updated 8/2/2012 1:38:22 PM ET 2012-08-02T17:38:22

Guests: Tom Harkin, Meghan McCain, Jonathan Capehart, Jonathan Allen,
Sophia Nelson


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

Tonight`s lead, this election is a choice. Do you want to live in a
country where everyone thrives or one where progress is reserved for the
top one percent? That`s the choice in this election, between building up
the middle class and simply letting it hobble along.

Folks, this election is a choice. And today in Ohio, President Obama
made his case. He`s fighting for fairness unlike his opponent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The center piece of my
opponent`s entire economic plan is not only to extend the Bush tax cuts,
but then to add a new $5 trillion tax cut on top of it.

But under this plan, guess who gets the bill for these tax cuts? You
do. And you don`t have to take my word for it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, you don`t have to take his word for it. Take the word
of the nonpartisan tax policy center. Their report out today estimates
that Romney`s tax plan would raise taxes on middle class families by
$2,000. And what does that pay for? Drum roll please, an $87,000 tax
break for millionaires.

Well, how about that? The study also says it is quite not
mathematically possible to lavish these tax breaks on the rich without
making everyone else pick up the slack. Folks, this is outrageous. And
the president knows it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They`re asking you to pay an extra $2,000 not to pay down the
deficit, not to invest in our kids` education. Mr. Romney is asking you to
pay more so people like him get a tax cut.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But here`s the thing. Romney`s not the only one asking you
to pay more. Just look at the Republicans in Congress. Today the house
will push a plan that raises taxes on 24 million Americans, simply to give
the richest two percent in the country a tax break, all this from the same
people who argue we can`t raise taxes on the American people.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I actually do believe in
keeping taxes down.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: We`re going to take a
bill to the floor that will ensure that taxes won`t go up on anybody.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: The American people
understand that raising taxes in this economy is the wrong thing to do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: For the GOP raising taxes is the wrong thing to do to the
rich. But when it comes to the middle class, apparently that`s fair game.

Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell now an NBC
news political analyst, and Jared Bernstein MSNBC contributor and former
chief economist for vice president Joe Biden.

First, thank you both for being here tonight.

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, let me start with you. How damaging is
this news for Mr. Romney? The fact that he`d raise taxes on the middle
class, how damaging is that?

RENDELL: I think it`s significantly damaging, because the whole
Republican mantra has been we`re the party that`s going to cut your taxes.
In fact, they blame President Obama for raising your taxes when the truth
is and you know this, Reverend, to be correct, that since President Obama`s
been in office, the average middle class family has received $3600 worth of
tax cuts. That`s the payroll deduction tax cuts. That`s the making work
pay tax cut in the stimulus plan. That`s the college deduction for kids in
college all put together.

The average family is paying $3600 less under President Obama and they
keep claiming he`s raised taxes on people he hasn`t raised taxes. He`s cut
taxes on ordinary Americans. And their plan would raise taxes on ordinary
Americans and give tax breaks to people who don`t need them. Will throw us
into an incredible deficit situation, will add three, four, $5 trillion of
deficit. And their answer is well, this will produce growth and growth
will balance the budget.

But in truth, Reverend, over the last 60 years the times we`ve had the
best job creation growth has been when the tax rates on the rich has been
highest, not lowest. So the theory is full of --

SHARPTON: We had growth and taxes were raised. And when we started
these tax cuts to the rich and the trickle down stuff, it did not lead to
growth.

RENDELL: And Bill Clinton cut taxes or raised taxes on the top two
percent, there was also took national tea because it`s going to cause a
recession.

SHARPTON: Right.

RENDELL: Well, we are 23 1/2 million jobs gain I the six years.

SHARPTON: Now, Jared, when you look at the facts, this is why we want
to lead with this. It`s really appalling.

Romney`s tax plan would raise taxes on 95 percent of this country.
While lavishing tax breaks on the richest five percent of Americans. Now
here are some examples. Those making under $30,000 a year would see their
taxes go up $183. Those making between 50 and $75,000 would see a $641
increase.

