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PoliticsNation, Monday, July 9, 2012

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Guests: Bob Shrum; Alicia Menendez; Ryan Grim; Perry Bacon, Nia-Malika Henderson, Joe Conason, Jim Burn


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

Tonight`s lead, life imitating art in the Romney campaign. Folks,
some time Willard Romney`s campaign is hilarious, it seems like it comes
from a book. It`s called "the Great Gatsby." All about the super rich at
a party in Long Island. Tellingly, that was Mr. Romney with this week in
the search of big money. Just days after parking his jet skis, Willard
Romney hit the Hamptons fund raising circuit. And he was at the home of
one of his one percent pals. His first event was a $25,000 a person affair
at a billionaire`s estate. But that wasn`t even the big ticket event of
the day.

That`s right. An event held on the property with nine fire princess
wasn`t the big moneymaker. No, no. That was a $75,000 a couple fund
raiser, another billionaire, held at the home of David Koch. Yes, that
David Koch. The billionaire whose corporation plans to funnel $400 million
to defeat President Obama.

Now, let me be clear. There`s nothing wrong with making money.
What`s wrong is that Romney`s policies are aimed to benefit the one
percent. The people who can donate $25,000 a head. They get a say. The
rest of us, no dice. No wonder he says corporations are people. No wonder
he thinks we don`t need more firefighters. No wonder he makes $10,000
bets. And according to newspaper reports, this event seemed right out of
the pages of "the Great Gatsby."

The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a
quarter of a mile. Running over brick yards and burning gardens finally
reached a house drifting up the side in bright vines as those from the
momentum of its run. In fact, the Romney event was so unbelievable that I
brought in some of our friends from the politicalsubversities.com to do a
re-enactment. What you are about to hear things actual Romney supporters
actually said to the media at this big fund raiser. These are real quotes.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think the common person is getting it.
We`ve got the message. But my college kid, the babysitter, the nails
ladies, all these people who have the right to vote, they don`t get what`s
going on. I just feel that if you`re lower income, one, you`re not as
educated. Two, they don`t get how it works.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Common people don`t get it. Don`t understand how it works.
Are you serious?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is a socialist. His idea is find a problem
that doesn`t exist and get government to intervene.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A socialist. Really? So much for the people who got the
message.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s not helping the economy to put the people who
are the engine of the economy against the people who rely on that engine.
He`s basically been biting the hand that fed him since `08.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Since when is trying to make the system more fair biting
the hand that fete you? These guys can`t be serious.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see the wait out there? I kept asking is
there a VIP entrance because we`re a VIP.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You`re a VIP. So, that means you don`t wait in line
anywhere.

These are actual quotes from people at the Romney event. They are
funding Mr. Romney`s campaign. They`re the same people who think common
folk don`t get it. But it`s really them who don`t get it. Do we really
want them calling the shots for this country?

Joining me now is Bob Shrum, a Democratic strategist who ran Ted
Kennedy`s campaign against Mitt Romney in 1994, and Alicia Menendez, a host
of "Huff Post Live."

Thanks to you both for being here tonight.

And before we start, I want to give a big shout out to the actors and
actresses from our friends at Political Subversities. They perform every
Saturday at the People`s Emperor theater right here in New York.

Bob, let me start with you. This was so brazen. Billionaires, the
Koch brothers. Now, Bob, you`ve run a lot of campaigns. How will this
play?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It`s not going to play well at all.

Look, it was a spectacle that goes to a point that I`m going to make
in my column in "the Daily Beast" tomorrow. Romney is not just a rich
candidate. He`s a candidate by the rich for the rich who`s indifferent and
insensitive to the middle class. You know the guy you quoted there who
said -- or that the improve guys quoted who said that Obama`s a socialist?
He`s a bozo who runs a restaurant in the Hamptons called the American
hotel. I`ve eaten there. It`s way overpriced. Food`s gone downhill.

He ought to pay a price for this. Maybe some of the Democrats who
live out there and they are actually a lot of them could go eat somewhere
else and they actually get a better meal.

Look, what this was, was greed on parade. A whole group of people who
care only about their own bottom line. They don`t care about what happens
to the country in the sense of creating fairness, economic opportunity.

