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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, July 11, 2012

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Guests: Emanuel Cleaver; Jan Schakowsky, Diane Derzis, David Corn, Richard

REV. AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m Al
Sharpton live from Washington, D.C.

Tonight`s lead, Mitt Romney spoke at the NAACP convention. But who
was he really speaking to?

Governor Romney made a series of statements that seemed designed to
win over the conservative base by antagonizing the audience inside the
room. It started with his unnecessary use of the term "Obama care" to the
attacks on the president`s health care law.


eliminate every non-essential expensive program I can find. That includes
Obama care and I`m going to work to reform and save --



SHARPTON: Now, here`s how that insult played inside the room in the


ROMNEY: Non-essential expensive program I can find. That includes
Obama care and I`m going to work to replace it.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Won`t say that again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He said the wrong thing now. He knows he did.


SHARPTON: Romney also attacked the president on jobs. And claimed
he`s the candidate to help the African-American community.


ROMNEY: The president will say he`s going to do those things but he
has not. He will not. He cannot. And his last four years in the White
House prove it definitively. If you want a president who will make things
better in the African-American community, you are looking at him. You take
a look.


SHARPTON: Looking at him. Really? How? By lowering taxes on the
rich and gutting the safety net? The truth is Romney`s economic plan would
raise taxes on 2.2 million black families. And he supports voter ID laws
that disproportionately affect black voters. In fact, 25 percent of
African-American voters do not have photo IDs on this issue. Romney`s
views are simply awful. And he showed in December.


ROMNEY: We don`t want people voting multiple times. You can get a
photo ID free from your state. You can get it at the time you register to
vote. And for people who don`t have photo IDs, we can actually provide
them at the voting place. People could come in, give their name and give a
photo ID.


SHARPTON: Now, when Mr. Romney first said he was going to the NAACP,
I gave him the benefit of the doubt. I didn`t attack him on the show or
anywhere else. George Bush didn`t go before the NAACP or any civil rights
groups. Neither did Bob Dole for that matter.

So, I said maybe this is a step in the right direction. Maybe he
wants to show more sensitivity. He is a guy that has a good appearance,
has a good family look. But when he went today and purposely used Obama
care which he knows is offensive, he knows is a red flag. When he goes in
representing voter ID, which he knows disenfranchises people, I was clear
that he was using the audience as a back board to score with the right wing
rather than try a three pointer to move the country toward trying to come
together and has a civil conversation that would lead to progress.

Joining me now is Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, chairman of
the congressional black caucus and MSNBC political analyst Karen Finney,
former communications director for the Democratic National Committee.

Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Chairman Cleaver, let me start with you. Why did Romney
make this speech today? You hear my feeling. What do you feel?

CLEAVER: Well, I don`t know whether that were strategic moves that
dictated this speech is made to the NAACP and that he would then offer
something to the base. I`m not sure. I would choose to believe that he
legitimately wanted to go to the NAACP. I think that all presidential
candidates ought to do that. Even Republicans who are not generally going
to receive a great deal of African-American support. For variety of
reasons we don`t have time to go into on the show.

But I do think that his advisors, even if he was serious, even if it
was genuine, his advisers all should be fired today. For allowing him to
speak to the NAACP and then attack Obama care or Romney care however you
want to put it. Because you know that that audience is not going to
embrace that.

And so, I would hate to be cynical to the point where I believe that
he wanted the booing to take place. I hope that that`s not true. But for
him to come there and then talk about President Obama to a crowd where
probably Obama received 97 percent of votes from that room, doesn`t make

SHARPTON: Well, I think, Karen that Mr. Romney said after the speech
that he expected to be booed. So if you went in expecting to be booed, why
would you then antagonize that crowd? Unless you were trying to make sure
that that was the case. That`s one.

And then second of all, you know, he doesn`t want to talk about --
when people talk about Romney care that`s offensive. So, I mean, it`s not
like he didn`t know Obama care was there.


