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PoliticsNation, Friday, July 6, 2012

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Guests: Jen Stickles, Bob Shrum, Karen Finney, Stephanie Miller, Hilda Solis, Ted Strickland, Cynthia Tucker, Bob Franken

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m Al
Sharpton. Live from New Orleans where I`m speaking on voting rights at the
essence music festival.

Tonight`s lead, building a stronger middle class. President Obama wrapped
up his week with a Midwest bus tour and a new bill to create jobs, talking
about the progress we`ve made in this recovery and the need to press ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We started to see
manufacturing come back to our shores. More manufacturing jobs created
than any time since the 1990s. Over 4.4 million jobs created over the last
two and a half years. Over 500,000 manufacturing jobs. So we`ve been
fighting back, but what we all understand is that we`ve got so much more to
do. Too many of our friends and family members and neighbors are still out
of work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president`s been fighting to get Americans back to work.
And Republicans have been fighting him every step of the way. Last year he
unveiled the American jobs act to save or create 400,000 education jobs.
Republicans blocked it. And today we can see the result. About 100,000
fewer teaching jobs across the country. The president proposed saving
thousands of firefighter and police jobs. Republicans made sure it went
nowhere with Mitt Romney leading the charge.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He wants another stimulus. He
says we need more firemen, policemen, teachers. It`s time to cut back on
government and help the American people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And the president has been pushing a plan to rebuild the
nation`s infrastructure. On that score, he`s breaking through. Within the
past hour President Obama signed a crucial highway bill into law. A law
passed after months of delay from house Republicans. It will save or
create about three million jobs helping to rebuild America`s roads and
bridges. President Obama calls on Republicans to help him keep the foot on
the gas pedal and take more steps to rev up the economic engine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: My message to Congress is what I`ve been saying for months now.
Let`s keep going. Let`s keep moving forward. Let`s keep finding ways to
work together to grow the economy and to help put more folks back to work.
There`s no excuse for inaction when there`s so many Americans still trying
to get back on their feet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Hilda Solis, the secretary of labor. And
former governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland, who was with the president on his
bus tour yesterday.

Thanks for joining me.

HILDA SOLIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR: Great to be here.

TED STRICKLAND (D), FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: It`s great to be here with you,
Hilda.

SOLIS: Good to see you, too, Governor.

SHARPTON: Now, let me start with you, secretary Solis. How important is
this highway bill the president just signed, how important is this for the
economy?

SOLIS: Well, it`s a good signal to the public. Because for the first time
in a long time you see the Congress working with the White House, with the
president and with all energy and effort focused on job creation. It took
a lot of work. The president went out and talked to the public about it.
And now, we`re going to see hopefully a million private sector jobs
created. And then at least two million that will help keep people employed
during that time.

But more importantly, this is a good signal. You know, we`re on a good
trajectory. We are adding job. What I think about on these days is, are
we above the line? And that`s important. We added 80,000 jobs in the June
job report. But overall, 28 months, 4.4 million private sector jobs. And
the president just said it, in less three years he`s already done this.

SHARPTON: I want you to hold that point a minute, because 80,000 jobs
added in the June numbers. Wish it could have been more but it`s addition.
Twenty eight straight months of private sector job growth, 4.4 million jobs
add in the that period, yet the opponent is saying it`s like a punch in the
gut when we see a continual pattern of job growth trying to come back from
this recession. Seems like it`s not fast enough to him, secretary Solis.

But we found a tape. In 2006 then-governor Mitt Romney was argued he
inherited a bad economy in Massachusetts. And that his critics had to give
him a longer time to turn things around. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: You guys are right to look at the numbers. I came in and the jobs
had been falling off a cliff. I came in and they kept falling for 11
months. Then we turned around and we`re coming back. And that`s progress.
And if you`re going to suggest to me that somehow when I was elected
immediately the jobs should turn around, that would be silly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Somehow jobs should have turned around the day he elected, that
would have been silly. Jobs was going down and then they went up for them
in Massachusetts. But when that logic is applied to the work of President
Obama and you, it seems like it`s not silly anymore. Could it be politics,
secretary Solis?