Unbelievable that some woman would say people in the middle class and
lower middle class, they`re not educated enough. They don`t have the
brilliance of my judgment. I hope everybody in America gets a chance to
see and understand what went on in the Hamptons this week.

SHARPTON: Now Alicia that, is why we wanted to dramatize this. Fine
if you have wealthy people supporting you and for all, you know in
politics, all of us do. I think it`s a bit brazen that not one but two
billionaires host you over a weekend, but fine.

But the language of people like people that could vote my babysitter,
nail people. They just don`t understand how the country ought to work.
That kind of arrogance is what I think is very offensive to the American
public.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, HOST, HUFFPOST LIVE: They talk about the politics of
envy. Perhaps they should talk about the politics of condescension, you
know. Then, you talk about working class, people in middle class, people
on this way. That`s when you look at Romney`s phone numbers; you come to
understand why a majority of Americans view him as being out of touch.

It`s not about anyone thinks, right? It`s not about the car for your
elevators. It`s not your wife saying she never considered herself wealthy.
It`s all of this in the aggregate. And other comments, it lacks logic.
Because if the lady at the nail salon, if the college kid went and looks at
the policies Mitt Romney is proposing, they don`t benefit them, right? Tax
breaks for the wealthiest one percent. It doesn`t help the woman who does
your nails, put food on the table. It doesn`t help her plan for
retirement. It doesn`t help her in any measurable way.

SHARPTON: Now Bob, though, does this damage Romney politically? And
people see these billionaires two in one weekend, Koch who`s putting up
$400 million to defeat the president, these attitudes that we dramatize
tonight. Give me the politics to that for the average voters as they see
this.

SHRUM: Well first, it`s not that he`s rich as you suggested earlier.
That`s not the problem. We`ve had rich candidates. Franklin Roosevelt,
the Kennedys, Theodore Roosevelt. But people thought they were not in
there fighting for their own class. In fact, Roosevelt was called a
traitor to his class. They were fighting for ordinary hardworking
Americans who needed a fair break.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: Romney over and over and over again and not just in this event
gives the sense that he doesn`t care about those hard working Americans.
He doesn`t understand them. He doesn`t have any concern for their lives.
There`s an empathy gap. And that`s going to correlate with what happens in
the voting in the fall.

SHARPTON: Now Alicia, he`s correct. Because I remember growing up in
New York, I was brought as an elementary school student to Franklin
Roosevelt`s Hyde Park home, wealthy estate. We looked up to it because
they said this was the guy who came from common people. So, you saw
(INAUDIBLE) but you it in the context of this guy came out and fought for
us. And he didn`t distort the truth.

Look at this. Romney claimed the president doesn`t have a job plan.
Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve got a five-step plan -
-

ROMNEY: We`ve always encouraged young people take a shot. Go for it.
Take a risk. Get the education. Barrow money if you have to from your
parents. Start a business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So he`s talking about his plan which no one knows what the
plan is. He attacks the president on Friday when the job numbers come. We
still don`t know a substantive plan. And before we can get out of his
attack of the president on the job numbers Friday, he`s gallivanting around
doing "the Great Gatsby" reenactment.

MENENDEZ: I mean this should be a wonderful time for Mitt Romney.
The jobs numbers were disappointing. The president said so in health
that`s present an opening and an opportunity. But rather than taking that
opportunity to step up and offer real leadership and say here`s how a jobs
report would be different under president Romney, he takes the opportunity
to challenge the president to attack the president and really when you look
at what Americans want, they want real answers and leadership. And they`re
simply not getting it from this cabinet.

SHARPTON: And I sense, Bob, there`s some kind of nervousness even
among his own party. Even John Boehner says this weekend, well, America`s
not going to fall in love with Romney.

You`ve run big campaigns, presidential campaigns. Are you sensing
that even his party established leadership and campaign people are a bit
nervous about how he`s conducting himself?

SHRUM: Yes. In private a lot of them will say he`s an awkward
candidate. He doesn`t have a sliver of Ronald Reagan`s gift, for example.
Reagan was a conservative. But he could speak to the common man. He could
somehow reach in and appeal to those Reagan Democrats.

