PoliticsNation, Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Read the transcript from the Tuesday show
Guests: Bob Shrum, Nia-Malika Henderson, Terry O`Neill, Debbie Wasserman
Schultz, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, Wayne Slater
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, POLITICS NATION: Welcome to "Politics
Nation." I`m Al Sharpton live tonight from Washington, D.C.
We have breaking news tonight. In this hour, house Republicans will launch
a vote on a bill banning abortion in Washington, D.C. after 20 weeks.
Right now, they are debating the bill. Folks, meet your Republican
Congress at a time when poverty is skyrocketing and at a time when millions
are out of work. And at a time when folks can barely keep food on the
table, they are wasting time voting on laws restricting abortion even when
they know they will go nowhere. But speaker Boehner pretends to care about
what really matters.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The American people are
continuing to ask the question -- where are the jobs? The American people
are still asking the question, where are the jobs? Where the jobs? Mr.
President, where are the jobs?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I hope he`s looking in the mirror when he`s asking that. Let`s
go to the record.
Republicans have consistently put forth bills that even economists say
won`t create jobs. Yet, they pushed 14 anti-abortion measures. And here`s
now how radical today`s vote is. This law would send D.C. doctors to jail
for up to two years for performing abortions past 20 weeks. This
criminalizes abortion. Yet, it has 222 co-sponsors, 222. How`s that for a
priority? How is that for an agenda?
And over in the Senate today, senator McConnell pushed to repeal the
affordable care act. One day before key women`s health provisions going
into effect things like coverage for contraception, coverage for domestic
violence screenings, but Democrats continue to fight today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI (D), MARYLAND: Women will have access to the health
care that their doctor says they need. Not what an insurance company says
they need or what some right winger wants to take away from them.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D), NEW YORK: Yes, it is a war on women, because if
they really cared about women and didn`t like Obama care they would have a
proposal on the floor.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Do you really want to take away these
benefits from women, from children, from men, from families? Yes. I guess
you do. I guess you stand for going back to the old days.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s just it. Republicans are living in the past. They are
attacking women`s rights at a time when this country needs jobs, jobs,
Joining me now is Terry O`Neill, president of the National Organization for
Women and Nia-Malika Henderson, political reporter for "the Washington
Let me thank you both of you for joining me tonight.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks.
TERRY O`NEILL, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN: Great to be
SHARPTON: Terry, this bill is radical. I mean, it actually criminalizes
abortion. And yet it has 222 co-sponsors. I mean, how`s that for the GOP
O`NEILL: I know. Reverend, you are absolutely right. And I think that
what we need to do right now is focus on removing those people from the
House of Representatives. We need to defeat them in November, as many of
them as we possibly can. There are a number of Republican representatives
that are at risk. They are vulnerable this year. And we need to go after
them and we need to see how they vote this evening. But many of them are
already on record voting the wrong way in this ongoing war on women. And
we simply need to replace them.
SHARPTON: Now Nia-Malika, the GOP bill that is being put forth for this
vote today was first introduced by Arizona congressman Trent Franks who is
a Republican. And it has 222 sponsors as I said, co-sponsors, 216 of them
are Republican and 204 of them are men.
Now, what also was something to note is the bill was discussed in a hearing
back in May, yet delegate Eleanor Holmes Morton, the district`s lone non-
voting member of congress, was not allowed to even speak about it. Yet the
bill is about her district -- Nia.
HENDERSON: Right. That`s -- that`s pretty remarkable. I think this is
going to give Democrats a chance to really return again to a theme that did
them some good in terms of polls among women. And that is this idea that
Republicans were going to roll back women`s rights, roll back women`s
access to health care. They have gain contraction, I think, in the polls
certainly showed they were leading among Republicans. What`s interesting
here is that you do see something of a division between the sorts of
campaign Romney wants to run, very much wants to a focus on the economy.