SHARPTON: And not that he has (INAUDIBLE) issue. I thought for sure
he`d address voter ID today since in the past he has acted like it`s
nothing. It`s something the attorney general has brought up and all of our
conventions it`s something we`re dealing with. Didn`t even touch it?

FINNEY: Yes. No, I mean, it`s clear the goal here -- the audience
here was, you know, Texas, was donors, was independent voters. It was not
about the people in the room. Because if we think about what George Bush
did when he was a candidate in 2000, he talk about the soft bigotry of
expectations and no child left behind. Even if you disagree, the point is
he tried to come with an idea. He tried to come with something.

John McCain when he went last cycle, he acknowledged the history of
having the first African-American candidate. Romney didn`t any of those
kinds of things. Instead, he brutishly, I think frankly attacked, he
called him my opponent a couple times in addition to going after Obama
care. So, it was very intentional.

The other thing he did that I really find hypocritical. He was
perfectly happy to invoke his father who does have an impressive record
when it comes to an issue like this, but he sure runs away from his
father`s record when it comes to transparency and releasing his tax
records. So, it was major hypocrisy.

SHARPTON: Well, Mr. Chairman, he also seems to run away from his
father in terms of his father showing courage in terms of marching with
civil rights and standing up for civil rights issues, I believe his mother
met Dr. King. You have to ask yourself is Mitt Romney showing the same
kind of outreach and the same kind of risk to go beyond the boundaries that
his party has and trying to say to all Americans, African-Americans,
Latinos, and others that hey, I`m willing to help move the country forward.

CLEAVER: Well, assuming that he was genuine in showing up today, I
would have to say that he walked into a room and used this opportunity --
this great opportunity to deal with issues according to African-Americans
and then failed. He flunked. He received an f-minus.

Now, I think one of the things he may be confused about is that you
can get a good grade for showing up. You don`t. You know, you -- I think
it was good he did show up, but in terms of having the content in that
speech that would have any value to the African-American community, he
didn`t have it.

And what he said to the African-American community either
unintentionally or ignorantly or intentionally, he said look, we have a
wide chasm that exists between you and me. Let`s keep it that. And if
that`s what he wanted to leave with, he got his wish. And I think it
further polarizes the country racially.

SHARPTON: Now, Karen, maybe he just doesn`t understand certain
audiences or certain feelings in different parts of the political spectrum
or any race. And when you look at his background, Washington Post story
today talked about the lack of diversity when he was at Bain. And I`m
quoting them. "During his race for the Senate 1994, Romney faces questions
about diversity in his company Bain Capital which did not have any black

Then as governor he ended the office of affirmative action, proposed
$125 fee to file discrimination complaints. And he never met with the
local Massachusetts NAACP. So, I mean, there seems to be a pattern here of
either insensitivity or lack of concern.

FINNEY: Right. Well, what actually means is as the congressman said,
somebody should get fired because, you know, just from a political
perspective, somebody should have said here`s what you`re going to have to
say. Here are some ideas that we can put on the table.

But here`s the one thing I want to get out. You know, at the end he
tried to connect to the audience on values and talk about how he`s always
believed that everyone is a child of God. The Mormon Church is becoming
diverse, so you should think he understands just like America you`ve got to
talk to everybody.

Imagine if he said everyone is a child of God and both the president
and I are sons of America. That would have had an impact in that room, to
acknowledge, to go beyond this, you know, the birtherism and to try to
acknowledge, look. We have very different visions. Here`s my vision
rather than attacking the president and acknowledging as he tried to that,
you know, we`re children of God.

SHARPTON: But if you were playing to those that are adverse to him
acting as though, that`s the case, then you wouldn`t use that line.

FINNEY: And he didn`t.

SHARPTON: Well, Chairman Cleaver, Karen Finney. Thank you both for
your time tonight.

CLEAVER: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Broadway moved to Washington today when the curtain
came up, there was Speaker Boehner and the crew voting to repeal the health
care law. Again, a Tony award winning performance.