Romney over and over and over again, that`s $10,000, all the other
things you cited at the start of this. Says $340,000 isn`t much money.
And he makes himself completely out of touch with the concerns of ordinary
people. And that`s what all the polling is showing. I mean, the Democrats
have a 19-point advantage on cares about and understand the needs of the
middle class in the latest NBC "Wall Street Journal" poll. Romney can`t
win if those numbers stay that way.

SHARPTON: Alicia, do you think as he continues to identify with the
one percent as we continue to see weekends like this and jet skiing, will
this drive out a base vote for the Democrats? Will people get so offended
that they will come out in bigger numbers saying we can`t allow these one
percent elitist types to turn back the clock on the things that we value?

MENENDEZ: I don`t know that that is actually what`s going to drive
out a base vote. I think good organization; I think there are a lot of
structural challenges, registering, registering, people turning them out,
getting them to re-buy into the Obama narrative.

I think the anti-Romney will account for a part of the democratic base
that is already fired up that has watched this primary process. But I
think when we talk about the democratic base, that`s walking tackling.

SHARPTON: And we`ll have to get around voter suppression schemes but
we`ll talk about that later in the program.

Alicia Menendez and Bob Shrum, thank you for your time tonight.

SHRUM: Thank you.

MENENDEZ: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama throws down the gut men against
Republicans. He is calling on them to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the
rich. And make the middle class the real priority in America.

Plus, decoding the GOP talking points about Mitt Romney. The
scientist here at "Politics Nation" has created a fantastic new machine
that translates Republican speak into English.

And a Republican fund raiser for Romney is now in charge of helping
educate voters in Pennsylvania. What could possibly go wrong?

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The president wants to get rid of Bush tax cuts for the
wealthy. Mitt Romney does it. What a surprise. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back on "Politics Nation" with Republican spending
deflecting and doing verbal somersaults away from questions on Romney`s
offshore accounts, his Swiss bank account, his secret tax returns. Here`s
Louisiana governor, Bobby Jindal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Is it fair for voters to consider,
governor, what Mitt Romney does with his money outside the United States?

GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: Definitely want to answer that
question. Couple things I just want to again correct. I will get to that
question. But look, Governor Mali (ph), he is talking about President Bush
several times. Now, that election was eight years ago. This election,
this is a choice between President Obama, his failed policies and governor
Romney. This past week David Axelrod --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Hold it. Hold on. Stop
playing that clip. Honestly. I don`t understand a word he`s saying. But
we`re in luck. I present to you all the Alfred C. Sharpton fantastic,
marvelous, GOP make sense-o-nator. This amazing machine takes Republican
spend and translates what they`re trying to say into plain English.

Let`s put it into use for the first time with Governor Jindal
interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JINDAL: Definitely want to answer that question. Couple things I
just want to again correct. I will get to that question.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Getting a read out from the fantastic
marvelous GOP make-sense-o-nator. Sounds like he`s saying wait, OK. I
hate this question. Anything but Willard`s tax shelters. Think, Bobby
think. I don`t know. Stop asking me these questions. Let me think.
Where are my talking points? Ronald Reagan is great. So is Mitt Romney --
forget that. How long is this segment? I`ve got to eat up more time. I
can`t let him talk. If I keep talking, he won`t ask the questions again.

SHARPTON: Thank you, fantastic marvelous GOP make-sense-o-nator.
That makes way more sense. There`s a reason his supporters have trouble
defending the overseas money. This buried treasure might just be cursed.

Joining me now is Perry Bacon, the political editor of "the Grio" and
Ryan Grim, Washington bureau chief for "the "Huffington Post."

Thank you for joining us.

RYAN GRIM, WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF, HUFFINGTON POST: Good to see you.

PERRY BACON, POLITICAL EDITOR, THE GRIO: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: I don`t think I`ll need that translator for you guys. But
Ryan, we`re having a little fun. But this really shows a problem for
Romney. How much of a fact to will this offshoring play in the next months
in your opinion?

GRIM: Well, unless he addresses it, it`s going to be hard to go away.
You know, later in the clip that you played, Jindal said something that I
thought awfully amusing. He said, you know look. the real problem here is
that Barack Obama wants to spend money we don`t have.

Well now, wait a minute. Why don`t we have that money?

SHARPTON: Right.

