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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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Guests: Bernie Sanders, Daylin Leach, Bob Shrum, Dana Milbank

"politics nation." I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, truth and consequences and the Romney campaign. For
months, we witnessed the Romney campaign`s distortion of the truth.
Campaigns tell us a lot about the candidate, what kind of person they are,
and what kind of president they might be.

The truth matters. Too often in this campaign, Mitt Romney just
hasn`t been straight.

A week ago, the Romney campaign released this ad slamming President
Obama for something he said at a Virginia fund-raiser. Quote, "if you got
a business, you didn`t build that."

Romney`s trying to push the right wing line the president only
believes in government and doesn`t understand the private sector. The
problem is, Romney is out of a significant portion of the speech and
totally distorts the president`s point. The president was arguing that the
government can help job creators. Not that it is the only key to job

The Romney ad is deceiving and is wrong. And yet, it has become a
staple of his campaign. At a fund-raiser in Oakland last night, the
president called him out on it.


Romney was at it again, knowingly, twisting my words around to suggest I
don`t value small businesses. Now, you know, look, in politics, we all
tolerate a certain amount of spin. Although, you know, when folks just
like omit entire sentences of what you said, they start kind of slicing and
dicing, you may have gone over the edge there.


SHARPTON: A little over the edge there. Romney is now running on
this distortion but now details are emerging that undercut his message.

Check this out. This is Jack Gilchrist, a New Hampshire business
owner, better known as the star of the Romney ad. What you don`t know is
that his business received $800,000 paid of tax dollars, according to press
reports in New Hampshire.

And here is Mitt Romney yesterday, meeting with small business owners
at a roundtable event. Just look at that sign behind him. We build it.
But right next to Romney is Jim Burra, the CEO of a company that got more
than $41,000 worth of federal contracts. And Philip Ramos, over there on
the right. His company got more than $11 million in federal contracts.

Folks, we can`t make this up. But there`s more.

In Boston, last week Romney declared a local auto repair shop was,
quote, "not the result of government." But it turned out that the owner
was only able to build his business because of a bond issued by the local

But here`s hypocrisy defined. ABC uncovered video of Romney touting
federal money he got for his crowning achievement, the 2002 Olympics.


ROMNEY: We actually received over $10 million from the federal
government for the Olympic Games. That`s a huge increase over anything
ever done before. We did that you about going after every agency in


SHARPTON: The truth is negotiable for Governor Romney. And that`s
something we should all be concerned about. The American people deserve
better than that. We deserve the truth.

Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor-at-large with and an
MSNBC political analyst, and Jonathan Capehart, an opinion writer for "the
Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.

Joan, you were this last night when the president said Romney is over
the line with this. This seems different. What do you make of it?

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Well, I think the crowd was
so happy to hear, Reverend Al. I mean, you know, the president came out
and seemed a little bit tired. And that crowd was on fire and they revved
him up. And he just got stronger and stronger in hitting back against
Governor Romney, calling him out by name, talking about him slicing and
dicing. His words, assuring the audience, not in a we needed it, that he,
of course, values entrepreneurship, values people who build business.

And then, he really turned around and stuck it to Mitt Romney himself
and said that in fact, it is Romney who doesn`t understand what it takes to
succeed. And it really is shaping up, I think Reverend Al, to be kind of
the core decision of the campaign, whether we have a view of America where,
you know, success comes because we let rich people do whatever the heck
they want and keep all their money and maybe trickle some stuff down on to
the rest of us, or whether we agree as the president does that we don`t
grow from the top down. We grow from the middle class up. That the
government has played a role in all of our lives, whether it is educating
us about -- housing loans, building homes, building roads, et cetera, and
that we are all in this together.

And I think the president has really found his voice in a way thanks
to Romney picking on him so unfairly with this little --

SHARPTON: And he keeps bearing down on the message, Jonathan, on
CNBC. Here is Governor Romney yesterday on CNBC, doubling down on his
claim that the president is anti-free enterprise.


ROMNEY: This is an ideology that says, hey, we are all the same here.
We take from all and give to one another. And the achievement individual
initiative and risk taking and success are not to be rewarded as they have
in the past. It is a very strange and in something respects foreign to the
American experience type of philosophy.


SHARPTON: Jonathan, does it matter Romney is distorting things and
taking things out of context? Will this matter?

matter in that it gets -- it gets the whole conversation back on Mitt
Romney`s turf. All last week, all the last couple of, we, we have been
talking about Mitt Romney`s tax returns, his experience at Bain and in a
negative light. And all during that time, Mitt Romney was not able to go
on the offensive and attack the president in the ways he wanted.