However, those making more than $500,000 would see a tax cut, tax cut
on of more than $17,000. And those making over a million dollars would see
an $87,000 tax break, 87,000. How can we -- how can the American people --
how can we believe this is the party that doesn`t want to raise taxes when
it`s the exact opposite according to Mr. Romney`s plan?

BERNSTEIN: I think what the American people who are paying attention
to this need to understand is that it`s as if Mitt Romney and his team
looked at the problems facing America, high levels of income and equality,
stagnant incomes from middle class families, great difficulty for poor
families with very high levels of income growth for those at the top of the
scale and very large budget deficits.

So, they looked at those problems and they concluded that the middle
class and the poor have too much. The rich don`t have enough and our
deficit needs to get bigger. Because that`s the only kind of conclusion
you can come out when you look at this upside down plan. And if you think
of the kind of measures that actually push back against inequality that
actually provides the mobility for kids at the bottom of the scale, you
think about help with college. You think about a wage with the earned
income credit. That`s the stuff they`re wiping out to give more goodies to
the one group that has done particularly well over the last few decades,
the very richest.

SHARPTON: Now, if you look at the fact, governor, that a new report
out today shows just how much the rich have gotten under the Bush tax cuts,
over the past nine years they`ve given over $1.1 million to millionaires.
This is under the Bush tax cuts. Is this more of the same, the
continuation of the Bush tax cuts and the rich getting richer?

RENDELL: Sure. I mean, it`s trickle down by any other name it`s
still trickle down. It didn`t work under President Bush. It hasn`t worked
in the last 60 years. It has never worked. And conversely raising taxes
to stimulate growth, to use that money to invest as President Obama wants
to do, that`s the one thing that does produce growth. In fact, it`s
interesting. And Jared knows this very well. President Reagan and both
President Bush faced with their own recessions increased government
spending dramatically and it helped them get out of the recessions.

BERNSTEIN: It`s not just trickle down. It`s double down trickle
down. It`s taking the Bush tax cuts and doubling down -- you heard the
president, another five trillion. He`s not making up those numbers. Those
numbers come from the bipartisan tax policy center.

SHARPTON: Double down trickle down. Jared, I like that.

RENDELL: Excellent, excellent.

SHARPTON: Now let me ask you this, Governor. The president today
when discussing the economy, he talked about President Clinton when he was
making his pitch. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: All I`m asking is that folks like me, Mr. Romney go back to
the rates that we paid under Bill Clinton. And if you remember, that was
when the economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget
surplus in history, and here`s the kicker. It was good for folks at the
top too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, he mentioned President Clinton. He has President
Clinton as a major speaker at the convention. Politically, governor, how
important is this that he embraces governor -- President Clinton and what
President Clinton did and this big embrace at the convention?

RENDELL: Well, I think it`s very important for two reasons. One,
because as Jared and I and you have been discussing, president Clinton is
proof positive that doing what President Obama suggests doing won`t hurt
the economy. It can actually stimulate growth. That`s number one.

And number two, no one tells the story of why Barack Obama should be
re-elected better than Bill Clinton. And there are some things when you`re
on the campaign trail, you can`t say about yourself. Some things you can`t
say about yourself, but someone like Bill Clinton can and will and he`ll do
it in a very impactful, dramatic manner.

So I think it`s very smart to give the president an opportunity to
convince the American people that Barack Obama under the circumstances has
done a good job. He`s fought for them and his plan interestingly in the
NBC poll, 80 percent of Americans, I don`t know if you remember this,
Reverend, 80 percent of Americans agreed they would favor a plan that
promoted economic fairness, help the middle class, and invested in things
that are necessary to promote job growth. That`s exactly what President
Obama wants to do.

SHARPTON: Governor Ed Rendell and Jared Bernstein, thanks for your
time tonight.

Jared, don`t forget when you run into those double down trickle down
folks, I have a bridge to sell them, just refer them to me.

BERNSTEIN: The bridge to nowhere, huh?

