspondent for "The
Guardian" and retired U.S. army captain Wes Moore. He`s bestselling author
of the book, "The Other Wes Moore." Thank you both for being here.
WES MOORE, AUTHOR, "THE OTHER WES MOORE": Thank you, Rev.
SHARPTON: Wes, let`s start with you. Are the Bain attacks working in
the Rust Belt swing states like Ohio?
MOORE: The attacks are definitely working. But more important than
the Bain attacks, one thing the people understanding is, this isn`t about
an attack on Mitt Romney`s business record per say. This is attack on the
fact that he is claiming that his businesses that he run, somehow created
jobs. And all that`s happening right now, is people are understanding,
there is a difference between being an investor and actually creating jobs
and actually creating businesses that actually accelerate job growth.
That`s where Mitt Romney is finding this extraordinary disconnect between
his rhetoric and actually what happened in terms of the record that
actually puts forward.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you though, Ana Marie. The Vice President
was in Iowa today, it was marking Romney`s campaign, his campaign
outsourcing and off-shoring argument that they`ve been using. Let me show
you what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VICE PRES. BILL CLINTON (D), UNITED STATES: If you`re looking for
work, that`s a pretty cruel joke. I can picture one guy in my old
neighborhood standing next to another guy in the unemployment line and
saying, hey, John, did you get off-shored or outsourced? Which happened to
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Ana Marie, how do you respond to this kind of attack by the
ANA MARIE COX, CORRESPONDENT, "THE GUARDIAN": It`s very clever. And
of course for the people standing in line for a job, it really doesn`t
matter if you were off-shore or outsource. It also really doesn`t matter
to them whether or not Mitt Romney was a successful businessman. I mean, I
think everyone can agree that he was. The skills that make you a
successful businessman make you a successful president. Or the skills that
make you a successful businessman make you someone who has able to create
jobs for more Americans.
I mean, clearly he created more jobs. He just didn`t necessarily
create them here. So, I mean, that`s the thing that voters are having to
look at. And I think it`s really smart to let the Vice President make this
argument and let the voters see for themselves what`s happening for here.
It`s impossible to villainize someone who was just doing the best he can
which is what Romney was doing. But you can`t say, look at what he did.
The best he could do was to give jobs away overseas.
MOORE: I mean, and I`ll say, I think you know, the challenge though
is that the idea of the best he can do. People understand that, you know,
in order to grow, in order to have growth and actually revenue inside the
company. That if adjustments have to be made, that`s one thing. The
difference is, when you start making the baseline of your campaign that
you`re a job creator.
MOORE: So, the problem isn`t even necessarily the record. The
problem is the rhetoric that he`s putting behind the record.
SHARPTON: And he projected this. He`s the one that said, I`m a job
creator. Look at my record at Bain. No one brought it.
MOORE: I think they did not introduce that.
MOORE: Mitt Romney introduced that.
SHARPTON: Now, the fact is that, as he had continued to begin to be
examined and these areas are raised by the President, and Vice President,
it seemed to have been taken impact. His favorables are down six points
from May. He`s down to 30 percent favorable. And he`s up five points in
his unfavorables to 41 percent. That`s a problem Wes.
MOORE: Well, I think what`s happening is, you know, the President`s
strategy, and the President`s strategy, the President`s team was tried to
define Mitt Romney before he has a chance to define himself. And so, by
talking about things like his business record, by talking about things like
what he would have done to Detroit. Had he been the commander in chief?
By being able to bring these things to the American people, that`s the way
to bring the negatives up before Mitt Romney even has a chance to defend
himself. And so, I think the strategy that they`re putting in place we`re
seeing by these poll numbers are working pretty effectively.
SHARPTON: All right. I want to turn to another big issue in some
battle ground states. Immigration. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court
struck down most of Arizona`s anti-immigration law. A big setback for a
conservatives pushing a state`s rights agenda.
Ana Marie, you wrote a column saying, quote, "Arizona`s law wasn`t
about filling in where federal government wasn`t." The Arizona law
attempted to go beyond the authority of the federal government. Now, how
will this ruling effect the political debate in 2012 and for that matter
COX: Well, you know, it`s interesting. Because if you look at the
polling on this issue, Americans are, they are just sharply divided. But
what you see is people who strongly agree being like the first category.
And then very, very short after that in polling being strongly disagree.
And then we sort to get into details of the law. It turns out, people
really are compassionate about immigration. People understand how
difficult is to get in the country. It`s turning that into law and turning
that into things that people can sort of understand that is difficult.
I think what a lot of people don`t understand is that the changes that
the President is making and even the changes the Arizona law aren`t going
to effect a mass number of people that are trying to get in the U.S.
Something like eight million people a year try to get into the U.S. There
are 11 million illegals in the U.S. The debate that we`re having about
police stopping people in cars, about whether or not young people can stay
in the country is kind of just rhetoric. It`s just politics. Although it
is very helpful to find someone as a candidate like Mitt Romney who can`t
even really speak to the human aspects of it much less lay out his actual
policy on it.
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to hold it there. Ana Marie Cox and Wes
Moore. Thank you both for your time tonight.
