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PoliticsNation, Friday, August 3, 2012

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Guests: Jonathan Cohn; Ana Marie Cox; Joe Madison, Hilda Solis, Jared
Bernstein, Liz Clarke, Goldie Taylor

Nation." I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, Mitt Romney`s taxing situation. Today in a rare Q&A
with reporters, he hit back at Senate majority leader Harry Reid for
accusing him of not paying taxes.


put up or shut up, all right? So Harry, who are your sources? Let`s have
Harry explain who that is. Now let me also say categorically, I have paid
taxes every year, and a lot of taxes, a lot of taxes. So Harry is simply
wrong. That`s why I`m so anxious for him to give us the names of the
people who have put this forward. I wouldn`t be surprised to hear the
names are people from the White House or the Obama campaign or who knows
where they`re coming from.


SHARPTON: Romney is dragging the White House into it, and he says he
paid a lot of taxes. We only know what he paid for one year. That`s all
he`s released so far. Romney`s 2010 tax returns show he just paid a 13.9
percent tax rate. That`s less than half the rate that a worker making
$60,000 a year pays. It`s enough to make you wonder, how much Romney paid
other years. It`s why Senator Reid hit Romney for his secrecy.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: If a person coming before
this body wanted to be a cabinet officer, he couldn`t be if he had the --
he did the same refusal Mitt Romney does about tax returns. The word is
out that he hasn`t paid any taxes for ten years. Let him prove that he has
paid taxes, because he hasn`t.


SHARPTON: Now, let`s put aside for the moment whether public
officials should have made his statement on the Senate floor.

Mitt Romney`s got a long history of calling for other people to
release their tax returns themselves. When he was running for Senate in
1994, Romney challenged Senator Ted Kennedy to disclose his taxes to prove
he quote, "had nothing to hide." But Romney didn`t release any of his own
tax records during that race. And eight years later when he was running
for governor, Romney`s campaign pulled the same stunt.

Romney`s top adviser Eric Fehrnstrom accused Democratic challenger
Shannon O`Brien of playing dirty because she didn`t release her husband`s
tax returns. Fehrnstrom said quote, "her hands aren`t clean. She can`t
claim to be disclosing anything until she discloses the returns of her
husband, the Enron lobbyist. What is she hiding?"

But while Romney`s campaign was screaming and yelling for opponent
spouse`s tax returns, guess who, was refuses to release their own?


ROMNEY: I believe very deeply in my personal privacy what limit
amount is left. Senator Kennedy when he was against me I said you`ve got
to release those income tax returns of yours. He said I value my privacy.
And I think he was right and I was wrong. As a result, I do share his view
on this. I`m not going to release my income tax returns.


SHARPTON: He insisted his opponents release their returns, but he was
above doing it himself? His democratic challenger Shannon O`Brien called
him out on this at a 2002 debate.


think this is another case where Mitt Romney says one thing and does
another. Mr. Romney`s spokesperson actually said that my husband was a bad
person for not releasing his taxes but Mitt Romney was doing it out of
principle. Once again, this is an issue of doing one thing and saying


SHARPTON: Another case of him saying one thing and doing another.
Doesn`t seem to matter how many years go by, Romney`s still the same
secretive candidate he was nearly two decades ago.

Joining me now is Jonathan Cohn, senior editor of the "New Republic"
and Ana Marie Cox, Washington correspondent for "the Guardian."

Thanks to both of you being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Jonathan, why is the Harry Reid challenged that Romney
might not have paid taxes for ten years, why is it gaining such traction?

COHN: Well, you know, let me say it first, you know. Let`s put aside
the question of whether Harry Reid should, as you said, should or shouldn`t
be throwing the allegation out there. I hope if he is he has basis for it.

But, look. This is getting traction because Mitt Romney is not
putting up or shutting up. He has not told us what was in his taxes. And
look, this is a man who has proposed to cut taxes for the very wealthy to
create more ways for the wealthy to get out of paying for more taxes. And
as we found out earlier this week, his plan actually calls for higher taxes
on the middle class.