SHARPTON: Coming up, what do you do and who do you call when 47
million women get new access to life-saving health care? Well, if you`re
Republican, you say this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: December 7th, that`s Pearl Harbor day. The other
is September 11th and that`s the day of the terrorist attack. I want you
to remember August the first, 2012, the attack on our religious freedom.
That is a date that will live in infamy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Health care protecting the health of American freedom
equals Pearl Harbor and 9/11, really?

Plus the momma grizzly is roaring. What Sarah Palin`s reemergence
means for the GOP future and her own.

And it`s a dog, it`s a turtle, it`s a dog on a turtle. It`s our
summer break. And it`s coming up later.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, have you joined "Politics Nation" on facebook yet?
The conversation is going all day long. Today health care is a hot topic.

Sandra says what a great day for women.

Kathy reminds us that the affordable care act helps all Americans even
those who don`t like it.

Folks also cheered for the U.S. women`s gymnastics team`s big gold
medal last night.

Jeanette says they could teach our politicians a thing or two about
working together.

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.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today is a remarkable day for health care in this country.

Starting today 47 million women get free access to potentially life-
saving services, a key element of the affordable care act. That`s right.
Private insurance companies will now by law have to cover a cost of
services. Free of charge. That includes preventive screenings, birth
control, breast-feeding supplies, and other valuable care.

Folks, this will literally save lives. Yesterday there were some
women who didn`t see the doctor because they couldn`t afford it. But today
they can. Of course, Republicans are on the attack. One lawmaker even
compared today to Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. MIKE KELLY (R), PENNSYLVANIA: I know in your mind you can think
of the time America was attacked. One is December 7th, that`s Pearl Harbor
day. The other is September 11th. That`s the day of the terrorist attack.
I want you to remember August the first, 2012. That is a date that will
live in infamy along with the other dates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A day of infamy? Providing new access to health care to 47
million women? How is that like Pearl Harbor? How is that like 9/11?

House speaker John Boehner echoed that line today when he called the
coverage, quote, "tyranny and an attack on religious freedom."

Now, I`ve debunked that bogus claim before and I`ll do it again, but
the important thing here is the people. The millions of women who will get
improved care because of this law. Yesterday Senator Tom Harkin put a
deeply personal face on this policy debate in Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: I lost both my sisters to breast cancer,
my only two sisters. At a fairly young age, they didn`t have a lot of
money. They didn`t have health care benefits. I think what would have
been different if they had this available to them, early checkups, early
screenings. But for both of them it was way too late by the time they
discovered it. So this has a very personal poignant meaning to me. And I
just hope that women in this country now will take advantage of this. And
will now go and get those annual screenings and get those checkups.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is about people, not politics. Why do Republicans
pretend that they don`t know that?

Joining me now is Senator Tom Harkin, Iowa democrat who you just heard
in that moving clip.

Senator, thank you for joining us tonight.

HARKIN: Al, thanks for having me on your show.

SHARPTON: You know, it`s an important day. Give us your thoughts.

HARKIN: Well, again, my thoughts again are reminiscent of the two
sisters I lost. And sad to say that`s not a unique story in America.
There are so many families who have lost a sister, a mother, a wife because
they didn`t get early checkups, they didn`t get preventive health care.
And now beginning today they`ll be able to get that.

So beginning today we really are making another step forward, Al, in
moving from a sick care system from what we have in America, a sick care
system, to a true health care system. Where we don`t just patch and fix
and mend someone who`s broken and someone who needs a mastectomy, someone
who needs chemotherapy. Yes, we will continue to do that, but now women
know they can go in early and get that early checkup which is so vitally
important. We know if we get these things early we can prevent all these
operations and chemo`s and deaths. That`s what it means.

SHARPTON: You know, many of us were moved by your statement yesterday
because it`s beyond the politics. It`s personal. And as you say, it`s not
just your story. Fifty two percent delay their medical care because of
cost, 32 percent gave up basic necessities to pay for health care. People
are having to choose their health based on what they can afford. And this
is certainly not fair in a country that can do better.

HARKIN: You`re right, Al. And I mean, you know, what are we about as
a country if we`re not about making sure that all of our citizens
especially those that have been excluded from our health care system for so
long and I say this broadly, women. Women basically have been treated like
second class citizens for a long time in many ways but certainly in our
health care setup.