Plus, Republicans found a solution to protect the right to vote by
taking away people`s right to vote. It`s a growing trend. But we have a

And Bermuda, home to the breathtaking white sand beaches and home to
Mitt Romney`s lost company. The questions are mounting and they`re coming
from his owned party.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" live from Washington, D.C. on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Folks, our facebook conversation is going all day long.

Today`s topic is Mitt Romney`s NAACP speech was the hot one.

Stephen writes quote, "he was at the NAACP but he was clearly speaking
to his base. That is the only way I can justify him talking about getting
rid of the affordable care act in front of the constituency most helped by

Stanley wonders, doesn`t he realize we`re hip to the reverse
psychological game he plays?

We want to hear what you think too. Head over to facebook and search
"Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going
long after the show ends.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On this vote, the yes` are 244, the no`s are
185. The bill is passed.


SHARPTON: That`s what it looks like when our elected leaders waste
their time and your money to try to repeal the nation`s health care law.
Today`s vote marks the 33rd time that house Republicans tried to repeal or
defund President Obama`s signature achievement. Compare that to their
effort on jobs. They voted zero times on the president`s jobs act. They
voted zero times on the Democrats layoff prevention act. Yet today
Republicans are trotting out their tired old talking points.


our economy worse, driving up the cost of health care and making it harder
for small businesses to hire new workers.


SHARPTON: Really? The health care law made our economy worse. How
about 3.6 million jobs that have been created since it was signed into law?
How about the $700 in premium savings we`ll see in 2019? How about the
four million small businesses that will be able to qualify for a tax
credit? Republicans still just can`t seem to get over the fact that the
affordable care act is the law of the land.


REP. STEVE KING (R), IOWA: We have the vigor of the American people
here and it`s totally unsuitable to be saddled by these unconstitutional
takings of American liberty.


SHARPTON: Unconstitutional? Did Congressman King sleep through the
Supreme Court ruling two weeks ago? Today Democrats tried to shame
Republicans with an amendment that would cause lawmakers to lose all of
their health benefits if they repealed the health care law. Of course
Republicans struck that down.

Joining us now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois
and former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC political analyst.

Thank you both for joining me.



SHARPTON: Congresswoman, why would the Republicans waste so much time
attacking something that`s doing really so much good for the American

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, you could say the definition of insanity, you know,
is to do something over and over again. But I think they must feel that
somehow there`s a political advantage. Although the polls are now saying
Kaiser family foundation poll says 56 percent of Americans just think
Republicans have to get over it and move on past trying to repeal the
health care bill.

And I think we have a great moment of opportunity here, Reverend Al,
to have people take another look at how good the affordable care act, how
good Obama care is really going to be for them and is for many millions of
people already.

SHARPTON: Now, Governor Rendell, when you look at the fact that this
affects real people -- let`s go outside of the beltway. Let me go right
here to the show. Let me show you some of the guests who have personally
been touched in their lives directly or indirectly by the health care law
and talk about how it has helped their lives. Watch this, governor.


important not only to me and my daughters but to 350,000 other childhood
cancer survivors right now in this country who are now protected from pre-
existing condition discrimination.

people to know that this is not government-run health care. It`s the
absolute best cancer care that any insurance -- any insurance policy could
get me. And I am extremely grateful.


SHARPTON: Governor, this is about people in real life. This is about
the existence of things that made a positive difference for people. I
don`t think Republicans get that.

RENDELL: Nor do they seem to care about it. They`ve never
acknowledged that even in their view there were parts of the bill that did
tremendous amounts of good. And they also absolutely misrepresent this
business about its going to hurt small businesses.

You properly said, Reverend Sharpton, that in the act itself already
in effect, any small business 25 employees or less that gives health care
to their employees can take a 35 percent tax credit.