And the sorts of campaign that these Congress folks want to run in
congress, the Republicans who also are, of course, are up for re-election
So, there is a lot of daylight in some ways in terms of at least what
Romney wants to talk about in and what Republicans on the hill want to talk
about. But I do think you are going to see Democrats obviously try to link
the two and really try to frame Romney as someone who is -- who also wants
to roll back women`s rights. And you have seen these ads specifically in
Virginia, casting Romney as an enemy of Planned Parenthood, enemy of
And so I think that`s going to be an interesting development. We will have
to see what comes out of the vote today. Which I don`t think it has any
chance of passing pit think it needs 280 votes. And I don`t think that
SHARPTON: You know, I don`t think it has a chance either. But, what is
interesting, though, is that they are winding down, headed for break, that
they are even going through this -- that`s probably futile rather than
going through some job creation which they claim they want. But then they
have consistently been on this anti-women or war against women kind of
proposals and not dealing with jobs.
I mean, look at the agenda. They voted to defund Planned Parenthood. They
fought the birth control mandate. They voted to ban D.C. from using
district funds for abortions. So I mean, they have been -- I mean, just
over and over and over again, aggressive in these fights against women`s
rights and not nearly as aggressive in terms of fighting for jobs.
And Nia-Malika is raising about well, Romney`s running a different campaign
but he`s not denounced any of these efforts by them.
O`NEILL: No. I -- Romney has become the enemy of Planned Parenthood. He
has become the enemy of women`s access to reproductive health care. I
don`t think there`s any doubt about that.
And you know, it is really interesting, I think that if Romney succeeds in
focusing on the economy, he will lose independent women voters because his
economic plan is devastating to women. And once women start really paying
attention to that, he`s going to lose the independent women`s vote.
It is and entirely possible that maybe these reckless attacks on women`s
access to reproductive health care are really intended to rev up the
Republican base precisely because independent women, there will be -- I
predict there will be a very significant gender gap when we finally reach
November, when the independent women really begin looking at Romney`s
economic plans for women.
And beyond that, I think that she raises a really important question, at
least in my mind. What is behind this reckless attack on women? It is
creating an enormous gender gap, certainly on the part of Democrats and it
makes it more likely that these vulnerable Republicans in the house will be
defeated. You know, as far as I`m concerned, this is -- they are pursuing
an agenda that needs to be stopped and all of the enablers of extremists
like Trent Franks need to be stopped and need to be replaced.
SHARPTON: No. It is not even politically wise. One of the reasons we
wanted to lead with this tonight, Nia-Malika, is tomorrow, tomorrow
morning, 47 million will get guaranteed coverage for preventative services,
including contraception, contraceptives, domestic violence counseling,
well-women visits, tomorrow morning. Yet, they have done all they could,
senators like Mitch McConnell are bent on getting rid of the affordable
care act that makes this go into effect tomorrow which will do huge things
for women starting tomorrow.
HENDERSON: And you can imagine that Democrats and certainly the Obama
campaign will talk about this and you see that already that they are being
able to -- they are able to target certain groups around of this. Not only
women, Latinos and African-Americans really tout some of the benefits for
Obama care and you do have Republicans who are very insistent of they want
to roll back Obama care, what they would replace it with, no sense of that
But it is interesting that on one hand you feel like Republicans do have
something of an entryway in terms of talking about the economy and talking
about the jobs and talking about this president`s record so far but they
are in some ways using these very divisive cultural issues to gin up their
base. Whether or not that will work or whether or not that works for them
in November to give Mitt Romney a boost because he certainly needs that
among conservatives. I think it is an open question but important now I
think you do see if you look at polls people are overwhelmingly concerned
about jobs in the economy and these sort of divisive social issues just
aren`t where people are in terms of what they are thinking about in terms
of this election.
SHARPTON: It may gin up their oppositions base.
But anyway, Terry O`Neill and Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you both for your
time this evening.
HENDERSON: Thank you, Rev.
O`NEILL: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Ahead, Willard Romney will come to even more controversy as a
bombshell, a real bombshell accusation on his taxes comes out from one of
the most powerful politicians in the country.