SOLIS: Well, all I can tell you, again, numbers don`t lie. As former
president Reagan used to say. Numbers don`t lie. We`ve added 500,000
manufacturing jobs. In fact, whose the one that helped to save the
automobile industry, when Romney said let it go bankrupt. This president
understands. He`s making his investments in the American workforce.
Because they`re resilient and they are ready to go to work. And we need to
be right there to help them make that transition. And we`re going to work
every single day to make sure that happens.

SHARPTON: Now, governor Strickland, I was reading and watching a wise man.
Let me read to you what he said about the president. He said President
Obama is betting on America and American workers and Mitt Romney is betting
his resources in the Cayman Islands, in Bermuda, in Switzerland and god
only knows where else.

President Obama is the insourcer of jobs and Mitt Romney is the outsourcer
of jobs. That wise man was you, governor Strickland, introducing the
president yesterday. Would you care to elaborate?

STRICKLAND: Well, Reverend Al, I mean, you know we have two men who want
to be the next president. And one of them, our president, our current
president, has worked to build the middle class. He`s brought us out of
this deep, deep recession and we`re moving forward.

And on the other hand we have Mitt Romney. A man who made great wealth as
a result of the privileges that he had of living in this country. And what
did he do with his wealth? Well, we don`t know everything he did with his
wealth because he refuses to release his income tax returns.

But we do know he took part of his wealth and he invested that wealth in
the Cayman Islands, a recognized tax haven. He opened up a bank account in
Switzerland. He established a corporation in Bermuda. He went to south
America when he formed Bain Capital and he got money from shadowing
investors. Some of them anonymous that we don`t know who they were. And
now he wants to be the president. And he says I`m the one who is worthy of
leading this country because of my business experience. And I say give me
a break. What is Mitt Romney hiding from the American people?

Reverend Al, why isn`t he releasing his income tax returns? His father
released 12 years of income tax returns when he ran for president. And
Mitt Romney has released only one year. And we need to know more about
this man`s business dealings. And he wants to be the president.

The president has an obligation, I believe, to be candid and transparent
and open with the American people. Someone said rightly that Mitt Romney
is the most secretive American politician since Richard Nixon. And when it
comes to his finances and his wealth, I think that`s absolutely the case.

SHARPTON: Now, secretary Solis, when we deal with the fact that we`re
trying to deal with coming out of a recession that`s actually and clearly
hurt a lot of families and is a burden on the middle class it has caused a
lot of pain. But we must also remember how we got in this position and the
policies that brought us here. President Obama urged people today to
remember how we got into this mess in the first place. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They`re banking on the notion that you don`t remember. What
happened when they were in charge. The last time they were in charge in
the White House and how surpluses became deficits and how job growth was
more sluggish than it`s been in 50 years.

I`ve got a different idea. And let me be honest. It`s not a silver
bullet. It`s not going to change things completely in the next day or the
next week, but it moves us in a direction that is true to our traditions by
building not from the top down but from the middle class out.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Secretary Solis, it seems that it`s not falling on deaf
ears because just last month a Gallup poll finds 68 percent of people poll
do blamed his predecessor, President Bush, for the economy.

But tell us quickly in your own words, when you came in and took over the
labor department and had to deal with this economic disaster and create
jobs, what was it like? What were you faced with coming to work the first
day to deal with this?

SOLIS: Reverend, it was a very hard task. And we continue to plow through
it. But remember when the president took over in 2009, we were
hemorrhaging jobs like 800,000 jobs per month. And I can tell you that now
we have been adding jobs. In the last 28 months we put back 4.4 million
private sector jobs. We lost eight million coming in. That was before the
president could actually even enact a recovery program. And we didn`t have
support from people on the other side of the aisle, unfortunately.

But that`s not what this is about. It`s about helping to lift all people,
making sure they have access to good job training. To the tools, to tax
credits for small businesses because that`s where the engine of growth is
and helping our returning veterans. That`s what counts here. That`s
what`s at stake here.

That`s why there`s a big difference between what President Obama wants to
do and the Romney folks. Romney would like us to go back to another
chapter in life when that didn`t prove well for us.