So today we`ve broken down a lot of those barriers. And said to the
women of America, look, you can get in early. It`s not -- you don`t have
to just wait until you get sick. Get in early. Get that physical checkup.
Get that cervical cancer screening. And you mentioned one other thing, Al,
there are a lot of people don`t realize. One of the most important things
for babies as you know is mother`s milk. It is the best -- it`s the best
start in life. Yet a lot of mothers low income or if they`re working on a
job all day long, they don`t have the supplies. Maybe they`re a minimum
wage worker.

Now they can go in, they can get breast-feeding information and
breast-feeding supplies without paying any co-pays or deductibles. That is
a huge step forward. And I don`t know, Al, how can some congressman or
someone gets up and says this is like Pearl Harbor?

SHARPTON: Yes. That`s my question to you. You`ve been in Washington
and you`ve served awhile. How do you explain the Republicans` resistance
to this and comparing this to 9/11, to Pearl Harbor? I mean, how do you
explain your colleagues on the other side of the aisle?

HARKIN: Al, I`m sorry. I have no explanation for that. I just -- to
me it just seems like that because of their adherence to this rigid
ideology, it`s made their hearts rigid. It`s made their hearts hard.
That`s not befitting a just society like America.

SHARPTON: The Utah senator -- I want to ask you this before you go.
Mike Lee earlier today attached a 20-week Washington, D.C. abortion
amendment to a cyber security bill up for consideration this week. I mean,
what`s going on here, attaching this bill to the cyber security bill?

HARKIN: Well, again, we need the cyber security bill. The defense
department says so. Our business community says so. Consumers advocate
say we need this. And yet they want to load it up with all of this
ideological type of amendments.

But, I think the important thing is, Al, here is that at one time I
cheered the District of Columbia meeting.

SHARPTON: Right.

HARKIN: -- and every time I bring the bill out on the floor, Al, we
said one thing, I have to do this as my obligation. But I shouldn`t be
here because the United States Congress should not be telling the District
of Columbia what to do. The District of Columbia ought to be an
independent state and have its own Congress people and have its own two
senators.

SHARPTON: That could vote.

HARKIN: And Congress should not be intervening in that in any way.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you, Senator. I`m going to have to leave
it there. Always a pleasure to see you and have you on. Thank you for
your time tonight.

HARKIN: Thanks, Al. See you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Sarah Palin is taking aim at Dick Cheney.
Could Mitt Romney be next?

And thousands, thousands of people line up to support a Republican
drive to defend anti-gay rhetoric from a fast food tycoon. Really, anti-
gay fast food? This is the GOP. Good luck with that one.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, the weather`s hot and lots of people are hitting the
open road before the summer is over. And we all know what that means.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are we going to do?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Road trip.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bird.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Road trip!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And we`ve got more road trippers. Senators John McCain,
Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte hit the road this week. They hit town
halls to warn voters about defense cuts set for next year to go into
effect. And guess who they`re blaming for the cuts?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where`s your president, our commander in chief
on this issue?

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: He should be in there. He should be
talking with us. He should be leading. And he`s MIA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: When in doubt, blame the president. But these aren`t the
president`s cuts. They were laid out in last year`s budget. One hundred
seventy four Republicans voted for it and so did 28 Senate Republicans
including John McCain. So John McCain took a road trip to attack something
he voted for.

McCain`s pal, Lindsey Graham even admits his party had a role in the
cuts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: And by the way, my party has
their fingerprints all over it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Senator, if the GOP`s prints are all over this, talk to
senator McCain about it. He voted for it. And you have lots of time
together on the road.