So, here we have a guy coming out here and saying look, I think the
middle class needs to pay more taxes. I want to lower taxes for the rich.
And so people, I think naturally want to know what does this guy know about
what it`s like to be middle class? What kind of strategies does he use?

So, this is actually a way to talking about Mitt Romney`s view of the
world, what`s right and what`s wrong and who needs to pay taxes.

SHARPTON: And by the way, we`ll be talking more length about that
Romney tax plan later in the show.

But Ana Marie, it`s interesting to me that when he was running with
governor he challenged his opponent to release their spouse`s tax returns.
He won`t release his. And now, he`s using John Kerry`s wife, Teresa Kerry,
as his defense for not releasing his tax returns in 2002 and last month.
Listen to this.


ROMNEY: I`ll be real surprised if Senator John Kerry`s wife Teresa
who I understand is getting close to being a billionaire is releasing her
taxes either.

John McCain ran for president and released two tears of tax returns.
John Kerry ran for president. You know, his wife who has hundreds of
millions of dollars, she never released her tax returns. Somehow this
wasn`t an issue.


SHARPTON: I mean, it`s do as I say not what I do. I mean, what are
we looking at here? It`s almost dizzying.

It is. I guess asking for the wife`s tax return, I mean, being the wife of
an elected official is really the only way the Republican are comfortable
with women in government. So there`s that.


COX: And then there`s the problem of him saying that he has paid
taxes which I`m certain is true. He`s probably paid a sales tax, a
property tax, an airport tax. Who knows? He`s probably paid multiple
kinds of taxes. But we don`t know what kind of income tax he paid.

And it is curious, you know, the amount of energy the campaign is
putting into not releasing these returns. This would be a great
opportunity for them to show up Harry Reid, to make Harry Reid look
terrible if they released these returns and they were fine. Right?

SHARPTON: You`re right. Well, I mean. Ana Marie, you are right. It
would be a big fish they caught in. The sales tax and as you say property
tax and other taxes. The only thing wrong with that statement is I wish I
had thought of saying that myself. That was very, very good. I never
thought of that one.

Let me go back to you, Jonathan. The pew poll, when you look at the
pew poll`s favorability, unfavorability. Romney is really, really
suffering in this area. Only 37 percent see him as favorable, 52 percent
see him unfavorably. If you`re getting pounded by the majority leader of
the senate and you have a rapid the poll, wouldn`t you pull it being that
you this low in favorability and you could embarrass and shame someone as
big as Harry Reid, as big as he is in the Democratic Party?

COHN: Absolutely. I mean, the fact that Romney is not at this very
second out there with his tax returns, I think tells us there must be
something in there. I mean, they are getting killed on this. And this
issue just keeps coming back and people keep saying, look. Everybody, you
know, presidential candidates, this is what they do.

This was a tradition that Mitt Romney`s father George Romney started.
And He made it clear. He said you can`t just release one year of tax
returns because that could be a fluke. We really want to know who you are.
They`ve held on to it for this long. I mean, who knows what`s in there? I
mean, maybe he did pay very few taxes. Maybe he`s sheltering it in strange
places. Maybe, you know, he`s exploiting some very bizarre loophole.

But you know, at this point you`ve got to think there`s something
embarrassing in there because if there wasn`t, we`d know it by now.

SHARPTON: Now Ana Marie, aside from the release of tax returns, three
top house Democrats now penned a letter to treasury and to the labor
department asking them to investigate how Romney has written 20 and $100
million in his IRA.

Now, it is very interesting their letter. It reads, we are alarmed to
learn that wealthy taxpayers may be taking advantage of tax subsidies that
is designed to provide for retirement to instead accumulate massive amounts
of tax sheltered assets. The strategy has been cited as one explanation
for how presidential candidate Mitt Romney`s IRA is valued at between $20
million and $101 million despite the annual contribution limits that apply
to tax-preferred retirement accounts and plans.

Now, we`ve heard people say that his tax plan was mathematically
impossible. Given the limits in which you can invest in an IRA plan, how
does he have his IRA plan valued at $20 million to $101 million? Now,
that`s some real innovative mathematics there.

COX: Or there`s the possibility he`s very, very old. That`s the
really only other explanation I can think of.