GRIM: I mean, one reason we don`t have that money is that so many
rich people can afford sophisticated accountants who can hide the money in
offshore tax havens. And then they can hire lobbyists who then write
loopholes into the tax code. And now, he wants to run for president
complaining about the deficit and saying that the tax code is too
complicated.

I mean, at some point, you`ve just got to say wait a minute. What are
you talking about here?

SHARPTON: Yes. I think at this point it would be a good time to have
that some point. But Perry, let me throw to you what the Romney campaign
did say.

A spokesperson for the Romney campaign says Mitt Romney has a
successful career in the private sector. Pays every dime of taxes he owes,
has given generously to charitable organizations and served numerous causes
greater than himself.

He never addresses the offshore accounts. Will he have to give us
more on this account, this spokes person -- this spokes lady for the Romney
campaign?

BACON: We call this is a non-answer in politics. I mean, those
comments, no one is questioning whether he paid taxes legally. No one
questions if he gave money to charity. We know he does.

He has to address this question. It goes to the broader point. The
president today laid out a plan where he would not cut taxes for the rich.
And Romney has favored this cutting the tax for the rich plan.

So, somehow was decided about a tax. This is about in a shelter that
are broader issue of which candidate is for the rich and which isn`t. And
Romney has to address these things in the broader context before voters get
a sense he`s not a candidate, he`s not open. And he is the candidate of
the one percent. He has to rebut that message. And this is not helping
when he comes out in a weekend which he`s also jet skiing that he won`t
talk about his accounts either.

SHARPTON: Now, Ryan, he also deals with the problem of transparency.
No one`s accusing him of doing anything wrong, but he`s not transparent.
Look at presidential tax returns. There`s a pattern here. There`s a
history of Barack Obama released 12 years. George W. Bush released eight
years of tax returns. Bill Clinton eight years. Ronald Reagan at least
six years. Romney -- Willard Romney, just two years. Even his father when
he was running for president, George Romney, released 12 years. So it`s
the appearance that you`re not being transparent.

GRIM: Right. What`s really remarkable about this is that Mitt Romney
very well could become president and he could do it while going through
less of a vetting than his own nominees will go through.

You know, you can`t be a deputy assistant secretary at the department
of transportation giving up the amount of information that he`s giving up.
So -- and I don`t think he`s going to be able to get away with only
releasing this one year.

But we don`t know what`s in those returns. Maybe he made the
calculation what`s in those returns is so damaging politically to him he`d
rather take this heat. Maybe he took some tax amnesty a couple years ago
and that`s why he doesn`t want to do it. Maybe it will expose a lot of
offshoring.

SHARPTON: But, Ryan, when you look at that Ryan, and I`m stepping on
your answer, but I need to ask you this.

When you look at that and you look at what "vanity fair" just came out
with in its story. $3 million Swiss bank account, at least 12 Bain funds
in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda Corporation wholly owned by Willard Mitt
Romney -- I mean, when you look at what "vanity fair" comes out with, when
you look at him not releasing tax returns. And you said something that
really struck me. That he may go to the White House if he were to win with
not having been vetted as much as anybody that would serve in government.

Will the media really get him get away with that? Or are they going
to come after him this fall and make him answer the questions?

GRIM: I mean, he`s been getting beaten up on it badly. That`s why he
finally put one return out in April. And the "vanity fair" story has
sparked it again. So it looks like -- you know, the media, you know,
whatever you want to say about them they do want information. And if
you`re trying to keep information from them, they`re going to go out and
try to get that.

So, you know, he`s going to face a punishing few months if he`s going
to try to get all the way to the White House without releasing this.

SHARPTON: But Perry, Ryan makes another point that I think is
interesting. And that is that he may say well this is the least damaging.
Because when you look at the fact that a new Gallup poll shows President
Obama`s ads on the Bain capital affiliation, for example, they`re working.
Amongst swing state voters who say the ads have changed their minds about a
candidate, 76 percent of them now favor the president. So maybe in balance
he sees these things are hurting him. And maybe he knows that if
everything comes out, it would hurt him even more.

BACON: I think we know that`s true in some ways because during the
primaries, in the debate, he was pressing us a lot and you could see when
he was asked about this. He was very - remember one CNN debate he was very
slippery about it. He was very nervous. He can ask for his father and he
was clearly frustrated about that part of it, the precedent with his father
giving more returns out.