By taking the president`s comment out of context and, you know, in the
way he`s doing it, it is very easy for people to understand it and very
easy to manipulate the message. Mitt Romney gets the conversation back on
his terms.

But you know, we all should not be surprised that Mitt Romney is doing
this. They -- his campaign signaled that this was going to be sort of
standard operating procedure. Earlier this year, when they took a quote
from then candidate Obama quoting senator McCain, his 2008 wait rival at --
excuse me, at a campaign rally. Remember, he was quoting senator McCain.
But in this Mitt Romney ad, he -- Romney put those McCain words into
Obama`s mouth.

SHARPTON: Yes. In the ad, he did not say that this was President
Obama quoting McCain. He played it as if this was President Obama speaking
for himself.

CAPEHART: Right. A direct quote. And that`s -- there`s a lot of
pushback on that from obviously the Obama campaign but also those of us in
the media who instantly saw that this was patently unfair and patently
untrue and yet, the Romney campaign just sloughed it off saying we did tell
you somewhere in the paper work that, you know, this was edited thusly.

SHARPTON: But Jonathan, is the political strategy here, is that once
they throw it out in the public it is out there and if they take it back
most people don`t know they took it back it is already out there in the
public mind?

CAPEHART: Exactly. And so, that`s why you have President Obama from
the campaign trail out there on the stump pushing back on this. One,
because it is a message to easily manipulate. But also, because the
president has a good -- has a good argument to push back against that

SHARPTON: Now Joan, there`s also the latest distortion. There is
another one.

From Romney, according to Mitt Romney, Australia`s foreign minister,
Bob Carr, told him foreign leaders are saying America is seen as a failing
nation. Quote, "America is just one budget deal away from ending all talk
of America being in decline."

Except, it turns out foreign minister Carr was actually expressing his
confidence in the U.S. economy. A spokesman for Carr told the national
times of Australia, quote, "that interpretation is not correct."

Now, how can we expect him to be straight in any of his dealings,

WALSH: Well, I think that`s just such a shocking example, Reverend
Al. And one of the worst examples really of how low he will go in this
campaign. Because, really, to use a foreign leader`s comments against our
president, I mean, that would be the definition of just a terrible
treasonous thing if a Democrat ever did it. If a Democrat said the French
don`t like George Bush, you know, that would be badge of honor on the
Republican side.

But they think that they can get away with using any kind of
ammunition they can against the president. One, this is false. But two,
why would it seem like a good idea to say some other leader doesn`t like
our leader? I mean, aren`t we proud of our country? Aren`t we proud of
our leaders?

So, it is just anything goes. And this larger narrative about, you
know, not getting help and -- I -- it is hilarious. Its campaign
malpractice that they keep coming up with these guys, and I think they are
all guys, who have gotten government help. And that`s because so many
people have. They may not know it. They may not admit it. But this is
the way our government helps businesses.


WALSH: And so, they can`t even stay on message within their own

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

Joan Walsh, Jonathan Capehart, thank you both, for your time.

WALSH: Thank you.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, what a brand-new NBC poll reveals about the
president`s campaign message and Mitt Romney`s trouble with taxes.

Plus, a stunning admission from Republicans promoting a voter ID law
in Pennsylvania, reminding us the real reason they are pushing it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Voter ID, which will allow Governor Romney to win
the state of Pennsylvania, done.


SHARPTON: And Jackson family turmoil. How are Michael`s kids? Where
is Katherine Jackson? We will talk exclusively with Randy and Janet

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: A top Senate Republican defends tax cuts for the rich by
saying President Obama talks too much about the middle class. Incredible.
I will get into that with senator Bernie Sanders next.


SHARPTON: Republicans just say the darnedest things. I mean, just
listen to Senator Kyl.


SEN. JON KYL (R), ARIZONA: We have a president who talks incessantly
about plans particularly the middle class. Maybe you noticed that. And
each day the president is out on the campaign trail championing himself as
the great protector of what he calls the middle class. And pitting these
Americans against their fellow citizens you about by arguing the wealthiest
class is victimizing them through the tax code. I just think the whole
discussion of class is wrong. It is not what we do here in America.


SHARPTON: That`s not what we do in America? Was that intended to be
a factual statement, senator? The truth of the matter is that t GOP should
be talking about the middle class and ways to help it. But they are not.
Not in the least. Not seriously.