You know, I think this is also something that`s really going to hurt
him because people understand IRAs. You know, a lot of people have IRAs.
I have an IRA. I struggle to get in the $6,000 a year, but people
understand what they are. They understand what the limits are. To see
that amount of money being -- I don`t even want to use the money squirreled
away. I mean, I don`t know what kind of animal collects as many nuts as
Romney has in his IRA. It`s really disturbing to people. I think it`s the
same with the releasing the tax returns.

Everything we`re talking about here just underscores how different
Romney is from a normal person. The way that wealth makes you able to play
by different rules, basically. And that`s the thing that Romney has to
struggle against. That and the fact that he doesn`t have any real policies
he`s talked about.

SHARPTON: Well, don`t forget, Ana Marie, corporations are people.

Ana Marie Cox and Jonathan Cohn, thanks for your time tonight.

Coming up, the historic achievement of Gabby Douglas, a lifetime of
training leads to gold on the world`s biggest stage. And it`s a story of
struggle and sacrifice. A story to inspire a whole nation.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Gold medals are made out of your sweat, blood,
and tears and effort in the gym every day. Ad sacrificing a lot that you
have to do.


SHARPTON: And today`s word of the day is poppycock. Yes, poppycock.
It`s a golden oldie from the Romney archives. And it blows the lid off his
attacks on the president.

All that plus robots getting busy on the dance floor. That`s ahead in
your summer break.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out on facebook? The "Politics
Nation" conversation is going all day long. Our fans couldn`t get enough
of GOPWOT today. That`s GOP wasting our time. So what`s the biggest waste
of time?

Dale`s sick of the constant attempts to repeal the affordable care
act. While John notices they spent an awful lot of time eating chicken
sandwiches lately.

Folks haven`t been able to get enough of Olympic gymnastic champion
Gabby Douglas.

Lilly says every time I see Gabby`s picture I smile and get misty

Diane says she`s poetry in motion, from got walks to Gabby.

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: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

An interesting headline caught my eye today. It said quote,
"Washingtonians are most likely to swear at the office." That`s right,
folks. The nation`s capital is where workers are most likely to curse on
the job.

Why D.C.? What`s behind all this cussing? I think I know what it is.
Maybe it`s because of all of GOPWOT. That`s right. I`ve said it before
and I`ll say it again. The GOP is wasting our time.

Today`s installment of GOPWOT has a Capitol Hill rally against the
president`s affordable care act because obviously, the 33 votes to repeal
or defund healthcare weren`t enough, GOPWOT. House Republicans also
announced today they`re going to file a civil lawsuit against attorney
general holder over fast and furious, more GOPWOT.

That is what the Republicans have time for? Job legislation? Nope.
A tax plan to help the middle class? No dice. This is absurd. So absurd
that moderate Republicans are calling out their own party.


REP. STEVE LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: Anybody that doesn`t understand that
in a split government you`ve got to find a common ground way out of it.
It`s not going to be your way or the highway. Is nuts.


SHARPTON: He`s not cussing. At least not on TV. But that`s a man
fed up with GOPWOT.

Joining me now is Joe Madison, nationally syndicated radio host of
"Mornings with Madison."

Joe, thanks for coming on the show today.

satellite radio, but I usually try not to. But, there`s a lot to curse
about when you think about what`s going on.

SHARPTON: Now obviously, you know Joe, we`re having our fun with the
term GOPWOT. But on a serious note, how does wasting time and angry
Republicans help us? I mean, are they tone deaf to the politics of this?

MADISON: I think it goes by what we`ve been saying, Reverend
Sharpton, for a long time. I`m disappointed that they`re leaving and not
staying and fighting. We`ve said from the very beginning since 2010 that
the adults in the party have to speak up. These are the people because
what`s going to happen is the extremists are going to destroy the
Republican Party. And if that`s what they want to do, they`re well on
their way.

So this is what we`re really talking about. I`d rather they stay and
fight. I`d rather they get on programs like yours and talk about the
compromises that they`re trying to reach. Can you imagine having a rally
today, Reverend Sharpton, where you are opposed to the health care plan
where the insurance companies now aren`t allowed to charge women more than
they charge men for the same coverage. Can you imagine being --

SHARPTON: And they`re rallying against that.