But as The New York Times writes today blaming the president is not a
solution. Did you think I wouldn`t see the hypocrisy just because it`s out
on the road? Let`s put the brakes on this one. Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today conservatives across the country are chowing down on
Chick-fil-A in mass support for the company after its president`s anti-gay
comments. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has declared today Chick-
fil-A appreciation day on the right and urged people to join him.
Thousands lined up. And GOP lawmakers jumped right into the act. Senator
Lindsey Graham tweeted this picture of himself enjoying Chick-fil-A for
breakfast. Congressman Jeff Duncan covered his entire desk. And
Congressman Allen West took his support of Chick-fil-A, well, to a whole
new level.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ALLEN WEST (R), FLORIDA: Yes, I had to come up from down south
because I wanted to try to open up a Chick-fil-A franchise here in Chicago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: These lawmakers are proud to stand behind Chick-fil-A.
Really? They`re standing behind a company whose president says we are
quote, "Inviting God`s judgment on our nation when we allow gay marriage."
Let me tell you what these Republicans are really standing for.

Today "The Huffington Post" revealed that Chick-fil-A has given over
$5 million to some of the most radical anti-gay groups in the country.
That includes the Family Research Council certified as a hate group by the
Southern Poverty Center. It also includes Exodus International. And the
marriage and family foundation. These are groups that refer to pedophilia
as a homosexual problem.

Groups that say gay behavior should be outlawed. Groups run by people
who believe it would be a good idea to quote, export homosexuals from the
United States. And who claim that homosexuals can pray away the gay. This
is what Republicans are appreciating in their appreciation day.

Joining me now is MSNBC contributor and author Meghan McCain and
Jonathan Capehart an opinion writer for "The Washington Post" and an MSNBC
contributor. First, thank you both for being with me tonight.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Thanks, Rev.

MEGHAN MCCAIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Megan, let me start with you. How do you react to seeing
elected Republicans stand behind Chick-fil-A and anti-gay organizations
that they are supporting?

MCCAIN: Well, I would just like to say that in America, you can
support anything you want as a corporation. But for me, it`s embarrassing
to see politicians take something that has turned into parody and go out
and have Chick-fil-A day and eat fast food and tweet pictures from their
offices. These are real issues in America and we should be having a real
conversation about gay marriage and not turning this into this weird parody
that sort of border lining on ridiculousness.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, the fact that we find out now that it`s not just
a statement by the president of Chick-fil-A but that they have actually
put millions of dollars in groups that even have been designated by some as
hate groups.

CAPEHART: Right. And this is what I wrote yesterday, is that Dan
Cathy, the president and CEO of Chick-fil-A is putting money where his
mouth is. I mean, as Meghan says, she`s absolutely right. In this
country, you can say you are protected by the first amendment to say what
you want, say what you believe. The problem comes in when you start
financing those beliefs that end up hurting people.

And so "The Huffington Post" story that I guess is out today, you
know, media matters did a whole big study earlier in the summer where they
laid out all of the money including all the things you just showed. Exodus
International is the group, is the pray the gay away organization. You
know, that`s where the problem is.

You can`t -- you can say that you don`t believe in same-sex marriage
and you have issues with gay people, but to then use the money from your
company, from your philanthropy to then do harm to those people, that`s a
whole other issue.

MCCAIN: And every American has the right to not eat at Chick-fil-A.

CAPEHART: Exactly.

MCCAIN: More than that. And I think that -- I mean, that`s the
greatest thing about being an American. All of that being said, I don`t
understand why Chick-fil-A has taken this specific stand given that
culturally no one can deny that there`s a statistical shift towards the
support of gay marriage in America.

CAPEHART: Right.

SHARPTON: But I think -- and I agree with you Meghan, all of us have
our rights to express ourselves. All of us should be protected by that.
But when you look at the Family Research Council and you look at what his
president says, and the fact that Chick-fil-A puts millions of dollars
behind groups like this. People then have a right to say, well, I`m not
going to support businesses that support people that make statements like
this. Let me show you some of what the president of one of the groups they
give to says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Men who engaged in molestation of children, 86
percent of them identified as homosexual or bisexual.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The presence of homosexuals in the military is
incompatible with good order morale, disciplining unit cohesion.

TONY PERKINS, PRESIDENT, FAMILY RESEARCH CENTER: Homosexual behavior
is harmful not only to this -- but more importantly to the individuals who
engage in that behavior.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the
United States than to import them into the United States. Because we
believe that homosexuality is destructive to society.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MCCAIN: I think that`s my favorite thing I`ve ever heard.