For months, Republicans have proudly carried around their note cards
that show all their jobs plans for the working class. Yet a new report
says those bills won`t actually create jobs. That`s right. One economist
even says, quote, "a lot of these proposals are laughable."

Funny. I`m not laughing. Well, at least they won`t let taxes
increase on the middle class. Right?


anybody`s taxes go up at the end of the year.

create more jobs.

focusing on making sure the taxes don`t go up on anybody.


SHARPTON: You heard them. They are not going to raise taxes except -
- well, maybe it looks like they might. Right now Republicans are refusing
to pass a tax plan that would help 98 percent of Americans. Why? Well,
because they don`t want the top two percent to pay a penny more.

No wonder Senator Kyl wants us to stop talking about the middle class.
His party dropped them from the conversation already.

Joining me now is Senator Bernie Sanders, Independent from Vermont.

Senator Sanders, thanks for your time this evening.


SHARPTON: Let me get this straight. A party that hates tax increases
is willing to raise taxes on 98 percent of Americans. Can you explain that
to me, senator?

SANDERS: Sure. These guys see that their function in life is to
protect the wealthiest people in America. Al, in America today, as you
well know, we have the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of
any major country on earth. It is worse today in America than any time
since 1928.

Last study I saw between 2010 and 2009, 93 percent of all new income
went to the top one percent. Middle class is shrinking. Poverty is
increasing. What`s the Republican solution, let`s give more tax breaks to
the very wealthiest people of this country, the millionaires and the
billionaires, and then let`s cut programs that the middle class desperately
needs, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Education. That, in a
nutshell, is the Republican proposal.

SHARPTON: Now Senator, it turns out that the GOP tax plan would
actually raise taxes on the working class in this country. "New York
Times" points out that the Republicans` plan would extend tax cuts for 2.7
million affluent families while allowing tax breaks to expire for 13
million on the bottom of the income spectrum. I mean, this is outrageous.

SANDERS: Al, we don`t use the word outrageous here in the Senate
anymore because every day there is one thing after another that has
literally beyond the moral compass or beyond even good economics.

Look, there is a war that is going on right now. That`s what citizens
united is about. The billionaires, we identified today, 25 separate
billionaires who are spending at least a quarter of a million dollars, at
least, on campaigns right now. The billionaires are not satisfied with the
fact that the top one percent owns 40 percent of the wealth in America.
They want more and more and more. And if they can crush working families
and lower income people by cutting back on Pell grants, cutting back on
food stamps, cutting back on Social Security, it doesn`t matter. That`s
not what their interest is. They want it all. And that`s the situation
here in Washington.

SHARPTON: All right. If you don`t use the term outrageous in the
Senate anymore, maybe repugnant.


SHARPTON: Maybe --

SANDERS: Use the word - you`re a reverend, use the word, morality.
When you give tax breaks to billionaires and punish old people and sick
people and children that is a moral issue.

SHARPTON: Well, let me show you something that I would call
interesting. Senator Jon Kyl actually compared the richest in this country
to Michael Jordan yesterday. Watch this.


KYL: When Michael Jordan came after he established how great he would
be, he was given an enormous, almost unheard of, salary. Did the other
players say that`s not fair? No, actually all the other players got big
salary increases, too. The whole franchise did well. The people selling
popcorn in the stands. The people parking the cars. And certainly every
one of the members of the team made much more money than they ever would
have had Michael Jordan not come to the team.


SHARPTON: So maybe I`m not understanding this since I don`t sit in
the Senate and get Senate logic, but is he saying the rich have been like
Michael Jordan for the rest of the country? And in terms of bringing us
all as team players to championships? I mean, what`s he saying?

SANDERS: I think -- well, I think what he`s trying to do, Al, is too
defend the trickle-down economic theory. And that is when we have a growth
in billionaires and in millionaires which we have seen in recent years,
theoretically, everybody is supposed to be doing better.

But you know and the American people know that is not true. Yes, the
wealthiest people are becoming much wealthier. But median family income
for middle class people has gone down, poverty has increased.

I don`t know about Michael Jordan. But I do know that the people that
are selling popcorn at the Chicago Bulls basketball game are not doing
particularly well. Nor are the people parking the cars.

What we are seeing now is a huge and growing gap between the people on
top and everybody else. That`s the reality of America and if we don`t
change that, you are going to say good-bye to the middle class and the
future of our country.

SHARPTON: Senator Bernie Sanders, thanks for your time this evening.