Plus, the former Republican Party chair in Florida is spilling secrets. He
says his party actively tried to suppress the black vote. Florida
congresswoman Debbie Wassermann Schultz joins us live.
And the cost of Republican extremism is gridlock at a time when people need
leadership? Republican members of Congress are talking big story today.
You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Folks, have you joined us on facebook yet? That`s where the
"Politics Nation" conversation happens 24/7. Today people were talking
about voter suppression.
Marquest reminds us that the first step to have stopping voter suppression
is to expose it.
And Deidre has got the second step. She urges all people who know someone
that doesn`t have the right ID to help that person get it, quote, "we have
got to stand up."
John called out the GOP `s false claims on voter fraud. Quote, "it is a
voter fraud, fraud and no, that wasn`t a fraudian slip."
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 airs. We hope to see you there.
SHARPTON: We are back with a bombshell accusation in the controversy over
Mitt Romney`s failure to release more tax returns.
The claim comes from the top democrat in the U.S. Senate, majority leader
Harry Reid. Part of an interview he gave to "the Huffington Post," the
article says, quote, "a month or so ago, Reid said a person who had
invested with Bain Capital called his office and said, quote, Harry, he
didn`t pay any taxes for ten years. Reid recounting the person as saying,
now, do I know that that`s true? Well, I`m not certain," said Reid. But
obviously he can`t release those tax returns. How would it look?
Folks, this is a dramatic escalation of a controversy over Romney`s taxes.
The speculation is coming from one of the most powerful politicians in the
country. And it comes just days after Romney was caught off guard with
another question about his taxes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Was there ever any year when you paid lower
than the 13.9 percent?
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I haven`t calculated that. I`m
happy to go back and look but -- my view is I have paid all the taxes
required by law.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Romney still hasn`t come back with an answer on that. And he still hasn`t
addressed the question about his finances. The American people have a
right to know more.
Joining me now is democratic strategist Bob Shrum who ran Ted Kennedy`s
campaign against Romney in 1994. And back with us is Nia-Malika Henderson,
political reporter for "the Washington Post."
Now Bob, let me start with you. Senator Reid said he didn`t know if this
claim about Romney`s taxes was true. What`s your take on the fact he was
willing to put this into play at all?
BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, let me put this in context.
Romney is returning from the worst foreign trip of any presidential
candidate since his father went to Vietnam and came home and said he had
As I wrote in my column in "the Daily Beast" today, he must have been
sitting in that stadium saying, oh, to be in Ohio now that the Olympics are
here. Well, he`s going to be back in Ohio and he is going to face these
questions. And I think Harry Reid just went out there and said what a lot
of us are thinking and some of us have already said if you have been in a
presidential campaign, you want to release those returns. You sit down and
you look at them and the only reason you wouldn`t release them is if
there`s something profoundly embarrassing in there.
And I think this is going to dog Romney all the way through the fall. He`s
going to have to either put them out there or just stonewall and if he
didn`t pay taxes for any number of years or if he has a lot more Swiss bank
accounts or offshore accounts, he`s going to keep stonewalling.
Look, he`s already been embarrassed. I mean, he got a bigger deduction for
his wife`s dancing horse than the average middle class family earns in a
year. So, I think we are dash I think he will stonewall. I think there is
something really bad in the returns and I think Harry Reid is probably
SHARPTON: Now Nia-Malika, when you look at it just politically, look at
the fact that polls show 54 percent say that he should release more tax
returns. Forty four percent think that it will include more damaging
information. If you are advising Willard Mitt Romney, why wouldn`t you
tell him to release more given this view? Got over half of those polls
saying you should release more, and you have almost half, over 40 percent
saying that they think because he`s not releasing it there`s something more
damaging. Why wouldn`t you tell him to release it other than whatever he
would release is more damaging than not releasing them?
HENDERSON: That`s right. You have heard calls from prominent Republicans
saying he should release a couple more returns, at least and even people in
his own camp. There is a bit of discussion about whether or not to release
additional tax returns. He has been a very steadfast in his refusal to
release additional tax returns. And he has had that position going way
back to 1994 when he first ran for Senate.