SHARPTON: Yes. You`re going to export all homosexuals.

MCCAIN: Ridiculous.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: So, people have the right to express themselves, but
Meghan, you can have a cause to pause if you say, if I`m buying this
chicken here to help finance these guys, maybe I`ll --

MCCAIN: Listen, in my opinion, that is hate language. When I was
living in Los Angeles, I found a Mexican restaurant that I went to has
supported -- was the supporter of repealing same-sex marriage in
California. So, I stopped eating there. It is a choice every American can
make.

CAPEHART: Right.

MCCAIN: All of that being said, I believe that is hate speech. I
mean, what that gentleman said is absolutely absurd.

SHARPTON: Huckabee calling this appreciation day. He buys the whole
farm, so to speak, with the donations and everything by doing this. He`s
not just protecting the right here. He`s actually embracing them and
bringing in revenue that is going to probably based on at least what
they`ve done in the past, support these kind of groups.

CAPEHART: Oh, sure. Those thousands of people who are lined up at
all those Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country, their money is going
to go in part to the Chick-fil-A foundation where they will spend that
money on organizations that, you know, want to do harm either, you know,
legislatively and socially to gay people. What I would like to see on
August 3rd, I believe is the date of the kiss in, that folks want to do.
The pro-marriage gay groups who are calling for a protest of their own at
Chick-fil-A restaurants around the country.

SHARPTON: They`re going to have a kiss in at Chick-fil-A.

CAPEHART: At Chick-fil-A around the country. And what I -- I would
like them to actually be a little smarter. Fine, do that, but find out who
is affiliated with Chick-fil-A in any way. And put pressure on those folks
to put pressure on Chick-fil-A in some way. I mean, it`s one thing to
protest with signs.

SHARPTON: Yes.

CAPEHART: It`s another thing to be more strategic about how you
effect the change you want to have.

SHARPTON: Well, Meghan McCain and Jonathan Capehart, we`ll going to
have to leave it there. Thanks for your time tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And make sure you tune into "WAY TOO EARLY" right here on
MSNBC tomorrow morning at 5:30 Eastern, Jonathan will be co-hosting and he
was dancing this morning but we`ll talk about that later.

Still ahead, the Palin effect. Sarah Palin is developing a reputation
for picking winners. Is that why she hasn`t endorsed Mitt Romney?

But first, summer break. Where in a turtle meets a dog and they`re
off to the races. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back from the pause to pause from the political
battles of the day. A time to rest, relax, and recharge. That`s right.
It`s time for the POLITICS NATION`s summer break. Let`s jump right into
it. With buttermilk the goat. The most annoying goat in Maine. She
bounces, she bounds, she leaps. She knocks her friends over. Out of the
way. I`m jumping here. You can almost hear her buddies wondering what got
into this one. She`s like a Romney press aide in Poland.

Up next, a dog and a turtle show. A Chihuahua enjoying the sweet
tortoise ride. Slow and steady wins the race. And it sure beats 60 miles
per hour on top of that station wagon. Sorry, Seamus, you may be the Irish
setter but my ride`s better. Seamus, say about that?

Speaking of folks people who have a beef with Mitt Romney, how about
London`s Mayor Boris Johnson. Yet, that`s him there flying through the
air. But he probably should have thought twice before he challenged Mitt`s
claim that London was quite ready for the Olympics. After he got stuck on
a zip wire in Victoria Park. Safe to say this, this Olympic performance
didn`t make the podium.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, LONDON MAYOR: It`s very, very well organized. Get me
a ladder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPON: Fortunately, first responder jumped to the rescue tugging
him back to safety. Good thing Romney wasn`t in charge of these games or
else there had been no firefighters, cops, or zip line rescuers to bring
the mayor back down to earth. But maybe this guy would have come to the
rescue.