Now, tell me how in the wildest stretch of your imagination that`s
hurting small business. It`s helping small business. It`s helping their
employees. But they basically disregard the truth with impunity. And one
of the things the congresswoman said that`s so important is this does give
the president and all of us, the people who believe the act is a good one,
the opportunity to redefine it for the American people. Republicans are
saying it`s a tax. Well, the mandate tax is less than one percent of the
American people. It only taxes people who don`t have health care and who
can afford to have health care. If you`ve got health care today, the
mandate has no effect on you. It is not a tax. So we`ve got to get out
there and talk about this bill, explain it to the American people. The
more we do that, I think the more that 56 percent will rise.

SHARPTON: Now, you were governor of Pennsylvania. What about these
governors that are saying that they`re not going to expand and work this
act in their state. How do you explain this?

RENDELL: Shameful. It is shameful politicking. These are Republican
governors who hope to be president or vice president some day and they`re
doing it at the cost to their citizens.

Understand that right now Medicaid, states provide somewhere between
40 percent and 50 percent of the funding for Medicaid as it exists today.
The expansion in the affordable health care act, for the first three years
the federal government pays 100 percent. The state puts up nothing. And
then after that, the federal government pays 90 percent, the states put out
10 percent. So to turn your back on that type of money which could help
insure literally millions in many states like Texas of your citizens, to
turn your back on that is shameful.
Congresswoman Schakowsky, it`s not only shameful to turn your back on it,
they don`t have a real plan of their own. It`s not like they`ve said,
well, this is a better plan. When questioned, many leasing Republicans by
name Paul Ryan and John Boehner have no replacement plan for President
Obama`s health care law. Look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: To be specific, those provisions that are
already in place now like closing the doughnut hole, covering young adults
under the age of 26, not places lifetime limits on care, those are all in
the house vote. You`re not going to vote to replace them?

repeal the entire law. And then we`re going to advance patient center
reforms which address these kinds of issues.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: So, when you repeal this, what are you
going to replace it with?

BOEHNER: I have to start pointing out. We`re going to take a common
sense step by step approach. This has to be ripped out by its roots.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: So am the people with the preexisting
conditions, you will get rid of it and then deal with it.

BOEHNER: Listen. I`ve already outlined. We believe there`s a better


SHARPTON: We believe there`s a better way, Congresswoman, we just
haven`t figured out what that is. We just want to shut this down.

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, they can look at their nominee. Romney care really
formed the basis of the Obama care proposal. And, of course, now he`s
trying to run away from it. But no, they have never proposed.

I`m also on the energy and commerce committee where we`ve had hours
and hours of repeal debates on certain parts and all of the law. They have
never once proposed any kind of alternative.

But, you know, Romney had an alternative. It worked in Massachusetts
and it is the basis for this Obama care right now.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that the facts speak for themselves.

Congresswoman Schakowsky, Governor Rendell, thank you for your time

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.

RENDELL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Mitt Romney`s Bermuda triangle, the spooky
mystery of those offshore accounts. Now some Republicans are getting

And a federal judge continued a restraining order against today --
against the audit today of closing Mississippi`s only abortion clinic.
It`s a defining moment in destruct. We have an exclusive interview with
that clinic`s owner coming up.


SHARPTON: Folks, the French have been our allies since the American
revolutions. But the right wing just loves picking on them. When the
French government opposed the Iraq war, some Republicans dumped their wine
in the street. They renamed French fries freedom fries even in the house
cafeteria on Capitol Hill. To some Republicans, anything French was


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good afternoon, or as John Kerry might say it,


SHARPTON: Well, that French-bashing tradition is alive and well over
at "FOX and friends." that gang was checking out the new uniform for the
U.S. Olympic team. Turns out they didn`t like hats.