Right now we have a different economy and we have to be very focused and
strategic. And this president is doing everything in his power to do that.
But we also need the help of Congress. And that`s really where the
president does a good job. He can appeal to the public. The public has
the final say so. They can help influence what Congress does.

SHARPTON: Governor Strickland, the president ended the week in a bus tour
through the heartland. Is his message resonating in the heartland of
America?

STRICKLAND: I think so. We had a wonderful yesterday in Ohio. And he had
a good day in Pennsylvania today. People understand this is a good man who
truly cares about them. And he`s working his heart out. He`s a real human
being. He understands the struggles, Reverend Al, of ordinary people.

I`m not sure Mitt Romney has the capacity to really understand the
struggles of regular Americans. Mitt Romney has great wealth, and that`s,
you know, that`s to his credit, I guess. But how did he get that wealth
and what is he doing with it?

And, you know, Reverend Al, he has signed on to this Paul Ryan budget which
would damage Medicare, make it a voucher program with cut fund for Pell
grants for our students. I mean, those are the programs that benefit the
middle class. And Mitt Romney wants to take us in a different direction.
Well, he wants to take us backward, quite frankly. I mean, the president
was right.

The only thing Mitt Romney is proposing is more of what George Bush did
only as Bill Clinton said, he wants to do it on steroids.

SHARPTON: We`ll have to leave it there, governor.

Thank you so much, secretary Hilda Solis, governor Ted Strickland.

Thank you both for your time tonight. And both of you, have a great
weekend.

SOLIS: Thank you.

STRICKLAND: Thank you, sir.

SOLIS: Good to see you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the right`s curious response to the Mitt Romney jet
ski photo. Remember what conservatives were saying back when John Kerry
was out wind surfing?

Plus President Obama calls out Romney for abandoning his principles and
pandering to the far right.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Are you abandoning a principle you fought for, for six years simply
because you`re getting pressure for two days from Rush Limbaugh or critics
in Washington? Sometimes you`ve got to fight for things you believe in.
You can`t just switch on a dime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And the president`s emotional encounter with a woman who lost
her sister to cancer. And who`s now praising the affordable care act.
This law is about people, not politics. We`ll talk to her in an exclusive
interview live.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Up next, President Obama slams Mitt Romney for abandoning his
principles in order to appeal to the Rush Limbaughs of the right. That
story next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back on "Politics Nation" with the strings attached to
Willard Mitt Romney. He might be the one running for president, but his
conservatives behind the scenes are running the show. President Obama is
calling him out on it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: And the fact that is whole bunch of Republicans in Washington
suddenly said this is a tax, for six years he said it wasn`t. Now he`s
suddenly reversed himself. And so, the question becomes, are you doing
that because of politics? Are you abandoning the principle you fought for,
for six years simply because you`re getting pressure for two days from Rush
Limbaugh or some critics in Washington?

You know, one of the things you learn as president is that what you say
matters and your principles matter. And sometimes you`ve got to fight for
things you believe in. You can`t just switch on a dime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But switch on a dime is all Romney does. And never has it been
more clear than what`s happened with the great tax flip-flop this week.

For days conservative big wigs have been slamming Romney`s campaign team.
Rupert Murdoch called on him to drop friends and hire some quote, "Real
Pros". But what do you know? Today there are reports of changes at Romney
headquarters.

Joining me now is Bob Franken, King`s featured syndicated columnist and
Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist and now a
visiting professor of journalism at the University of Georgia. Thanks to
you both for being here.

BOB FRANKEN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Good to be here, Al.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, you see all these reports of shakeups within Romney`s
staff. Is this just another example of him conceding to conservative
critics or is this really a course to change his campaign?

FRANKEN: Well, I think it might also be finally his realizing that his
staff has not always served him well. We, of course, know about the famous
etch-a-sketch comment and we know about what you characterize as the flip-
flop on taxes and mandates. Actually, he`s been doing somersaults on that
for some time.

And you know, to some degree, his campaign has been defined by back
stepping, moon walking as I like to call it on occasion. But in the case
of the staff, let us not forget these are the same people who put him in a
66,000 seat stadium with about 300 people there to watch a speech of his.
I mean, that is just really a bone head blender.