He`s a mysterious man, a man with a knife, a man with a sharp knife.
A man who`s using that knife to pull a car with a blade at his neck. Don`t
try this at home. Actually, don`t try this anywhere. What`s his secret?
Maybe he`s powered on by his great background music. Or perhaps it`s his
stylish outfit. Regardless, don`t worry. No cars were injured in the
making of this video. And that`s today`s summer break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPON: We`re back with more on an election that could drag the GOP
even further to the right. It was a big loss for the republican
establishment and a big win for Sarah Palin last night. Texas Tea Party
favorite Ted Cruz handily beat the state`s lieutenant governor for the
republican nomination for Senate, after Palin and others backed him.

Today some are calling him the new Marco Rubio. Since her disastrous
2008 VP run, Palin has been a king maker for unknowns. In 2010, South
Carolina Governor Nikki Haley was considered an underdog until Palin`s
endorsement. Palin also picked New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte. This
year, Palin backed Richard Mourdock, in his bid to knockout Richard Lugar.
And Palin`s endorsement gave a last minute boost to another unknown Deb
Fischer in Nebraska.

On Facebook, Palin was quick to take credit for her rolling Cruz`s
victory. Quote, "The Tea party is alive and well. Now it`s on to
November."

Whether you agree with her views or not, grizzly power works. So,
where`s the love for Willard? For months, Palin`s had a lot to say about
Romney. But the one thing she still won`t say is endorsement.

Joining me now is Jonathan Allen, Congressional reporter for Politico.
And Sophia Nelson, a contributor for the Grio.com. Thank you both for your
time tonight.

JONATHAN ALLEN, POLITICO CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Thank you.

SOPHIA NELSON, GRIO.COM CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Sophia, why would Palin`s support matter to the Romney
campaign?

NELSON: Well, I think Reverend Al, your introduction was on point. I
mean, Palin appeals to a very small but energized and powerful segment of
the republican base. And that`s the Tea Party. The 2010 elections, as you
know, the midterms were disaster for the President and for the Democrats.
And I think that she has been very strategic about how she`s picked these
races that she`ll endorse, who she endorses.

And I think that in doing that, the Romney campaign really needs
someone like Palin who is a conservative darling to say Willard is OK.
Romney is OK. And I`m really supporting him versus the lukewarm at best
response that Palin and Gingrich and others have given to Romney up to this
point.

SHARPTON: Well, Jonathan, she really has made it pretty clear what
she thinks about Romney. Not only hasn`t she endorsed him, she said some
things that kind of make it clear where she`s at in terms of her opinion of
him. Listen to these things.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: Bless his heart, I have respect
for Mitt Romney, but I do not have respect for what he has done through
this debt increase debate.

I am not convinced and I don`t think the majority of GOP and
independent voters are convinced. And that is why you don`t see Romney get
over that hump.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes. It seems he is the nominee, are you happy
with that?

PALIN: You know, anything is still possible. There can still be a
bit of a shakeup.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Not exactly positive and enthusiastic support for Mr.
Romney, Jonathan.

ALLEN: Hardly the warm embrace of a grizzly -- momma grizzly. But,
look. I mean, Sarah Palin`s got credibility in part because she caters to
that very conservative part of the Republican Party that still isn`t
entirely sold on Mitt Romney. I think at the end of the day, Sarah Palin
and Mitt Romney want the same thing which is to defeat President Obama.
And I think that their voters, the ones who follow her, the ones that have
followed him will eventually be mostly in that same place.

SHARPTON: Now, Sophia, Matthew Dowd of ABC explains why Palin`s
endorsement has been good for some candidates saying quote, "Singularly she
doesn`t win these races but if there`s a forest with a bunch of kindling
she puts a match and a light on it."

NELSON: Yes.

SHARPTON: "The forest would have to be dry, but she`s a spark." That
spark could also in some key swing states be something that Willard Romney
could use, wouldn`t you think?

NELSON: There`s no doubt about it, Reverend. As we talked about a
few moments ago, Sarah Palin regardless of how people feel about her
politics or her personally, as I said she is a darling of the conservative
wing of the Republican Party. And this Tea Party wing in particular that
is highly motivated and highly energized. All you do is you need to just
like you said, ignite and there they`d go. They get organized, they go
out, they knock on doors. They have made the difference in a lot of races.