Take a look at a new Ralph Lauren ad out this morning which shows some
of our Olympic athletes in the Olympic uniforms. Of course they`re going
to be held in the U.K. It has nothing to do with France. Here`s the
American flag. These are American athletes dressed in these outfits with
berets on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Huh? Is this the new American trend now? The
berets? And you have to pronounce it that way, too, because it`s the
French way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should the American team be wearing a beret? Why
not a baseball cap? Why not a cowboy hat like we had when we went to


SHARPTON: Yes, you can`t be patriotic without a cowboy hat on. How
dare the Olympians wear berets? Except they forgot some very important
Americans wear berets. That`s right. The Green Berets. The Special
Forces who defend this country. Who deserve a big merci from all of us?
The folks at FOX realized their mistake pretty fast.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By the way, a little while ago, we were telling
you about how the U.S. Olympic team, they are going to wear berets. Is
that appropriate for an American team? And we got a lot of e-mail from
people saying, you know what? There is a team that`s already wearing a
beret in America. Our Special Forces wearing berets. And they look great.


SHARPTON: They do look great. And so do our Olympians. But this
isn`t the first time the U.S. had athletes who wore berets. Here`s the
2002 U.S. men`s bobsled team wearing berets as part of their uniform. And
we all remember who ran the Olympics in 2002.




SHARPTON: Does the gang at FOX think we wouldn`t notice that little
faux pas? No. You know what comes next in any language. Nice try, but we
got you.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATIONS. In 1973, the Supreme
Court handed down the historic Roe versus Wade ruling. It legalized
abortion in all 50 states. And at least for the time being, it`s still
safe. A Mississippi federal judge has decided to temporarily continue
blocking the state`s new anti-abortion law. Why was this important? Well,
had he not acted, it could have shut down Mississippi`s only abortion
clinic. Today was a victory. But chipping away at women`s rights has
become the new norm.

In Texas, Governor Perry is trying to ban doctors from even talking
about abortion. This year Governor McDonald became a household name after
his state joined nearly dozen others in pushing legislation requiring women
to undergo invasive ultrasounds. Mississippi`s attempt is the latest
example in a long list it passed a so-called trap law. That stands for
targeted regulation of abortion providers.

The law lives up to its name. It`s a trap. Mississippi`s law would
require anyone performing an abortion to have privileges to admit patients
to a local hospital. The doctors at Mississippi`s one clinic does not have
those privileges. And the clinic says, they`re not necessary. People like
Mississippi Governor Bennett says, it`s designed to protect patients. But
we know what the real motive is, Governor.


GOV. PHIL BRYANT (R), MISSISSIPPI: If it closes that clinic, then so
be it. We`re going to continue to try to work to end abortion in
Mississippi. And this is an historic day to begin that process.


SHARTPON: What about the lieutenant governor?


LT. GOV. TATE REEVES, MISSISSIPPI: That`s a bill that gives us a
great opportunity to do -- to accomplish what our goal needs to be. Our
goal needs to be to end all abortions in Mississippi. I believe the
admitting privileges bill gives us the best chance to do that.


SHARTPON: Mississippi lawmakers, what do you say?


abortion in the state of Mississippi, legally, without having to -- with
Roe vs. Wade.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is a woman on the front line of this fight.
Diane Derzis. She`s the owner of the only Mississippi abortion clinic
which will be able to keep his doors open for now. Diane, thank you for
joining me.

for having me. Good evening.

SHARPTON: Good evening. Now, you were there when the ruling was
handed down today. Tell us what did it mean to you?

DERZIS: I`m cautiously optimistic. The judge asked very pertinent
questions. He seemed to hear exactly what we were saying about the
criminal and civil penalties that will attach with this bill. I think that
he`s well read and he`s researched this well. So, I`m feeling pretty good
about it.

SHARPTON: Now, will lawmakers in your state continue attacks on your
clinic, do you believe?

DERZIS: Oh, absolutely. You know, each year it`s something else
designed. And as you heard, they`re certainly not even subtle about what
their intent is. You know, it`s such a shame, Mississippi leads the nation
in teenage pregnancy. You want to reduce the number of abortions, then we
need to talk about protecting women from pregnancy. You know, it`s number
one in the country, maternal and infant mortality. It`s -- these are
horrid things that this governor is doing to the state. Spending their
money on this kind of legislation.