I think he has judged that whatever is in those tax returns are more -- is
more damaging than stonewalling and so far he has been able to get away
with that and he is betting the only person who will be thinking about Mitt
Romney`s tax returns on Election Day is Mitt Romney when he goes into the
voting booth there. I think, again, or -- Democrats have been very good at
have this narrative Mitt Romney is out of touch, he`s wealthy and doesn`t
have to play by the same rules as everyone else. And he -- I think when on
this foreign trip in some ways hoping to change the subject, hoping to get
SHARPTON: Oh, he changed the subject all right.
HENDERSON: He did change the subject and not in a good way. But he going
to come back, I think, and face more questions. And he`s going to be
haunted by that statement in that interview where he says he would be more
than happy to go back and look and see what tax rate he paid well beyond
the years he`s released.
And I think he is going to get more of those questions and I think it goes
back again to the Romney campaign has a way of trying to avoid the press.
We saw that overseas when they had a confrontation over there with the
press. I think when he gets back here, these questions are going to
continue to dog him.
SHARPTON: Now Bob, you managed campaigns against him including Ted
Kennedy`s campaign. Will he cave in or do you think that no matter what
they are going to dig in and maintain this position that they are not
giving any more information now?
SHRUM: Look, I think Nia-Malika is right. The fact of the matter is that
he`s got some smart people who work for him. They have -- they -- he
either hasn`t told them what`s in the returns because they are afraid even
to tell them or they have sat down, looked around the table, finally looked
at each other and said, we can`t afford to release these.
One of the things I don`t understand is this guy has been running for
president since 2002. When he ran for governor of Massachusetts in 2002,
he was already heading for a White House run. Why in the world wouldn`t he
fix his taxes in those subsequent years? He didn`t have to take every
deduction he was entitled to. A prudent person would have seen to it they
could release those returns. But I don`t think he`s that kind of person.
I think instinctively he does or says the wrong thing. I mean the example
that Nia-Malika just cites where he says yes, you know, I will be happy go
back and look and come back to you. That`s going to haunt him. And
because he`s instinctively bad and it goes back to I like to fire people,
I`m also unemployed, all of it -- we have -- corporations are people and
you went home to walk your dog bank of America that night, I remember.
But -- he -- there is this narrative out there that I think has taken hold
and he`s gone through a whole month or more than a month now where we have
been talking about Bain, we have been talking about his offshore accounts,
we have been talking about his taxes and good Lord, for the last week, we
talked about the folly of this trip overseas.
SHARPTON: Well, let me give you something else to talk about, Nia-Malika,
because he`s not the only one that seems instinctively bad. Let me show
you what an aide of his did with the media today in Poland.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governor Romney! Are you concerned about some of the
mishaps on your trip?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Romney, do you have a statement for the
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about your gaffe?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor Romney, do you feel your gaffes have
overshadowed your foreign trip?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a holy site for the polish people. Show some
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They have a strange way of respecting holy sites,
don`t you think?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a holy site for the polish people. Show some
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: They have a strange way of respect in holy sites, don`t you
HENDERSON: In some ways, yes. That was, of course, was Rich Gorka, who is
the press wrangler out there and whose job, quite frankly, is to defend and
deflect questions from the press and to defend Mitt Romney from having to
answer those. And I have been out there shouting questions to Mitt Romney
often in that scenario. And I think the press clearly frustrate order that
trip they didn`t get a many questions. I think it was three altogether.
He did do some interviews with the national press but the traveling press
corps very much invested in asking him questions, on getting him to respond
to what many people judge to be a disastrous trip from the very beginning.
Starting in London and some remarks he made in Israel that were offensive
HENDERSON: So, you saw that frustration bubbling over. And I think many
times lower level staff members reflect a greater frustration from the
higher levels of a staff.
SHARPTON: Yes, That`s true but they -- they rarely extend such invitations
to the media.
SHARPTON: Thank you, Bob Shrum., Nia-Malika Henderson, double duty
tonight. Thank you. Thanks for your time tonight.