So, the realization he needs to put professionals in didn`t come
necessarily from Rupert Murdoch or some of those people. It`s something
that should have occurred to him a long time ago.

SHARPTON: Now Cynthia, when you look at the fact that there are really
various examples. Some of which Bob just referred to that is giving him
this image. Then you have David Axelrod, the president`s main political
guru saying that the lack of principles are there. In fact, Axelrod
tweeted if tea party and congressional Republicans can pull Mitt`s chain
and get him to do 180 on the mandate he championed, imagine what they`d do
with him in the White House.

Those kind of attacks hurt if you`ve got some questionable behavior in your
campaign, Cynthia.

TUCKER: Well, it was interesting to listen to President Obama attack Mitt
Romney for abandoning his principles. Mitt Romney doesn`t have any
principles. He doesn`t have a core. He doesn`t have a center. There is
absolutely nothing that Mitt Romney believes in other than Mitt Romney and
trying to get Mitt Romney elected.

And, you know, Bob has a point that his campaign has made some strategic
missteps. But the fact of the matter is most of these missteps have been
caused by the candidate himself. The biggest problem isn`t the campaign or
the strategist. The biggest problem is the candidate. And it`s a little
late, I think, to give Romney an extreme makeover. He is who he is.

And in Massachusetts, he campaigned as a moderate to liberal Republican who
wanted a health care plan that taxed people who refused to buy health
insurance. He called it a tax. There is a long record of Mitt Romney
calling it a tax.

SHARPTON: Yes.

TUCKER: So it`s a little late for him to come out now and say oops, it
wasn`t a tax.

SHARPTON: Well, you know, Cob, when Cynthia says that the American people
seems to agree with that because they clearly don`t think he has much
backbone. Look at the latest Pew poll. Let me show you. Only 35 percent
says he`s willing to take an unpopular stand, only 34 percent say he takes
consistent position, only 32 percent believe he`s honest and truthful.
Those are not good numbers.

FRANKEN: Well, no. And I think there is a perception there that is fed
partly because of the way he presents himself. I mean, those who are
really harsh sometimes describe him as seeming like an avatar, sort of myth
headroom or something like that. As opposed to a person with feelings and
compassion and the principles we`re talking about. Probably that`s a
little bit unfair, but unfortunately, that seems to be the way he comes
across a lot of the times.

SHARPTON: Now, Cynthia, Romney`s also having to respond to critics who
says, he lacks vision and detailed plans. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I don`t say much to critics. I put out 59 steps for how to get
the economy going. And I don`t think I`ve seen any from the president that
show what he`s planning on doing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, his detailed plan - I mean, this is really ridiculous.
Because even "the Wall Street Journal" call his 59-point plans as one that
quote, "shrinks from the biggest issue." And by the way, the president has
a plan. It`s called the American jobs act, Cynthia.

TUCKER: Well, of course, the president has a plan. He`s talked about it
frequently. The simple fact of the matter is Republicans won`t help him
pass his plan. They hope to sabotage the economy to make it worse so the
president can`t get re-elected.

And of course Mitt Romney tries to stay away from this -- the details
because any details he commits to is probably going to anger somebody. He
doesn`t want to talk much about cutting the budget. He talks about -- he
claims that the president has run us into a huge deficit. But he doesn`t
want to talk about any cuts he`d make. Because he runs the risk of
angering some people who don`t want their programs cut. He talks about
cutting taxes. Well, taxes have already been low. And that hasn`t created
any jobs. And he certainly doesn`t want to talk about the economic
stimulus that we`d actually need to get the economy going again.

So you haven`t heard anything more about the 59 points since initially
mentioned a month back.

FRANKEN: First of all, the 59 points is a bit of self-confusions, really
just two points. Rich get richer, poor get poorer. That`s it. The Mitt
Romney plan.

SHARPTON: Yes. Bob Franken, Cynthia Tucker, thanks for your time tonight.
Both of you, have a great weekend.