SHARPTON: Now, the judge can still change his mind. The door`s not
closed yet, is that right?

DERZIS: That`s correct. You know, it`s -- he is aware that we
applied for admitting privileges and that we`ve been doing everything we
can to comply with this law. I think that will probably be part of any
ruling that he makes. But we`re not out of the woods yet.

SHARPTON: Now, the privileges that you refer to. The privileges in
hospitals. Bloomberg points out that it`s really a trap. The Bloomberg
rights to grant privileges, many hospitals require physicians to live
within a short distance to the hospital and to admit a minimum number of
patients a year. Often ten or more. Now, a typical abortion provided
would rarely admit more than one patient a year. So, it`s literally a

DERZIS: Absolutely. You know, this is a financial arrangement
between a physician and a hospital. The state knew that. They were very
wise in putting this kind of legislation in. Because to the public, it
sounds entirely reasonable.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this, Diane. When you look at the fact
that it is very clear that anti-choice activists have been successful in
driving abortion clinics out of the state. In the early `80s Mississippi
had as many as 14 now there is currently one. You. And we`re seeing that
this is going on.

Mississippi`s not the only state on the verge of losing all of its
clinics. Arkansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming all have just one
clinic. And three out of those four are controlled by Republicans, those
states. So this is a real, real battle around the country.

DERZIS: Absolutely. It`s a war on women. I mean, we talk about it,
but this plainly is a war on women. That`s why this November election is
so exceedingly important that you get out there. These people mean to
force their religious beliefs upon the rest of us at any cost. They have
God on their side. Need to get out and vote in November.

SHARPTON: Well, and it`s clear because when you look at the fact that
anti-choice activists are saying we don`t need to overturn Roe vs. Wade,
listen to what the director of the Christian defense coalition said.
Listen to this.


to see a Roe v. Wade overturn in the Supreme Court to end it. We want to.
But if we chip away, and chip away and chip away and chip away, we`ll find
out Roe really has no impact. And now, that`s what we are doing.


SHARPTON: If we chip away, chip away, chip away, we will find that
Roe has no impact.

DERZIS: Absolutely right. And Reverend Sharpton, that`s what they
have been doing. That`s why there`s one clinic left. That`s why it`s so
important that this -- that the people see what`s happening here. This
bill impacts those least able to afford it. The poor. And generally,
they`re African-American women. I mean, this is civil rights we`re talking
about here. We`re talking about the ability to decide whether or not to
become a parent. You know, this is a state that pretends to care about
children, yet we have probably the lowest amount of money expended per
child per capita that exists.

SHARPTON: Now, you had said before that there was some controversy of
course. Tell me a little about the backlash that you`ve gotten in this
fight even to understand after the ruling last night you received some
backlash. Tell us about it.

DERZIS: Well, tell me -- I`m sorry. What are you referring to?

SHARPTON: I mean, about -- you had said earlier about some of the
flack you`ve received. Tell me about some of the backlash you`ve had and
some of the backlash you`ve had last night leading into the ruling today
and then even after the ruling today. What kind of backlash have you felt?

DERZIS: Well, I think, you know, what you see is when these people
hide behind the flag and God, when they get up and absolutely lie about
what their motives are, you know, now that they have not been so subtle and
what their intent has been, and they`ve been caught. Now, they`re trying
to hide behind safety issues. But thankfully we`ve had the Department of
Health even issue a statement that this is a safe clinic.

That they -- that they come into at least five or six times a year,
randomly and inspect. So, that`s been a ban for us. And I hope the people
in the state are going to understand what they`re getting ready to lose and
they`re going to start speaking up as well.

SHARPTON: Well, Diane Derzis, you`re doing an important work and
showing bravery. Thank you so much for your time tonight.

DERZIS: Thank you so much, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, growing concern from Republicans on how Romney`s
handling attacks on his Bain past. There`s new evidence they should be
worried. So, will he start talking? Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We`re back with the right wing on the verge of a freak-out.
There`s growing concern over Willard Romney`s secrecy and lack of response
to a surge of attacks on his Bain Capital past and his hidden tax returns.
It`s all about the battle to define Romney. The right is worried. And
there`s new evidence they should be.