MADISON: And rallying against it and also preventable care like
mammograms and other prostate cancer checks. I mean, who would be opposed
to that?

SHARPTON: But they`re breaking up their party, Joe. I mean, "Buzz
Feed" reports that GOP is starting to crack up. Moderates are sick and
tired of being forced to do the tea party`s bidding. Let me read "Buzz
Feed" writes this. Quote, "the decision by majority leader Eric Cantor to
schedule several votes on abortion re-affirming the nation`s motto is in
fact in God we trust and other social issues has angered moderates for more
than a year." They are pushing their own party to the brink here.

MADISON: That`s right. And it`s like a firing squad. And then
accuse today the employment records. How can you be opposed to progress?
You know, I watched the Olympics today. First track and field event. The
long distance runners, you know what they did? They lapped. They lapped
these folks. Why? Because they were consistent. They kept moving

You know, the same analogy, what President Obama has done, he`s
actually lapped George Bush`s eight years in creating jobs in three and a
half years. He`s lapped him. And that ought to be celebrated, and a gold
medal I hope we get in November.

SHARPTON: Now, the fact is you brought up about adults in the room,
when you look for leadership in the party to really kind of put these
people, the extremists, in check, it`s not there.

Governor Romney was -- for example, he was asked to comment on Michele
Bachmann`s Muslim brotherhood claims. Take a listen to his response?


ROMNEY: I`m not going to tell other people what things to talk about.
Those are not things that are part of my campaign.


SHARPTON: I mean, that`s not showing real leadership.

MADISON: And that`s because, Reverend Sharpton, they can criticize
you, me for things we do. But the one thing is, we`re centered in what we
believe. If you notice anything about Mitt Romney, he`s not centered in
his belief. He will say whatever it takes to get elected to any group he`s
in front of. That`s exactly what he does. He`s not centered in his
principle. And he showed that earlier today with the taxes.

It`s hilarious to say that Harry Reid who`s not known for being, you
know, saying things off key, it`s his responsibility. Release your taxes.


MADISON: And you are the one who`s responsible for showing that
you`re not hiding anything. If you want to embarrass, Harry Reid, that`s a
perfect way of doing it. And he would do it if he wasn`t hiding something.

SHARPTON: Joe Madison, thank you for your time tonight. Have a good

MADISON: You too. God bless.

SHARPTON: And if you`ve got a good case of GOPWOT you`d like to
report, let us know on nation.

Still ahead, what`s disgrace for the lobbyist, Jack Abramoff has to do
with the ridiculous new voter ID theory on the right.

Plus, history in the making, the sacrifices Gabby Douglas made to
achieve her gold medal at these Olympic Games.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We didn`t know if it would pay off, but she was
committed. And she told me that from day one. She said Mom, I know I can
do this.


SHARPTON: We`ll have new reaction to this inspiring story. Stay with


SHARPTON: Folks -- folks, there`s been so many conservative theories
about voter ID laws floating out there, but there`s a new one that could
really prove to be the most ridiculous yet.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to a brand new study from the national
center for public policy research, blacks and the poor are the most common
victims of voter fraud and would be protected by voter ID laws.


SHARPTON: Blacks and the poor would be protected by voter ID laws.

Well, thanks, but no thanks, GOP. This theory would be funny if it
weren`t so sad. And that brings me to the man behind it. He even wrote a
report about it.

Meet Harris Cooper, the guy who wrote the report. Back in 2009 Mr.
Cooper was indicted on corruption charges. Those charges include accepting
gifts from Jack Abramoff, the disgraced Republican lobbyist who spent
nearly four years in prison for corruption and fraud. Cooper was a
government employee at that time and pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
Admitting he didn`t tell ethics officials about the gifts he received.
Cooper got three years probation. This is the guy who`s behind the big
shiny new GOP fake voter fraud theory.

Aside from Cooper`s own troubles, his report also makes some serious
misleading claims. He credits the success of voter ID laws as the reason
for increased black voter turnout in states like Georgia from 2006 to 2010.