The strange thing about this is, Al, is that he`s been running for
president about eight years now. He`s been thinking about running and ran
in `08 and ran this time. He`s had a lot of time to fix his taxes. It`s a
mystery to me what he was thinking. I mean, this was an obvious problem
that was going to come up. But he seems not to care enough about it to fix
it before right now where talking about it five months before the election.

SHARPTON: Now Ryan, the other part of this is media is concerned
about a lot of the details in the scrutiny. But the general perception
given the voters is here`s a rich guy who`s advocating for rich people to
have tax cuts, who`s hanging out in the Hamptons and going jet skiing.

So, I think overall the average voters are not going to audit their
taxes if they come out. It`s the overall broad perception of this one
percent of for the one percent by the one percent are going into the White
House. That`s a big political problem.

BACON: I think that the unpatriotic part of it is what`s going to be
most damaging to him. I think the Romney campaign is starting to realize
that. That people think that there`s something wrong with having your
money in the Cayman Islands or a Swiss bank account.

And I agree with Perry. Look, a Swiss bank account, really? I mean,
he`s notice who wants to run for president says, I go back even further,
I`d say since high school. And that he could make a blunder of that level
is just astounding.

And so if voters only think one or two things about a candidate, one
of the things they think is he has taken his money and taken it out of the
country. That`s extremely damaging and going to be hard for him to get
over.

SHARPTON: Perry Bacon and Ryan Grim. Thank you for coming on the
show tonight.

BACON: Thanks, Al.

GRIM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Republicans are circling the wagons to protect
the Bush tax cuts for the rich. But we`ll look at the real legacy of the
so-called trickledown economics.

Plus, how some of the attacks on President Obama are literally,
literally out of this world.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out on Facebook? The
conversation is going all day long. Today, people in POLITICS NATION are
writing about Mitt Romney`s Hampton donors and their disdain for common
people. Betty writes quote, "We understand the political system and its
effect on the majority of Americans much better than Romney`s donors can
imagine. We also understand what the folks at the Hamptons are trying to
do to keep us in our place."

Kevin has a different take. "Romney doesn`t know common people." He
says. We want to hear what you think. Please head over to Facebook and
search POLITICS NATION and like us to join the conversation that keeps
going long after the show ends. We hope to see you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Over a decade ago, Republicans promised that if the rich
got a massive tax break, it would boost the economy and that wealth would
trickle down to the rest of us. While we`ve seen what a decade of Bush tax
cutting did to the whole country, today President Obama took another step
toward repairing the damage. He called on Congress to let the Bush tax
cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans making more than a quarter million
dollars a year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We`ve tried it their way. It
didn`t work. At the beginning of the last decade, Congress passed
trillions of dollars of tax cuts that benefited the wealthiest Americans
more than anybody else. The wealthy got wealthier, but most Americans
struggled. Instead of creating more jobs, we had the slowest job growth in
half a century. Instead of widespread prosperity, the typical family saw
its income fall. So we don`t need more top-down economics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s right. Under President Clinton, the top tax rate for
the richest Americans was nearly 40 percent. That didn`t hurt growth. In
fact, it did the opposite. During the Clinton era, the private sector
produced 20.8 million jobs. But then President Bush took office and
lowered the tax rates to 35 percent. That`s when trickle down fizzled out.
During the Bush era, the private sector lost more than $600,000 jobs.

So much for the republican argument that cutting taxes for the wealthy
creates jobs. Have they really forgotten the real legacy of the Bush
presidency? The national debt went up by a $4.9 trillion. The median
income dropped 4.2 percent. And 8.2 million more Americans slid into
poverty.

Joining me now is Joe Conason, editor in-chief of Nationalmemo.com.
And Nia-Malika Henderson, national political reporter for "The Washington
Post." Thank you both for joining me tonight.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Good to see you, Rev.

JOE CONASON, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, NATIONALMEMO.COM: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Joe, let me start with you. Aren`t the Bush tax cuts for
the rich the best argument against trickledown economics?

CONASON: They are a good argument and I`ll tell you why. As you
pointed out just now, we lost jobs when Bush lowered tax rates. The part
that was left out of that presentation was that when President Clinton came
into office, it was then considered a huge deficit. The first thing he did
as President in 1993 was to increase the top rate. Back up to 39 percent.
The Republicans screamed as you will recall. Not one republican vote, Vice
President Gore had to break the tie in the Senate. And they all said, you
know, Gingrich, all the people still around now.