Joining me now is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones
and MSNBC political analyst. He`s also the author of the book "Showdown."
And Richard Wolffe, an MSNBC political analyst. He`s also the author of
"Revival: The Struggle for The Survival Inside the Obama White House."
Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: David, Republicans are showing sign of serious concern.
How do you think the Romney camp will respond?

CORN: Well, they`re right to be concerned. Because this is much more
than diddly. This involves hundreds of millions of dollars and Romney is
not releasing some of the basic information that voters and analysts would
need to understand whether or not he did anything improper, shady, perhaps
even illegal. There`s been stories in -- "Vanity Fair" and other media
outlets that have raised serious questions about his holdings. And of
course there`s an issue about his involvement and Bain`s involvement in
outsourcing. I`ll give you a little tease.

Because I think I`m going to be able to break some strict news on this
tomorrow. Can`t do it yet. But so, there`s a lot of questions out there.
And they`re just going to keep growing and gaining in importance until he
addresses these issues. But I think, this is the big problem, Reverend. I
don`t think he can. I don`t think he can release his tax returns and
answer these questions to the satisfaction of people who care about these

Because this stuff is too hard to explain and might have been at least
if not illegal just seems kind of wrong or shady. Because face it. People
like Mitt Romney play by a different set of rules than a lot of us who
don`t have accountants to hide money for us around the world.

SHARPTON: Now, Richard, I remember you covered the `04 race and part
of the problem there was John Kerry who ultimately became the democratic
nominee was defined by the opposition.


SHARPTON: Is there a risk that Mitt Romney is being defined by the
President and his re-election campaign?

WOLFFE: Absolutely. You know, Reverend, there was this period
through August that everyone remembers about the swift boating period. But
critically for the Kerry campaign, the candidate was in open dispute with
his own campaign advisers about whether or not to respond. And in looking
back, you know, everyone remembers the ads and how shocking they were in
terms of a decorated war veteran facing this kind of attack.

But what really mattered, I think, too many voters was that he wasn`t
responding. And if you cannot defend yourself and define yourself, then
someone else is going to attack you and define you. And it broadcasts
weakness. And that, I think, is where Mitt Romney finds himself. And
that`s what Bill Kristol is speaking to among other people. Yes, they`re
getting worried about the polls and gaps opening up for the president in
this swing states.

But what does it say about Mitt Romney that he doesn`t want to talk
about this stuff or isn`t talking about it forcefully or more recently
where he just repeats the stuff that the Obama campaign is saying, but just
throws it back in the other direction. So, when he`s under attack about
being an outsourcer, he`s says, oh no, I know the outsourcer, they`re the
outsourcer. It`s not exactly a sophisticated type of politics and it means
he`s not a very sophisticated kind of leader.

SHARPTON: Well, and isn`t it so, Richard, that a lot of it is, that
it`s so much unanswered. I mean, the tax returns, the outsourcing, the
money in the Cayman Islands and Bermuda, the companies there. I think that
a lot of it is that there just seems to be so much of it and no answers.

WOLFFE: Well, here`s the thing. The no answers part of it is the
critical one. If you are prepared to give John McCain campaign 20 years
plus of tax returns to get vetted for a VP position, then you should be
able to put those tax returns out even if you think it`s embarrassing. If
Mitt Romney is right and all of this stuff is legal, then he can ride over
the embarrassment. We`re still several months away from the election.

By the time, we get to Election Day, it will be old news. But get it
out there. Cauterize the wound, stop the bleeding, and move on. At the
moment the slow bleed is going to damage him much more than the people
pouring over those tax returns and saying, why did you do this and why
didn`t you do that?