Dick Lugar for example who is someone I know when I worked with on The
Hill. Very respectable, moderate republican though, they wanted him out.
And to get rid of a Dick Lugar is a pretty big deal. And I think that
Romney needs Palin in places like Ohio, in North Carolina, in Virginia, in
Pennsylvania, in some places where she can appeal to those folks with the -
- as they say, with guns and the bible, religion and guns or whatever the
phrase was. And I don`t mean that in any negative way. I own both the
bible and gun. So, it`s all good.

SHARPTON: Now, Jonathan, there was an exchange between Miss Palin and
former Vice President Cheney, I found very interesting. Let me play you
what he said and her response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DICK CHENEY, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: I don`t think she passed
that test.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Being ready.

CHENEY: Of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake.

PALIN: Seems how Dick -- excuse me, Vice President Cheney never
misfires, then evidently he`s quite convinced that what he had evidently
read about me by the lame stream media having been written, what I believe
is a false narrative over the last four years, evidently Dick Cheney
believed that stuff. And that`s a shame.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There was all kind of innuendoes in Ms. Palin`s response.
But putting them aside, I get the feeling they don`t appreciate each
other`s public leadership.

ALLEN: I don`t think there`s a lot of love between the two of them.
Dick Cheney made a pretty harsh criticism of Sarah Palin saying she wasn`t
ready. Sarah Palin responded by trying to make a wild of it and take jab
at Dick Cheney on the fact that he had shot his friend in the face during a
hunting accident sometime ago. And, you know, look, they are clearly at
odds within the Republican Party, Cheney representing an older, more
establishment type republican.

Sarah Palin, the new maverick sort of Tea Party aligned republican.
But you know, one thing I wanted to point out, Reverend Al, is that Sarah
Palin was on the ballot last time.

SHARPTON: Yes.

ALLEN: And talk about firing up a Tea Party, she was on the ballot
with John McCain. And what we haven`t seen yet is that firing up the Tea
Party can win a presidential election.

SHARPTON: Yes.

ALLEN: We`ve seen it in Congressional elections, in primaries but we
haven`t yet seen that. And it will be interesting to see how that plays
out from now to November.

SHARPTON: Well, she can bring the match, but you`ve got to have the
wood. Jonathan, Sophia, thanks for your time tonight.

NELSON: Thank you.

ALLEN: My pleasure.

SHARPTON: Gun violence in America. A crisis we must stop. That`s
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Tonight, I`m doing something I never want to do. I`m
delivering the eulogy for a four-year-old boy. Lloyd Morgan, Jr. was
killed by a stray bullet after watching a basketball tournament in a New
York playground last Sunday. Lloyd loved playing ball. Earning the
nickname little LeBron.

But he`ll never get the chance to live out his dreams of playing pro-
basketball. His life has been tragically cut short by the gun violence
that`s becoming all too common in America. And now Lloyd`s mother Shianne
is calling for an end to that violence.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHIANNE NORMAN, MOTHER OF LLOYD MORGAN, JR.: This is horrific. And
it cannot -- this cannot keep happening. This has got to stop. They got
to stop taking babies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Lloyd`s death has affected me deeply, but sadly he`s not
alone. Nearly 2800 children were killed by guns in 2009. And more than
13,000 were injured by them. Overall, about 10,000 people die in gun-
related violence every year. We cannot bring these people back, but we can
take Lloyd`s experience and the experiences of others and use them to take
action. And it starts in our communities.

That`s why I`ve organized the Occupy the Corner Movement for this
month. By promoting peace and gun-free zones in our churches and street
corners. We can take our communities back and feel safe again. As I go to
do this eulogy, this young boy, this baby was killed in a crossfire of
people with guns shooting at each other. What we`re doing is losing a
generation in the crossfire of playing politics when we all ought to put
aside our differences to preserve the lives of our babies.

Children need to be able to grow up and not fear watching basketball
games in playgrounds. Thanks for watching.

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

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

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