SHARPTON: Right.

CONASON: This will cause a recession, depression, worse. And we know
it actually happened.

SHARPTON: So, again, that`s interesting. Because a lot of people
forget that. When Bill Clinton came in inaugurated January of `93, we were
in a huge deficit.

CONASON: That`s correct. First President Bush had left us in a
deficit. It`s actually not much fault of his own. You remember, he raised
taxes but it wasn`t enough to overcome the initial Reagan tax cuts. You
know, Reagan also raised taxes. They hadn`t raised taxes enough. Clinton
came in, realized that he had to raise taxes. He I think quite
courageously did so and against tremendous opposition. A lot of Democrats
lost their offices in the next election, term.

SHARPTON: In the `94, yes.

CONASON: He lost control of the Congress including the lady who is to
become his -- the mother of his future son-in-law was kicked out of her
Congressional seat in Philadelphia. So, you know, this was a big blood
bath for the Democrats but they were proved right.

SHARPTON: Contract with America. Nia, let me bring the politics of
this in. The battle for the middle class. President Obama today asking
the Congress to compromise by extending tax cuts for the middle class, not
the wealthy. Let me play you something he said and get your response from
what the politics of this would be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: So we should all agree to extend the tax cuts for the middle
class. Let`s agree to do what we agree on. Right?

(APPLAUSE)

Let`s not hold the vast majority of the Americans and our entire
economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the
wealthy. That`s why I`m calling on Congress to extend the tax cuts, for
the 98 percent of Americans who make less than $250,000 for another year.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Nia, does this put Republicans in a political position
of being between a rock and a hard place. Because what he`s saying is,
don`t hold the middle class hostage. We can keep fighting and arguing
about the rich, but let`s extend the middle class tax cuts for a year.
Politically, how do they deal with that?

HENDERSON: Well, I mean, you`ve seen them already push back. You saw
Mitt Romney release a statement and say, raising taxes at this time of
economic crisis on anyone just isn`t a good idea. You saw the President
there flanked by average Americans. So, go out on the road later this
week, where he`ll talk about this. And I think, you know, to his credit or
I mean, to his benefit, I think he is on the side of most Americans. Two-
thirds of which I think that this is the right thing to do. Keeping these
tax cuts in place and raising them on people -- families who make over
$250,000. You have seen some grumbling from some in their own parties.

Democrats like Chuck Schumer who said, they wanted to extend these tax
cuts to people who are making over a million dollars. But it looks like
there`s going to be some agreement with this President and you`re going to
hear him say this over and over again and frame himself as somebody who`s
on the side of the middle class. And Mitt Romney and the Republicans are
somebody as a party that favors millionaires, that favors the rich.

In some ways, it coalesces with this argument that you`ve heard
they`re making on the Sunday shows. Yesterday, this whole idea of Romney
being in favor of sort of a Bush strategy on steroids. You saw them invoke
Bill Clinton. And I think their underlying argument is that Democrats do
it better in terms of taking care of the middle class. And so far, polls
do show that President Obama is on solid ground there with the middle
class.

SHARPTON: Well, Joe, if you look at the polls and people -- Americans
questioned about who they blame the U.S. economy on, 68 percent of all
Americans say, President Bush. Forty nine percent of Republicans are
saying President Bush. So, as Nia was talking and we see Romney connected
to Bush, that cannot be helpful in an election year.

CONASON: I don`t think it will be helpful. They haven`t exactly been
pulling George W. Bush out of hiding to come and campaign for him so far.

SHARPTON: You noticed.

CONASON: You may have notices. Yes, I`ve noticed. You know, the
thing that we haven`t talked about is deficits. All along, the Republicans
have been campaigning as if they`re the ones who want to close the
deficits. The truth of the matter is, the Bush tax cuts as you pointed out
before, exploded the deficits. The Clinton tax increases led to surpluses.
We had the first surplus in generations having raised taxes on the wealthy.

The President now is trying to have balanced program. He`s trying to
make investments. He`s trying to make sure that middle class and working
people can spend money to boost the economy. And at the same time, he`s
saying, you know, what? The people who had the big party under Bush, they
need to pay so that we can start to deal with deficits in the future.