SHRUM: Thank you.
HENDERSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, a former top Republican says party officials have
been plotting to suppress minority voters. So, what are Democrats going to
do about it? We will talk to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Plus, think you got Olympic fever? Check out this guy. One of London`s
finest brought some moves in our summer break. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Florida is a state where presidential elections have been won
and lost. And it`s become a central battleground in the fight over voting
rights. Florida is among 19 states to pass restrictive voting laws since
2010. Republican officials there have enacted measures to limit early
voting, restrict voting -- voter registration, and purge voters from the
rolls entirely. An estimated 87 percent of the voters on the original
purge list were minorities. And they were more likely to be Democrats and
That`s bad enough. But a former chairman of Florida`s Republican Party has
some new accusations that are even worse. In court documents released last
week, Jim Grier talked about attending a GOP meeting where political
consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping
blacks from voting. He said, quote, "They talked about not letting blacks
vote and minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party,"
end of quote.
These accusations are disturbing to say the least. So what`s being done
Joining me now is Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz,
chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
Congresswoman, thank you for joining me tonight.
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL), DNC CHAIRWOMAN: Thanks for having me
again, Reverend Al. It`s great to be with you.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you first what`s your reaction to these claims about
suppressing the black vote from the former state chair of the Republican
Party of Florida?
SCHULTZ: Well, the former chairman of the Republican Party in Florida, Jim
Grier, would certainly know, and those are some explosive allegations. In
Florida, we have been struggling, Democrat versus Republican, since 2000.
Democrats fighting to make sure that we can get as much access to the polls
for eligible voters as we can and get their votes counted and Republicans
have been doing the opposite.
Republicans since 2000 from when they shut down the recount and prevented
lawfully and legally cast ballots from being counted to the last two years
since they took over the governor`s mansions and they`ve held the
governor`s mansions and the legislature, that passed laws designed to make
sure that fewer people can get access to the polls.
So what we`re doing is making sure that in spite of all that effort to
prevent people from getting to the polls, the Obama campaign and the
Democratic Party is making sure that we can get people the answer to their
questions about how to register, about where the polling place is, about
what they`re going to need to bring to the polls and people can log on to
gottavote.org, G-O-T-T-A-V-O-T-E.org, and get the information and answer to
those questions because the Democratic Party is going to do everything we
can to make sure that regardless of whether you speak English or Spanish,
regardless of where you live, if you are eligible to vote and lawfully
eligible to vote, we are going to doing everything we can to make sure that
you can cast that ballot. The Republicans are doing everything they can to
SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman, you know I`ve spent some time in Florida
lately in that section --
SCHULTZ: Yes, you did. And thank you for that.
SHARPTON: Around voter I.D. and it`s been nonpartisan. Not for either
party, going back with --
SHARPTON: Bishop Victory Curry next week. One of the things that I
noticed, that going after the early voting, and when you look at the data,
54 percent of African-American voted early last time.
SCHULTZ: That`s right.
SHARPTON: So it is consistent with some of their strategy, is consistent
with some of the things that Grier is saying.
SCHULTZ: It is. It is, Reverend Al. And you have only to look at the
statistics. Some of which you just cited. You have about 60 percent of
African-Americans that voted in the 2008 presidential election that cast
their ballot the Sunday before the Election Day. So it is not surprising
that because they -- the African-American community turned out in such high
percentages and voted for Barack Obama that one of the provisions of the --
of the voter suppression law that the Republicans in Florida passed got rid
of voting on the Sunday before the election.
And so what we are doing at the -- at the Obama campaign and the Democratic
Party is making sure that regardless of those obstacles that were thrown in
the path of voters, we are doing everything we can to make sure that voters
have the information that they need, whether they speak English or Spanish,
because the gottavote.org Web site, G-O-T-T-A-V-O-T-E.org, that Web site
has the information in English and Spanish and we want to make sure that
people get the answers to their questions particularly, Reverend Al, about
what they need to bring to the polls.