SANDERS: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Still ahead -- what the results about brand-new NBC poll
reveal about the president`s message and Mitt Romney`s record at Bain
Capital. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Folks, have you joined us on facebook yet? That`s where
the conversation happens all day long.

Lots of people were talking today about the Pennsylvania voter ID law.
The new law is being challenged in court tomorrow.

Amy has got her fingers crossed for the court battle. Quote,
"hopefully Pennsylvania will set a precedent and stop this madness."

The president`s latest ad was another big talk on our facebook page.

Punky says President Obama, quote, "speaks from the heart. You can
believe him. There`s nothing phony about him."

While Sid says, more ads like this one, please. It makes me feel like
there`s hope.

We will show you the ad she is talking about a little later in the
show. 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.


SHARPTON: We are back with big developments in the 2012 campaign.
New poll numbers and new ad from President Obama in which he`s defining the
choice in this election and articulating his vision for the middle class.


OBAMA: Governor Romney`s plan would cut taxes for the folks at the
very top, roll back regulations on big banks, and he says that if we do our
economy will grow and everyone will benefit. But you know what? We tried
that top-down approach. It is what caused the mess in the first place. I
believe the only way to create an economy built to last is to strengthen
the middle class. Asking the wealthy to pay a little more so we can pay
down our debt in a balanced way. Sometimes politics can seem very small.
But the choice you face, it couldn`t be bigger.


SHARPTON: So, how do voters feel about this choice? The President
has a six-point lead over Mitt Romney nationwide. Forty nine percent to 43
percent. And as advantage grows on the all-important question of who is
looking out for the middle class. Forty nine percent of voters say, the
President does a better job on that compared to just 33 percent for Romney.
The new poll also suggests that Romney has been hurt by all of the
questions about his taxes and his time at Bain Capital. Questions that
he`s repeatedly failed to address.


meeting or single participation in an investment decision by Bain or
personnel decision. But you know understand the opposition research people
at the Obama campaign want more information if they`ve been trying to dig
through it. You know, what? I put out as much as we are going to put out.
Once I added this year. And that`s the information.


SHARPTON: Thirty two percent of Americans now have a more negative
view of Romney after hearing the reports about his tax returns. Just four
have a more positive opinion. And 23 percent now have a negative view of
Bain Capital. Just 12 percent have a positive view. From the beginning,
Romney has tried to make this election simply a referendum on the
president. But the polling shows voters are viewing it as a choice between
two candidates and two very different ways of seeing the world.

Joining me now is democratic strategist Bob Shrum who ran Ted
Kennedy`s campaign against Romney back in 1994. And Dana Milbank,
columnist for The Washington Post. Thank you both for being here.



SHARPTON: Bob, are you surprised to see the attacks on Bain and
Romney`s tax returns, having an effect?

SHRUM: No, I always thought they would. They had a huge effect in
1994. I thought the beltway dismissal of them at the beginning was
entirely wrong. Look, there are a lot -- there`s a lot of polling noise
out there, Rev. But what this poll, which I think is the gold standard,
the NBC "Wall Street Journal" poll tells us, is Romney has had a bad month.
The problem he has is not the dog on the roof of his car. It is Bain on
the roof of his campaign.

And it is not just Bain. It is a combination of Bain, the offshore
tax haven, Swiss bank accounts, refusal to release the tax returns. Now,
those are all going to be around as issues through the rest of this
campaign but they are part after larger narrative which as you pointed out
a minute ago is a basic question. Who stands up for the middle class and
who stands for the few?

So, you are going for example on Medicare, the president is going to
go after Romney and say supports a plan that would privatize it,
voucherize it and Medicare as we know it. And cost the average senior
$6400 more a year. So, I think the President`s campaign against the
economic head winds and against a lot of the beltway advice has done a very
good job to this point of setting the definition of this campaign as a
choice. Who is for the middle class? And who is going to stand up for the

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, when you hear the choice Bob is talking about,
let me play the clips from the President and from Governor Romney. One
promoting economic fairness, the other economic freedom.


OBAMA: I think we grow the economy by making sure everybody has got a
fair shot. And everybody is doing their fair share. And everybody is
playing by the same set of rules.

ROMNEY: We have to restore economic freedom in this country. Let me
-- you see, America`s economy runs on freedom. It is not driven by


SHARPTON: Now, when you go and play both sides, this is their
message, when you test the message, are you more likely to vote for a
candidate who fights for fairness, strengthen the middle class? Eighty
percent. Restore economic freedom and small government, 68 percent.
That`s what this poll reveals, Dana.