FRANKEN: Thank you, Al.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, GOP leaders stand by and say nothing while
Republican lawmakers go off the rails. Is there any leadership left in the
GOP?

Plus, we`ll look at the right`s double standard when it comes to wealthy
men from Massachusetts going on vacation. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with our ongoing series "Here are the Jobs."
While too many Americans are still out of work, we`re dedicated to helping
you find the jobs that are out there and making sure you have the right
information to get hired.

Over the last six months, we`ve reported on more than 6,800 job
openings. We`re happy to report that as of today, at least 1,913 people
have been hired. Tonight we focus on Wegmans. The supermarket chain is
based in Rochester, New York, and is expanding throughout the northeast and
in the Mid-Atlantic states.

Right now they have 1,200 job openings. By the end of this year, the
company expects to start hiring for more than 1,600 new jobs at stores
opening in 2013.

Joining me now is Jen Stickles. Manager of staffing and recruitment
at Wegmans. Thank you for coming on the show tonight.

JEN STICKLES, MANAGER OF STAFFING AND RECRUITMENT: Thank you,
Reverend Sharpton. We`re honored and excited to be here to talk about the
great opportunities we have at Wegmans.

SHARTPON: Now, tell us, what are the positions you have available?

STICKLES: Sure. As you said, we have about currently 1200 positions
throughout our entire company. The majority are those positions are
throughout our stores in the six states that we do business. And the
positions that we`re looking for are customer service type positions and
the various departments that we have throughout our stores.

We`re also looking for great culinary talent. Because one of our
missions as a company is to help our customers make great meals easy. And
in order to do that, we need great culinary talent to help us continue to
bring that vision to life. So, we`re looking for customer service, cooks,
executive chefs throughout some of our stores. As well, in some locations,
we`re looking for some entry level management as well.

SHARPTON: Now, where are these jobs? You say they are in several
states. Where are the jobs?

STICKLES: Sure, sure. Right now we`re actually focusing on our
third opening this year in our stores in a town in Gambrills, Maryland
which is about ten miles outside of Annapolis. We have about 375 of those
1200 positions there hiring both full-time and part-time for our new store
there. We`re also still hiring at our distribution center in --
Pennsylvania where we just opened a third building on our campus there.

So, we`re hiring product selector roles there at our warehouse there.
Going into next year, we`ll be opening three stores in Germantown,
Maryland, in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania, and Newton, Massachusetts which
is not too far from Boston College. We`re also going to be opening our
second stand alone restaurant called Next Store (ph) Bar and Grill which is
going to be adjacent to our King of Prussia, Pennsylvania store location.

SHARPTON: What do you look for in a Wegmans employee? What do you
look for?

STICKLES: Reverend Sharpton, we are looking for enthusiastic,
passionate people who love food. I often say that we are a people company
that loves food. So we`re looking for individuals that have that passion,
that live our values, that want to learn and grow. And also give
incredible customer service to each other and to our customers every day.

SHARPTON: How do people apply for these jobs?

STICKLES: Very simple. Our website, www.wegmans.com/careers. A list
of our openings by location, by state all listed on our Web site.

SHARPTON: Jen Stickles, from Wegmans, thank you for joining us
tonight.

STICKLES: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: All right. And for more on "Here are the Jobs," go to our
Web site, politicsnation.msnbc.com and click on "Here are the Jobs."
You`ll find all the jobs featured on the show at that place. We`ll be
right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Lots of folks today are talking about Mitt Romney`s summer
vacation on his Jet Ski. But I want to start with what Republicans were
saying about John Kerry`s wind surfing back in 2004. Republicans used it
to portray him as an out of touch elitist. And it became material for
attack ads.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: In which direction would John Kerry lead? Kerry voted
for the Iraq war. Opposed it. Supported it. And now opposes it again.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Rush Limbaugh said it showed Kerry was a snob.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Kerry was going to go wind
surfing in Oregon to look like a real guy. Democrat candidates have to
pass the guy test. He`s a northeastern erudite effete snob liberal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Eight years later, another wealthy politician from
Massachusetts is being scrutinized for his time off the campaign trail.
But this time, the reaction from the right is very different.

Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham is blaming Romney`s aides for
the Jet Ski.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LAURA INGRAHAM, CONSERVATIVE RADIO HOST: I don`t even think this is
his fault. This is his advisers. This isn`t Romney. This is the advisers
telling him, no it`s fine, take the week. Should Romney call this
ceasefire or get out there on the trail and get off the Jet Ski?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And a Wall Street Journal editorial says, it`s just a pr
problem saying quote, the Obama campaign is assailing Mr. Romney as an out
of touch rich man and the rich man obliged by vacationing this week at his
lakeside home with a Jet Ski cameo. Today, Romney whose campaign has
criticized the President`s vacation defended his own time off this week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m delighted to be able to
take a vacation with my family. I think all Americans appreciate the
memories that they have with their children and their grandchildren. I
hope that more Americans are able to take vacations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Bob Shrum. He saw the wind surfing
attacks first hand when he was senior adviser for John Kerry`s 2004
campaign. And Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst and former
communications director for the Democratic National Committee. Thank you
both for joining me tonight.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Hey, Rev.

SHARPTON: Bob, let me start with you. What would conservatives be
saying about Romney`s Jet Ski vacation if he was a democrat?

SHRUM: Well, they`d be saying the kind of things they`ve said about
Kerry. But you have to understand, Reverend. When you look at that Kerry
ad, what hurt there was not the effete stuff Rush Limbaugh all of that.
What hurt was it gave a visual for another factually false, by the way,
statement about flip-flopping on the Iraq war.

At the end of the day, when you ask people on exit polls who cared
more about people like them, who fought harder for the middle class, Kerry
won that comparison against Bush. And that`s the heart of the Romney
problem here. JFK left his convention, went back to Hyena Sport, was seen
on his sailboat. Most Americans didn`t have big sailboats in 1960.
Franklin Roosevelt left his convention in 1932. Took a few days off on the
sand. And a yacht that went up the New England coast.

And people didn`t mind. And they didn`t mind because they thought
FDR and JFK cared about them, would stand for them, would fight for them.
They knew they were rich but they thought they were on their side.
Romney`s problem and the reason his vacation is a problem is because people
think he`s out of touch, disconnected, doesn`t care about them.

SHARPTON: Now, Karen, FOXNews.com used the Romney Jet Ski photo as
the picture of the day this week. With a positive headline. Romney
recharges. And then FOX and Friends hosts were applauding Romney`s jet
skiing as an escape from the kids. Watch this. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He`s in the back of the bus. In the front of the
bus is Ann Romney. And then they are speeding away. They have not stopped
yet. They`re leaving the family. Too many screaming kids. That`s what
happens when you go on vacation.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It looks like she`s gunning it. Mitt`s holding
on for dear life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, you contrast that with President Obama in Ohio today
where he started talking and remembering vacations he took as a youngster.
Listen to this Karen and tell me the contrast.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Best vacation I had when I
was a kid, was we -- my grandmother and my mom and my sister, we traveled
around the country on greyhound buses and on trains and we stayed at Howard
Johnsons. If there was any kind of swimming pool, it didn`t matter how big
it was, right? You`d spend the whole day there. And then, you know, you
were real excited to go to where the vending machine was and the ice
machine. And get the ice. And that was like a big deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Is that the contrast of fair of the President talking
about growing up staying at Howard Johnsons, may or may not have been a
pool, riding greyhound buses and the water skiing of Mitt Romney. Is this
a fair contrast that we`re seeing this week that the President obviously
raising?

FINNEY: You know, it`s the kind of contrast that I think that says
look, both are legitimate options for an American family vacation. It`s
just that the majority of Americans -- I`d say about 99 percent -- are
probably not on Jet Skis in New Hampshire. They`re more likely to be able
to relate to the kind of experience that President Obama was talking about.
And that really is the heart of the matter. I mean, I worked in the 2004
campaign as well. And I remember the infamous John Kerry photo.