Because in Florida and in other states, voter-- a photo I.D. is required
SCHULTZ: That`s challenging for some people to get, particularly African-
Americans, 25 percent of African-Americans don`t have a photo I.D. So we
are setting up a system with our volunteers and our lawyers that we are
deploying and our informative Web site to get people the information they
need to make it easy to get them to the polls.
SHARPTON: Now we also note that the "Miami Herald" reports that the
Justice Department has documents claiming that Florida voter purge violates
voting rights, the Voting Rights Act. In fact, it says, quote, "The feds
say Florida never submitted a new Citizenship list , maintenance practices,
to them for approval."
And being in Florida is a voting rights state --
SCHULTZ: That`s right.
SHARPTON: -- it`s supposed to get a pre-clearance from the Justice
Department, it didn`t do it before they went with this voter purge effort.
SCHULTZ: Basically the Republicans in Florida led by Governor Rick Scott
got caught violating the Voting Rights Act. It`s very clear. We have I
think six Florida counties that are subject to the Voting Rights Act for
past -- obstacles and discrimination in getting people access to the polls.
And so the Department of Justice has said that the voter purge efforts by
Rick Scott and the Republicans in Florida violated the Voting Rights Act
because every change in the voting rights law that is -- happens in a
voting rights state has to be pre-approved, submitted and pre-approved by
the Department of Justice.
And they didn`t do that. And the reason that they didn`t do that is
because they wanted to try to clear some people off the polls, off the
voting rolls as much as possible.
SCHULTZ: Before they got caught. And now fortunately that voter purge,
thanks to the Department of Justice, this information has ceased and,
again, through gottavote.org, G-O-T-T-A-V-O-T-E.org, we`re doing everything
we can in the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party to get people the
information that they need to get registered, to make sure that they know
where their polling place is and what they`re going to need to bring to the
polls. That`s critical.
SHARPTON: And I might -- I might add before we let you go you nor I nor
anyone I know is trying to say people that shouldn`t be purged shouldn`t be
SHARPTON: But a lot of these people we found were not noncitizens, we`re
SCHULTZ: That`s right.
SHARPTON: As well as the fact that people that we are finding out that
don`t have the photo I.D. are citizens. We`re not saying to let fraud go.
We`re saying there is no fraud.
SCHULTZ: Not at all. It`s -- absolutely, Reverend Al. If you are legally
and lawfully eligible to vote you should be able to cast your ballot. But
it is absolutely outrageous and un-American for the state of Florida under
the Republicans` leadership to put people on a purge list that are --
eligible to vote, lawfully able to vote and then accuse them of being
noncitizens and actually purge them before they verify it. It`s not right.
And fortunately we are able to put a stop to it, get them turned around and
that will help us make sure that we can get people to the polls who legally
and lawfully should be able to get to the polls and cast a ballot.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, thank you for your time
SCHULTZ: Thank you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the cost of extremism. GOP leadership is failing the
country. And now even some Republicans are saying it`s got to change.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: We are back with a pause from the political battles of the day.
A time to rest, relax and recharge. That`s right. It is time for the
POLITICS NATION`s "Summer Break." And we begin with the most amazing card
trick you may ever see. This guy`s got skill. Look at that. Unlike a
Republican deal, there`s no strings attached. At least not any we can see.
Now to London. The city`s famed double-decker buses are really getting a
workout. Thanks to all those extra tourists. Talk about road ready. This
pushup performing double-decker comes complete with sound effects. The
artists who created it said he hopes it inspires even non-athletes to get
moving. Now we need one of those for this do-nothing GOP Congress.
And speaking of moves, check out this break dancing British police officer.
He wowed the crowd along the Olympic torch route by breaking out and
busting loose. Somebody call "Britain`s Got Talent." Reminds me of
another dancing king.
Too bad President Bush is skipping next month`s Republican convention. He
could have been the life of the party.
And that`s today`s "Summer Break."
SHARPTON: We are back with a look at the cost of Republican extremism.
Americans are hurting. They need jobs. They need the government`s help.