MILBANK: Yes. That`s right, Reverend. And I think when, you know,
listening to what the Tea Party has been doing for the last couple of
years, you would think that America and our founding principles and our
culture is only about freedom and liberty. But it is also about community
and cooperation and that sense of fairness. So, it is not at all
surprising that that sort of number would be coming out now.

And I agree with Bob that it is not at all surprising that these kinds
of attacks would be working because it is not just about some abstract
company called Bain. It is not just some abstract notion of where your tax
havens are. It fits very closely with the -- vulnerability of Romney and
that he`s perceived as being a rich guy, he was out of touch with ordinary
Americans with the middle class.

If it is strictly referendum on the economy, Obama loses this
election. The fact that he is doing so well at this point despite the
economy being so weak shows that this line of attack works quite well.

SHARPTON: Now, when the question was raised, Bob, about who was
better on dealing with the economy, President Obama, 37 percent. Mitt
Romney, 43 percent. How does the President deal with this number?

SHRUM: Well, he is going to have to keep working on the economy.
He`s going to have to hope it gets better. But he is not relying on hope.
And that`s why there is an alternative definition to this race. Mitt
Romney wanted this race to be simply the following. If you kind of feel
bad about the economy, if you are kind of dissatisfied, you might as well
try me. I couldn`t do worse. But the problem he`s got is as this shifts,
at least to being in part the question of who fights for the middle class,
Romney has no narrative.

He hasn`t created any kind of story about himself that would tell
people he cares about them or identifies with them. Dana is absolutely
right. He`s not only of the rich, he seems to be by the rich, for the
rich, and doesn`t understand ordinary people in the middle class. You
know, you can be rich. Jack Kennedy was rich, Franklin Roosevelt was rich.
But people thought they understood what was happening in the lives of
people. That`s not true with Mitt Romney. He`s got a real problem, I
think, going forward here.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana. I was a little surprised because a lot of
people give the President good marks on foreign policy and after Bin Laden
and other things. But today, Mitt Romney spoke to the veterans for foreign
wars and came on very tough, came really after the President on foreign
policy. Watch this.


ROMNEY: The President has diminished American leadership. We are
reaping the consequences. President Obama is fond of lecturing Israel`s
leaders. He was even caught by a microphone deriding them. This is very
simple. If you don`t want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I`m
not your president.


SHARPTON: Yet, when you look at this new poll, brand-new poll, who is
better at handling foreign policy? President far distance as Romney.
Forty seven percent to 32 percent. Now, is that the reason Governor Romney
is trying to come on so strong against him on foreign policy? Or -- I
mean, what are we looking at here? Because it would seem to me that would
be a weak area for Romney.

MILBANK: You would think so but he needs to do the speech because he
is heading off on this foreign trip and needs to draw some distinctions
that aren`t necessarily there. I think the thing that struck me about the
speech was that`s just breathtaking level of mendacity and suggesting that
it is Obama who wants to go and devastate defense spending when in fact,
that`s been brought about by the refusal on Governor Romney`s own side to
increase taxes.

So, I think it is important for Romney to draw distinctions on foreign
policy because he is not known for having any sort of a foreign policy
record. He needs to build up his credentials in that area. Hard to see
that this is going to be a defining issue -- the election and to the extent
it is that -- the guy who finally got Osama bin Laden is going to be at a
disadvantage with voters in November.

SHARPTON: Bob Shrum, Dana Milbank, thank you for your time tonight.

SHRUM: Thank you, Rev.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the day before a major hearing rallies against
Pennsylvania voter I.D. laws today. And now, we are learning Pennsylvania
officials made a big revelation in court documents. Big story. Plus, how
one tough 80-year-old and some fruit saved the day. Your summer break is
coming up.


SHARPTON: We are back with a pause from the political battles of the
day. Time to rest, relax and recharge. That`s right. It is time for the
POLITICS NATION summer break.

And we start tonight in the southwest of China. And Mitt Romney`s
employees enjoying on a lunch break. Joking, joking. There`s the bridge
parachuting challenge. Base jumpers freefell off the world`s highest
suspension bridge. Twenty seven men and three women from 15 countries took
on the challenge. Hmm, looks like I have a new bridge to sell the

Up from China to Pittsburgh, where 200-pound bear is looking for some
bargains at the mall. The bear came in through an open door making his way
over to sears and browse for about ten minutes. When asked why he was in
sears, the bear responded, Newt is over at Tiffany`s. Just kidding Newt,
just kidding.