SHARPTON: Ahead, the corporate-backed republican effort to block the
vote is in full swing all over the country. But today, the fight is on.
SHARPTON: Folks, have you joined the POLITICS NATION conversation on
Facebook? We`d like to have you join us. Please do.
SHARPTON: Ahead, we have big news on blocking the vote from New
Hampshire, to Florida, to Iowa. The efforts to make it harder for folks to
vote are in full swing. What they`re doing and how can we fix it? That`s
SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION. With big news and the
corporate-backed republican effort to suppress the vote. Today in New
Hampshire, the republican-controlled legislature voted to override Governor
Lynch`s veto of photo ID bills. And in the crucial swing state of Florida,
a federal judge rejected the Justice Department`s request to stop Rick
Scott`s voter purge.
A lawyer says, the purge may now continue. But Democrats are stepping
up to fight. President Obama is prepping thousands of lawyers. More than
ever before for the coming election. Folks, they are relentless, which is
why we must be vigilant and why we must keep eyes open. And keep fighting.
Joining me now is Ion Sancho, supervisor of elections for Leon County
in Florida. And Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of the Advancement
Project, an advocacy group that filed a separate lawsuit against the
Florida voter purge. Thanks to both of you for joining me tonight.
JUDITH BROWNE-DIANIS, CO-DIR., ADVANCEMENT PROJECT: Thanks Reverend
ION SANCHO, LEON COUNTY SUPERVISOR OF ELECTIONS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ion, let me start with you. A lawyer for the election
officials say that the purge in Florida may continue. What do you make of
SANCHO: Well, it may continue, but quite frankly, I think that there
won`t be a purge in the State of Florida. One of the prongs that the judge
used in denying the federal government`s request for injunction Reverend
was the fact that since the state had stopped pushing it, the federal
government couldn`t prove irreparable harm which was a critical element to
get an injunction. Because basically 64 out of the 67 counties in the
state of Florida have simply stopped purging and pursuing this program.
And the state in its response today said it can -- it was not going to
pursue the purge. Which is sort of curious because in some sense the
federal judge is saying a purge can continue, but the State of Florida
saying, we`re not going to do it. And in terms of practical matter, the
supervisor of elections aren`t going to pursue this because the election is
just too close at this point. Absentee ballots have to be in the mail
within a week. The election is here for all practical purposes in Florida.
SHARPTON: So, when the lawyer says that the purge can continue, he
may be technically right, but you`re saying the supervisors have to get
ready for the election. And you`re saying the state itself are saying
they`re not going to move forward with this. So, in effect this has
successfully stopped a purge that many of us feel is unfair.
SANCHO: Well, the purge has stopped. But I think if you look back
over what`s happened, the Governor has emerged with a -- I think, a win/win
situation for him. Because he`s energized his Tea Party base who believes
that, for example, that Obama stole the election in 2008 to begin with.
And there are all of these dead people and illegals on the voting rolls
which you and I both know is a complete falsehood. But he`s gotten away
with that in the press here in Florida. And he doesn`t need to have an
act to a purge. He`s already intimidated and frightened many voters who
are now concerned over whether their votes will count this November.
SHARPTON: Judith, can you believe that some conservatives in Florida
thinks Obama stole an election in 2008. But let me ask you. You filed a
separate lawsuit. How do you view all this in Florida and how do you view
the override of the voter ID veto by the governor in New Hampshire?
DIANIS: That`s right. Well, Reverend Sharpton, Advancement Project
lawsuit is still around. And we`re going to continue to fight this.
Because we have to be vigilant. We actually were disappointed by the
outcome of this particular lawsuit by the Department of Justice. Because
it actually does give the governor the green light to move forward on
continuing to compile a list that targets particular voters. We know that
that list, you are least likely to be on that list if you were white and
And so, he`s not got the green light to continue to undermine
democracy. And so, we`re not really sure that as Ion Sancho is that he`s
not going to move forward. And in fact, there are two particular counties
that we`ve been hearing that they`re continuing to move forward with this
purge. But really important is that we have to put this in the context of
what is happening across the country. What happened in Pennsylvania with
the majority leader saying that in fact, I mean, he exposed the whole plan.
I mean, if Americans don`t understand what`s going on yet, they should have
understood it yesterday when they heard those comments by the majority
leader in Pennsylvania who said, now Mitt Romney can win because in fact,
we have put voter ID in place.
SHARPTON: He said, he will win because of voter ID.
DIANIS: That`s right.
SHARPTON: I played the actual tape last night. And that`s why many
of us are out here fighting. But we had one victory today for those of us
that against these laws. In North Carolina, they failed to move in terms
of an override in that state. So, that`s one bright.
DIANIS: And look how many times they tried in North Carolina. And
that`s what this is about. It`s relentless. It is a relentless effort to
suppress the vote.
SHARPTON: I`ve got to go. Ion Sancho and Judith Browne-Dianis,
thanks for your time tonight.
DIANIS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: And I want people to know, we must -- I don`t care what
your party, what your belief -- we must protect the vote. All these voter
suppression schemes, we must all be against. I don`t care how you vote but
I care that you have the right to vote. With no impediments and no
games. This is what people gave their lives for. We cannot let it be
turned around now.
Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right
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