And the problem that Mitt Romney really has with this is that it
really does play into the narrative that he is out of touch. And also the
hypocrisy for him to come out and attack President Obama`s vacation while
he`s on this ritzy vacation. You know, this is a problem that he`s had
time and time again. His own hypocrisy. And just that feeling that he`s
completely out of touch and doesn`t really understand, you know, how these
kinds of programs affect Americans when we talk about the economy.

What it`s like to get on a bus for your vacation, not strap your dog
to the top of the car and all that or go jet skiing. It`s just -- you
know, so that`s really the problem. Is that it plays into the narrative
that already feels -- I think this is what the Republicans were complaining
about. That, you know, already people believe that he`s out of touch. So,
why continue to reinforce that narrative?

SHARPTON: Now, I was -- I ran in the 2004 race and then worked with
Bob when you supported John Kerry. So, I remember this hypocrisy goes back
even further than he`s attacking President Obama. I`m talking about Mitt
Romney. Look at this in 2004 what he was saying about John Kerry.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There`s a senator from my state, you may have heard, that
wants to get elected president. And I don`t know why he wants to do that.
Because of course if he wanted, he has to move into a smaller house.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, I mean, he took shots himself at John Kerry back in
2004. Bigger house, if he went to the White House, it would be a smaller
house. Now he claims this is class warfare when people raise the exact
same points on him.

SHRUM: Yes, look. This is a guy who will say anything in the course
of a campaign. You know, his health care bill was a tax nor it was a
penalty, nor was a tax. He doesn`t care about consistency. And in 2004,
when he made that attack, I mean, this came from a guy who is now building
a giant mansion in Laguna Beach with an elevator for four cars. Mitt
Romney is out of touch with people. He`s a guy who says I`ll bet you
$10,000, I know NASCAR team owners, I`m unemployed too.

He showed it again and again during the primaries. And that`s why
his problem is not that he`s rich. As I said earlier, there`s nothing
wrong with being rich. Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, the
Kennedys. They fought for middle class people. I think middle class
people in this country are correctly getting the impression that Mitt
Romney doesn`t care about them. And if he becomes President, it`s going to
be health care cuts for them, tax cuts for the very wealthy and they`re
just going to get left behind.

SHARPTON: Well, Karen, it looks like the American people agree with
that because when polled by the pew poll in last month, who connects with
ordinary people? President Obama 59 percent, Mitt Romney 28 percent,
Karen.

FINNEY: Well, again, I mean, think about, you know, the vision that
President Obama laid out today in his speech and over the last couple of
days. Just even in that when he was talking about those vacations. That`s
an American that so many of us remember, want to see available to young
people coming up behind us, want to make sure to preserve this idea, you
know, that you would have a family vacation. That you`re, you know, the
GI bill and that the resources of this country would be here for you if
you`re willing to do your part.

I mean, you know, it wasn`t just that he was talking about the
memories of a vacation but really connecting on the values level to what so
many of us love the most about this country. As Bob said, nothing wrong
with being wealthy. Nothing wrong with being in the one percent.

SHARPTON: Not at all.

FINNEY: But there are two very different visions of this country.
And President Obama, I think, is connecting and shares that experience with
the majority of Americans.

SHARPTON: And at least be consistent in the position you take about
all of that. But let me -- I`m going to have to move on. Bob Shrum, Karen
Finney, thanks for your time tonight.

SHRUM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Up next, it`s the health care hug everyone is talking
about. We`ll talk to the woman who got it next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: She got a hug from President Obama and became the newest
face of his health care law. Stephanie Miller joins us exclusively, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, with all the politics surrounding the health care
law, we can`t lose sight of what it is all about. Helping real people.
And now there`s a new face of the health care law. Stephanie Miller, she
met President Obama yesterday in Ohio with tears streaming down her face.
She told him the heath care law could have helped her sister who died of
colon cancer.

Stephanie says, her sister couldn`t afford insurance, but earned too
much to qualify for Medicaid. Joining me now is that woman, Stephanie
Miller. Stephanie, thank you so much for your time tonight.

STEPHANIE MILLER, MET PRESIDENT OBAMA YESTERDAY: Good evening,
Reverend Sharpton. It`s a pleasure to be on your show.

SHARPTON: Thank you for coming again. Take me through this. How
did this hug happen?