But Republicans are ignoring those cries for help and pushing their own
extreme agenda. Now some Republicans have had enough. GOP Congressman
Steve LaTourette announced today he`s retiring and offered this scathing
criticism of what his party has become.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. STEVE LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: The atmosphere today and the reality of
this to -- in the House of Representatives no longer encourages the
findings of common ground. Words like compromise have been considered to
be dirty words. People are more interested in fighting with each other
than they are in getting the no-brainers done and govern.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A Republican says Republicans are more interested in fighting
than governing. And he`s not alone. GOP Congressman Richard Hanna told a
New York paper, quote, "I`m frustrated by how much we, I mean the
Republican Party, are willing to give deferential treatment to our extremes
in the -- in this moment in history."
It`s no wonder these Republicans are frustrated. They`ve been hearing more
and more extreme rhetoric from the far right of their party. From
politicians like Tea Party Senate candidate Richard Mourdock who is
refusing to even talk about compromise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MOURDOCK (R), INDIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: I don`t think there was
going to be a lot of successful compromise. Hence have you the deadlock we
have today. What I said about compromise and bipartisanship is I hope to
build a conservative majority in the United States Senate so that
bipartisanship becomes Democrats joining Republicans to roll back the size
of government, reduce the bureaucracy, lower taxes, and get America moving
again. The fact is you never compromise on principles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And another extreme Tea Partier, Ted Cruz, is poised to win the
Republican Senate primary in Texas today.
The extreme takeover of the GOP is real. And there`s a serious cost to the
Joining me now is Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a fellow at the University of
Texas, and our NBC Latino contributor. And Wayne Slater, senior political
reporter for the "Dallas Morning News."
Thanks to both of you for being here.
VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Now, Wayne, are you surprised to hear this kind of criticism
coming from within the GOP?
WAYNE SLATER, DALLAS MORNING NEWS: No, I`m not surprised. I mean you look
at what the Tea Party method, its approach, the actual banner of the Tea
Party as it begins to form in 2009 and manifested itself in 2010. No
compromise, no retreat. And what`s happening now is the chickens have come
home to roost. And the Republican Party less and less is a place for
moderate Republicans. So what you see is a squeeze, a divide within the
Republican Party, we see it here in Texas with the Ted Cruz race, as you
We`ve seen it elsewhere where the idea of compromise is out the window and
the whole thing is about my side, my way, my highway, or no way.
SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you, Victoria. When you look at the fact that
several moderate Republicans have come out and spoken out strongly against
the extreme turn in the GOP-led, Olympia Snowe who announced her retirement
from Congress earlier this year has spoken out about, quote, "an atmosphere
polarization and a my way or the highway ideology."
Former State Senator Chuck Hagel recently said that there is a streak of
intolerance in the Republican Party today that scares people. And Richard
Lugar recently said of Richard Mourdock, the Tea Party candidate who
defeated him in May, quote, "His embrace of an unrelenting partisan mindset
is irreconcilable with my philosophy of governance."
Are we going to start seeing more and more of a backlash for moderate
Republicans to try to take this party back towards some kind of track
toward moderation and, for that matter, a position of being able to win
SOTO: Regrettably, Reverend, I don`t see it. At least for the short to
medium term. I think this may be the decade of the Tea Party for a number
of reasons. But first of all is the movement in 2010 institutionalized?
It`s not just folks going to rallies and getting angry. It`s folks going
to rallies, phone banking, block walking and voting.
And second, the redistricting that happened this last time around was able
to carve out a number of state and congressional level seats for the Tea
Party and that`s going to stay around. And finally, the Senate, so we`re
seeing that growing constituency of your Ted Cruzes, your Marco Rubios,
your Rand Pauls in the Senate, and they have a longer term there. So we`re
going to see longevity of the Tea Party for at least a decade.
SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you when you look at Ted Cruz, Tea Party
candidate poised to win the Republican Senate primary today, son of a Cuban
immigrant, former solicitor general of Texas. Oppose amnesty and the Dream
Act. Believes Medicaid is unconstitutional. Wants to abolish the
Department of Education. Supports radical privatization of Social
Security. And proposes state nullification of the Affordable Care Act.