And in New Bedford, Massachusetts, an 80-year-old granny saw two men
stealing at the grocery store and took action with mangoes. Look at her
pelting away with produce. She chased the robbers right out the door where
the cops caught them. Hey, Paul Ryan, chalk up another win for Medicare.
And that`s today`s summer break.


SHARPTON: Now, to a POLITICS NATION exclusive. A dispute among
members of Michael Jackson`s family has now turned into public drama with
reports in the media raising questions about what`s happening with his
mother and his three children.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Nobody knows what`s going on. The kids are
saying, we haven`t been in touch with our grandmother. And you have you
another side say nothing, no, grandma is totally fine.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Paris tweeted, "Eight days and counting. I want to
talk directly to my grandmother." Why the grandkids still can`t talk to
her? Unclear. Jermaine says, the whole grandma is missing saga is quote,
"a conspiracy to deflect attention away from a letter we wrote asking for
the resignation of executors."

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Allegedly Randy, Jermaine and Janet, three of our
children, came to the house with a camera crew and tried to remove the
children from the home.




SHARPTON: We are back with a stunning new revelation in the legal
fight over a controversial voter I.D. law in the battleground state of
Pennsylvania. In a document filed ahead of a hearing tomorrow, republican
officials say, quote, there have been no investigations or prosecutions of
in-person voter fraud in Pennsylvania. The state agreed not offer any
evidence or argument that in person voter fraud is likely to occur November
2012 in the absence of the photo ID law. Folks, this is big. It directly
corrects what the state`s governor said back in March when he signed the
voter ID bill into law.


GOV. TOM CORBETT (R), PENNSYLVANIA: Contrary to some claims, this
bill does not interfere with anyone`s legal right to vote. It prevents
people from cheating in our elections. Some have argued that there is no
evidence of voter fraud. I don`t necessarily agree with that. This is a
law of prevention. It is to prevent voter fraud.


SHARPTON: This law isn`t about voter fraud. It is about winning in
November. As one of the state`s top Republicans admitted last month.


going to allow Governor Romney-to-win the state of Pennsylvania, done.



SHARPTON: Joining me now is State Senator Daylin Leach, democrat from
Pennsylvania. He has been a leader in the fight against the new voter ID
law there and he plans to introduce a bill to repeal it. Senator, thanks
for being here.

tonight, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Now, state officials admitting there`s no evidence of in-
person voter fraud in the state. How do you respond to that?

LEACH: Well, this is really stunning, Reverend. I mean, first of
all, there is a court hearing tomorrow where the state has to defend the
constitutionality of this law. And one of the things they have to prove is
that the state has a compelling interest because it is a fundamental right
to vote, they have a compelling interest in this law.

Well, how do you have a compelling interest in solving a problem that
never happens? As you pointed out, they have been saying for months, we
have to pass this law because -- and it was always sort of undefined, a lot
of voter fraud. Many, many cases. We don`t know how many. Well now, we
do know how many. Zero. Nothing at all.

SHARPTON: And they are saying -- they`re admitting zero. They`re
admitting there is nothing there.

LEACH: That`s correct. That has been our position for months. Now
they have finally admitted it. So, they are left with extremely weak case
in court. They have to go in and convince a judge that this law is needed
to stop a problem in the future that is never in 180 years since
photography was invented happened in the past.

SHARPTON: It is quite an admission and -- particularly when we played
the tape, where they`ve said this about fraud, where they`ve said that we
have got to deal with the problem, when there is no problem. This is a
solution looking for a problem.

LEACH: You are absolutely right. And it is not their only admission
since the -- since we passed this bill. They`ve also -- when they passed
the bill, they said over 99 percent of people already had the ID they
needed to vote. Now they`ve admitted 9.2 percent. Seven hundred and fifty
eight thousand Pennsylvanians will be disenfranchised.

That`s also their admission. We think it is more than that. But even
that number, disenfranchising 758,000 Americans to stop a problem that
never, ever happens. This is about one thing. And it is about what the
leader Turzai said, it`s about electing Republicans in the fall.

SHARPTON: State Senator Daylin Leach, thank you for your time

LEACH: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Thanks for all of you watching. And let me say,
Republicans have been screaming fraud, protecting their dignity to vote.
Then, when it comes out to it, nothing there. I keep telling you, fish
wouldn`t get caught if they kept their mouth shut.

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


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