CORN: You know, Reverend, that is -- what seems to be the smart
advice, the conventional advice from those of us who don`t know what`s in
the tax returns. And you know, back in 2007, 2008, maybe it was a
different economic atmosphere at the time. Maybe he was just so desperate
to get a job with John McCain, he felt he had to give those records up.
But it well could be that there`s stuff here -- I`m not saying it`s
illegal, but it`s almost impossible to explain.

One big question is how he got millions of dollars into an IRA account
where often there are very strict limits on how to grow an IRA account.


CORN: You know, what`s going on with Swiss Bank accounts, Cayman
Island accounts and so on. So, maybe at the end of the day, they`ve made a
smart calculation that it is better to take this slow bleeding wound than
to, you know, rip open the chest cavity and show stuff that can`t be
adequately explained away.

SHARPTON: But, David, you`ve written and raised questions about when
he actually left Bain Capital. You`re questioning the departure of Mitt
Romney from Bain. Why is that so important?

CORN: Well, it`s important because he claims he left Bain February of
1999 when he jetted off to Salt Lake City to help the troubled winter
Olympics there of 2002. And what he`s trying to do is absolve himself from
anything that happened with Bain after that point in time. And there are
questions about Bain investing in companies that conducted outsourcing and
doing other things.

Now, there are a lot of reasons to think that this story isn`t so
clear cut. That there are -- I went through the whole paper trail in my
piece in which, you know, there were Bain Capital press releases referring
to Romney leading the company, or speaking for the company afterwards. He
was still assigning SEC documents for his own entities.

SHARPTON: But isn`t it true, David, that even though he may have been
in Salt Lake City, his money was involved with the team that was running
Bain Capital. He was the one that hired them. His footprints were

CORN: The big point here is that he still owns these companies. He
still benefited from what they did. He still signed the paperwork. He was
still listed as being a member of the managing committee for years. And
it`s just unbelievable to me that a fellow that wealthy, that powerful
would say just give me something to sign. I`ll sign it. I won`t look at
it. I won`t ask any questions. He won`t even ask his former partners,
hey, what are you up to now. So, that sort of disengagement is incredible
to believe. And if he was that disengaged about his own personal finances,
I don`t think we should trust him with the U.S. treasury.

SHARPTON: David Corn and Richard Wolffe, thanks for your time

WOLFFE: Thanks, Reverend.

CORN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Up next, we`ll tell you how one of Mitt Romney`s key allies
is leading the charge for a voter purge in yet another critical swing
state. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: There`s new and important news in the coordinated
republican effort to block the vote. Colorado is planning to follow
Florida`s lead to purge voters from the rolls. The state`s Attorney
General and secretary of state are calling on Homeland Security to verify
the citizenship of 5,000 voters by July 20th. If Colorado gets away with
it, it will be allowed to use outdated and flawed databases to kick voters
off its rolls. Who`s pushing this?

Colorado`s Attorney General John Suthers. He`s also a member of Mitt
Romney`s leadership committee in Colorado. So, a top Romney supporter is
behind an effort that might stop thousands of minority voters from voting.
And get this. Just a day after starting this new push for a voter purge,
he appeared on stage with Mitt Romney. And he even got a shutout.


ROMNEY: Elected officials and I see the Attorney General is back
here. Attorney General Suthers, please stand to be recognized. Thank you,
General. I appreciate your being here.


He`s been leading my campaign in the state. I`m counting on him to
get me a win here. Are we going to win here in November?


SHARPTON: I`m counting on him to get me a win here. Sure. He`s my
guy. I`m counting on him. How`s that voting purge going? This follows a
top republican in Pennsylvania saying the new voter law will win the state
for Romney and Colorado officials claim 11 other states are planning
similar voting purges. Including swing states of Ohio and Iowa.

Well, if it sounds like voter suppression, if the effects are voter
suppression, if it looks like voter suppression, then maybe it`s voter
suppression. And that has nothing to do with an election. It has
everything to do with the democratic principles of this republic. And that
goes beyond November. It goes to the fabric of this country and we cannot
let that happen.

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


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