MILLER: I was looking to be up by the fans and he was going down the
line and I had been wanting to tell President Obama about my sister ever
since 2008.

SHARPTON: What did you tell him when you got to hug him and talk to
him? What did you tell him?

MILLER: I told him thank you for not backing down on your health
care bill. And I told him that my sister passed away July fourth of 2008
from colon cancer because she didn`t have health care. And he gave me his
condolences and said, he was sorry about our family`s loss. He asked me
for my sister`s name and I told him. And he said, he was going to keep her
in his thoughts every day and that he was working hard for the American
people.

SHARPTON: So he asked your sister`s name and said he was going to
think about her every day?

MILLER: Yes, he did.

SHARPTON: And your sister`s story was that she made too much for
Medicaid, but she didn`t have enough to get insurance. And this bill would
have addressed that.

MILLER: Yes. She had obtained a job right before she got sick that
would have given her health care in eight months. And about a month or two
before her health care was to go into effect, she had went to the hospital
with what she thought was chickenpox. And four days later, she was told
that she was in the end stages of stage four colon cancer. Her job did
push her insurance through so she could get the chemo, but it was a little
too little, a little too late.

I truly believe that if a bill like President Obama`s had been in
effect five or ten years ago, my sister could have went to the doctor. She
could have got preventive health care. They could have detected the colon
cancer early. It`s one of the most curable cancers there is. She could
still be here with her kids.

SHARPTON: How many kids did your sister have?

MILLER: She had two boys.

SHARPTON: What do you want to come from all of this attention?

MILLER: I want people to see what the lack of health care does to
families in this country. Not a day goes by that we don` don`t -- excuse
me.

SHARPTON: No, take your time. We understand.

MILLER: That we don`t think about my sister. There`s not a day that
goes by that her sons don`t miss her. No family should ever have to go
through this just because there`s not affordable health care in this
country. We have one of the best medical care systems in the world.
Nobody should have to do this.

SHARPTON: Stephanie, you have two daughters. You have said that you
feel this law will help you and your daughters.

MILLER: Yes. I will be starting a new job next week. And after my
one-year probation, I will be able to have full health insurance coverage
prescription and everything and because of President Obama`s bill, my
daughters will be able to stay on my insurance as college students until
they`re 26.

SHARPTON: Wow. Stephanie Miller, you`re a strong person and you`re
a good sister. I`m sure your sister is looking down over you.

MILLER: I`m sure she is.

SHARPTON: For telling that story and the passion you bring to it.
Brings all the politics aside and we remember what this is really about.
Really about people.

MILLER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Thanks for sharing that with us. And we wish you and your
daughters and your sister`s children all the best.

MILLER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, looking to our past to move forward in
the future. America just turned 236 years old this week. Americans have
been celebrating our great country all week long. But 236 years later and
we`re wondering where some of that leadership went. You have a sitting
Congressman Florida`s Allen West saying this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: Congressional district down in
Florida. It is a district that is primary does have a constituency of
seniors of military veterans. As a 22 year veteran -- 13 percent of my
brothers and sisters are coming back from combat zones are unemployed. Our
debt to GDP ratio is about 70 percent.

He who does not want you to have self-esteem of giving up an earning
and having that title of American. He`d rather you be his slave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`d rather you be his slave. Seriously? Yet RNC
Chairman Reince Priebus won`t condemn him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Now, I`m running against a woman who I mean --

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m not the police officer of the Republican Party.
So, you know, Allen can say what Allen wants to say.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not the police officer. And then there`s Illinois
Congressman Joe Walsh. He had the nerve to hand his opponent who lost both
her legs in Iraq is not a true hero.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOE WALSH (R), ILLINOIS: Now, I`m running against a woman who -
- I mean, my God, that`s all she talks about. Our true heroes, the men and
women who served us, it`s the last thing in the world they talk about.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Look, it`s bad enough to hear this nonsense. But to have
no leadership step up to denounce it is just as bad. Yes, we`ve all said
things. But we`ve had to stand up and say they`re wrong. And wrong makes
you a real leader if you can call it like it is.

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

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

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