SHARPTON: And it is a proven fact any number of economists has raised
that if the middle class has more money, Nia, they spend money. They spend
more money. It helps the economy.

HENDERSON: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And I think that it`s going to be hard to argue against
that.

HENDERSON: That`s right. I mean, you`re right. When folks have
money in their pocket, they go out to Best Buy and they buy big screen TVs
or iPhones or iPods or whatever. And that`s what generates more jobs and
generates economic activity. And that`s essentially what I think you`re
going to see Democrats argue. That the more money in folks` pockets I
think this would put something like $3,000 in people`s pockets that they`ll
go out and spend it.

That will generate economic activity and get this economy going but
let`s face it. This right now, it`s political theater. This isn`t going
to happen. It`s unlikely that they`re going to get any sort of a
bipartisan agreement on this. These tax cuts, they are going to expire in
January. And it`s doubtful that anything is going to happen before this
November election.

SHARPTON: Joe, isn`t the Romney proposals and his whole campaign kind
of brazen though? When you look at the fact that tax cuts for millionaires
under Bush was $141,312. Under Romney, it would be $286,880. I mean, it`s
like Braze, it`s Bush on steroids.

CONASON: It certainly sounds that way. And, you know, for Romney to
go around saying, he`s going to close the deficit, he`s the candidate of
fiscal responsibility at the same time that he`s proposing something like
that which we know led to huge, huge deficits and debt in the last
administration is truly brazen. I agree with that. It`s -- he needs to be
called on that. There`ll come a time sometime between now and November
where he`ll have to face if nobody else than President Obama in debate.
And I think we`ll see whether he has an answer.

SHARPTON: We will see. Joe Conason, Nia-Malika Henderson. Thank you
both for your time tonight.

CONASON: Thank you.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, first a top republican senator new voter ID law
could help them win the state of Pennsylvania. What`s their new trick?
Putting a Romney fund raiser in charge of educating the public about the
law? FOX meet hen house. That`s coming up.

Plus, how some new right wing attacks on the President are light years
away from reality. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: First Republicans of Pennsylvania and their governor rush
the new voter idea fought. Then the republican leader let slip what the
law will help Romney do. Win the state. Now comes part three. A Romney
fund raiser hired to educate people about the law. It`s amazing. And it`s
next. Sprayed them.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Pennsylvania Republicans are kicking their block the vote
plan into high gear. Over the weekend, the state`s republican governor
rejected an urgent request from six civil groups to delay his restrictive
new voter ID law. A law that requires everyone who wants to vote to show a
government-issued photo ID. And now a Philadelphia paper reports that the
governor has hired a Mitt Romney fund raiser to educate people about the
law. His company`s Web site included some jaw-dropping sample videos.
Including this one that paints a bright future of America`s dark voting
history. Including the time when women couldn`t vote.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Your right to vote. It`s one thing you never want
to miss out on. This year, the law requires that every Pennsylvania voter
show a photo ID at the polls.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

The video has since been pulled offline. What these ads don`t say is
the law could disenfranchise 758,000 voters in Pennsylvania. There`s a
much higher number than the state first reported. And it`s higher than
President Obama`s 2008 margin of victory over John McCain. The 2012 race
between the President and Mitt Romney is even tighter. Which means this
voter ID law could make a big difference. And that`s the point. A point a
Pennsylvania republican already admitted it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STATE REP. MIKE TURZAI (R-PA), MAJORITY LEADER: Voter ID which is
going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARTPON: Joining me now is Jim Burn, chairman of the Pennsylvania`s
Democratic Party. Thanks for your time tonight, Mr. Chairman.

JIM BURN, PA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN: Good evening, Reverend.
Thank you for the opportunity.

SHARPTON: Last week, the governor pledged to make sure all voters are
aware of the new law. Do you trust a Romney fund raiser to get the word
out?

BURN: No, I do not. We`ve known all along here in the Democratic
Party that this was a sham. We`ve caught the Republicans, Governor Corbett
and Mr. Turzai in three lies so far. Number one, there`s a voter fraud
problem in Pennsylvania. When Governor Corbett was Attorney General, he
prosecuted zero cases of voter fraud.