I mean, and he`s poised to win the Republican primary tonight in Texas,
Wayne. I mean, what`s his chances of winning in November if in fact he
clinches the nomination? And what does this mean?
SLATER: Yes. Well, his chances are very -- if he wins the nomination
tonight, which it appears he very well may, then his chances of winning in
November and in a red state like Texas are 90 to 95 percent.
SLATER: This is a Republican state, a Republican seat. And he would join
those other strongly conservative Tea Party minded senators in Washington
in the event that he wins tonight he may not, but if he does, and I think
that he`s right. What`s happened here is the institutionalization of the
Tea Party. It reminds me of what happened in 1988 when a preacher from
Virginia, Pat Robertson, basically decided to put together a political
Not a religious operation but a political -- efficient political operation
and that institutionalization of the Tea Party in a place like Texas today
has created a turnout that says basically you have to be farther right than
the other guy in order to be nominated. These two people who were running
against each other, Ted Cruz, and the so-called institutional sort of
establishment candidate, the lieutenant governor, aren`t -- don`t differ
virtually at all on any main issue.
This is about the Tea Party demand that you have a visceral sort of
feudalistic fighting stance when you show up in Washington.
I was with Ted Cruz last week here in Texas traveling. Ted Cruz told a
group much to their approval that I`m willing to compromise so long as the
other side comes around to my way of thinking.
SHARPTON: Wow. Well, when you look at that, Victoria, you feel that even
the politics of it doesn`t make sense. A recent poll shows a majority of
Americans think the Republican Congress is extreme. Fifty-two percent of
Americans said the extreme and the job approval for the Republicans in
Congress is dismal. A recent "Washington Post" poll showed 71 percent of
Americans disapprove of the job Republicans are doing in Congress. So they
are really killing their party.
SOTO: It is. It`s a huge shift. It`s no longer a matter of whether
Republicans and Democrats are going to play in the sandbox. It`s now
whether Republicans and Republicans are going to play in the sandbox and
regrettably it doesn`t look like they are.
SHARPTON: Victoria DeFrancesco Soto and Wayne Slater, thank you both for
your time tonight.
SLATER: Nice to be with you.
SHARPTON: We will be right back with my etiquette tips. I know one guy
who could use a fresh -- a refresher course. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Welcome back. We all know the basic rules of etiquette. Send
thank you notes. Hold the door. Say please. And thank you. But after
his debacle overseas, Willard needs a crash course in manners. So I
present to you "Reverend Al`s Etiquette Tips."
Let`s start from the beginning of Mitt`s trip. Who can forget his take on
the London Olympics?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC NIGHTLY NEWS: Do they look ready to your experienced
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, it`s hard to know just
how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were disconcerting.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Well, we all know this was the beginning of the Romney shambles
on Twitter. So here`s tip number one. Never insult your host. You won`t
get invited back. And we all know he loves sending things overseas.
Next lesson. Here`s Romney getting chatty after one of his meetings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I appreciated the insights and perspectives of the leaders of the
government here. And opposition here. As well as the head of MI6.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Oh, boy. He`s talking about meeting with the UK`s secret
intelligence service. Shhh. Tip number two, mum`s the word. Especially
in England. Romney keeps his taxes private. Why not do the same with
While we are on the subject of staying quiet, don`t insult an entire
culture. That`s what he did to the Palestinians. Tip number three, think
before you speak. If you don`t have anything nice to say, don`t say
anything at all.
Willard, on your next trip make sure to follow these tips. You`ll do much
better. But wait. There`s one more from your aide.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK GORKA, ROMNEY TRAVELING PRESS SECRETARY: Holy site for the Polish
people. Show some respect.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Governor Romney, just a few questions --
GORKA: Show some respect, Jim.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We haven`t had another chance to ask him questions.
GORKA: (EXPLETIVE DELETED), this is a holy site for the Polish people.
Show some respect.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I think I need a new chapter on "Reverend Al`s Etiquette Tips."
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.
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