SHARPTON: How many?

BURN: Zero. Zero.

SHARPTON: He -- the present governor was the Attorney General and
when he was the Attorney General and could have dealt with so-called voting
fraud, he did not prosecute any voter fraud cases.

BURN: That is absolutely correct, Reverend. That was lie number one.
Lie number two, that this was not about politics. Well, Mr. Turzai whose
clip you just played clearly established the real legislative intent behind
this piece of legislation. And lie number three which you touched on,
Reverend, was that initially the secretary of the commonwealth had said one
percent maybe would be affected. No, sir. It`s more like 758,000
Pennsylvanians could be affected by this illegal -- which we believe
illegal -- voter ID law.

SHARPTON: Now, let`s ask the political question. Could this make the
difference in terms of Willard Mitt Romney winning Pennsylvania, beating
the President if these amounts of people are disenfranchised because of
these photo ID laws?

BURN: Well, Reverend. We`re not going to allow that to happen here
in Pennsylvania. We`re not going to go down that road. The Pennsylvania
Democratic Party has always had a better field plan than our opponents on
the other side. This year is no different. And especially with the stakes
being so high, maybe never higher in our nation`s history. We`re out there
right now. We`re outreaching. We`re identifying and we`re recruiting.

Those who may be affected by this legislation. When we go to the
doors like we do and we canvas every presidential cycle, we make sure that
our supporters and voters have what they need by way of issues for our
candidates. This year we`re adding another box. That is, do you have the
proper identification in order to vote? And if you do not, we will make
sure that you have it.

SHARPTON: Now, it`s very important that you said proper
identification. Because as you know, I`ve been involved in trying to bring
this issue out around the country. And people need to understand you, me,
no one is talking about people not having ID. We`re saying this new ID
requirements does have the same ID we always had. When we voted for Bush,
Reagan or Clinton. We want the same ID. Why do we need new ID if there`s
been no fraud, Jim?

BURN: That`s the million dollar question, Reverend. And that`s why
there`s a lawsuit has filed. The court will hear it on July the 25th. As
a practicing attorney here Pennsylvania, I`ve looked at the merits. I
think there are merits to this. But sir, you know, having said that, I
like the arguments that are being made. But having said that, we need to
move forward as if this bill will be on the ground in November.

SHARPTON: OK. Thank you so much, Jim Burn. Thank you for being
here. And I am on a national tour to get out the word no matter who you
vote for that we`ve got to have the right ID. I`ll be in Atlanta, Georgia,
tomorrow. You can go to National Action web site and get all the
information.

Thank you, we`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Space. The final frontier. These are the attacks from the
GOP boldly taking earthly politics out of this world. First, we saw
Republicans wondering if the President was really on America`s side.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MICHELE BACHMANN (R), MINNESOTA: I`m focusing on Barack Obama
and the people that he`s been associated with.

CHRIS MATTHEWS, MSNBC ANCHOR, "HARDBALL": But do you suspect there`s
a lot of people you served with --

BACHMANN: They`re anti-American nature.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`ve got to have a
President to stop apologizing for America abroad.

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Obama is the greatest
threat to the continuation of American civilization in our lifetime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Then some Republicans decided the President had a European
flare. Remember Willard?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We have a President who wants to turn America into another
European style social welfare state. I mean, he takes his political
inspiration from Europe, and from the socialists Democrats in Europe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now Republicans are taking the attacks out of this world.
The RNC Chairman says, the President`s from another planet.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do we want another four years of this stagnant job
growth with a president that acts like he`s not living on earth?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That guy`s just lost in space. Since when is 1600
Pennsylvania not on earth? But I don`t think he`ll moonwalk this one back.
He`s not the only right wing space invader.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: He doesn`t seem to operate in the same planet you and I do.
He has, you know, this sort of planet Obama somewhere out there.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The President must be on another planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You guys are the ones out of this world. Folks, let`s
agree on one thing. Both presidential candidates are from planet earth.
We have enough problems to deal with on this planet. So, let`s keep these
campaigns grounded.

We heard the arguments the President wasn`t born in America. Now,
we`re hearing these from outer space. The real problem is like I said
earlier, it`s not where they think he comes from. It`s where he`s at now,
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. That`s the problem.

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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