Now, the truth is Georgia did see an increase in voter turnout during
those years. But in a nearby North Carolina, a state without voter ID
laws, black turnout at the polls was more than double the increase in
Georgia. Voter ID laws depressed turnout, not the other way around. So
this is one of the experts supporting voter ID laws?

Nice try. But we got you.



PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The people standing behind me
should not have to pay more just so the wealthiest Americans can pay less.
That`s not just top down economics. That`s upside down economics.


SHARPTON: President Obama today making his values crystal clear. The
way to build the economy is by helping out all Americans.


OBAMA: You grow an economy from the middle out and from the bottom
up. The last thing that we should be doing is asking middle class families
who are still struggling to recover from this recession to pay more in
taxes. Rebuilding a strong economy begins with rebuilding our middle


SHARPTON: The President`s tax plan would give a break to 98 percent
of Americans helping the economy continue to grow by putting money into
people`s pockets. And the economy is growing. Slowly but surely. Today`s
jobs report shows we added 163,000 jobs last month. That`s 29 straight
months of job growth.

But incredibly, Mitt Romney called the latest report a quote, "hammer
blow." Remember President Obama took over the economy that was cratering
under Bush. Look at the job losses in those final months. And now, Romney
wants to attack President Obama even when there`s 29 straight months of job

Today, an amazing tape surfaced from 2004. It shows that what Romney
used to think and that Romney thought it was crazy to blame a slow economy
on the President.


recognize that the slowdown in jobs that occurred during the early years of
the Bush administration were the result of a perfect storm. And an effort
by one candidate to somehow say, ph, this recession and the slowdown of
jobs was the result of somehow this President magically being elected,
people in America just dismissed that as being poppycock.


SHARPTON: Poppycock? Poppycock? Who says poppycock anymore? Romney
sounded like a one percenter even back in 2004. Maybe that`s why he
defended President Bush who cut taxes from millionaires and billionaires.
And maybe it`s why he attacks President Obama even though the job growth
since he took over is as clear as the day. My response? Poppycock.

Joining me now is Hilda Solis, secretary of labor. And Jared
Bernstein, an MSNBC contributor and former chief economist for the Vice
President Joe Biden. Thanks for coming on the show tonight.


HILDA SOLIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR: Good to be with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Madam Secretary, let me start with you. What are you
seeing in today`s jobs report?

SOLIS: I see a very good solid report showing that almost across the
board in different sectors in manufacturing in the leisure hospitality and
business and professions. Also in the health care industry, we see more
job growth. The good news I think for many people is that we`re seeing
more growth in manufacturing. And in fact, it hasn`t been since 1989 that
we`ve actually seen such a good, solid increase.

Since 1989. And we`re talking about under this administration about
500,000 jobs added in manufacturing. And about 250,000 came directly in
the automobile industry as a result of President Obama`s investments in
trying to focus in on those middle class jobs in the automobile industry.
Which is so much part of our history and our culture.

SHARPTON: Now, Jared, you know, we could have different opinions, not
different facts. There is no doubt 29 straight months jobs have been
added. We`d have liked a lot more, but they`ve been there 29 consecutive

BERNSTEIN: That`s right.

SHARPTON: There`s no doubt that this President inherited a disastrous
economy. Now, Mitt Romney was the one that said in 2004 when he was
talking about poppycock, he also was the one who said that voters shouldn`t
change president`s midstream while jobs are being created. Well, don`t
take my word for it. Listen to Willard.


ROMNEY: Every indication is that the economic policies adopted and
pursued by this President are creating jobs at a very high pace. And so
the people of America have to ask, do you want to stay with a President who
is rebuilding the economy, who is creating jobs, or do you want to stop
midstream and find someone new?


SHARPTON: I think that`s a good question today, don`t you?

BERNSTEIN: Yes. I think it`s an excellent question. And
interestingly, if you actually take those kinds of graphs you were showing.
You were showing payroll job changes over the last few years. You could do
the same thing with GDP. Just the overall growth in the economy. And you
draw a line where the President not just took office, but where some of the
President`s key interventions took place. Think about the recovery act.

What you`ll see is that the rate of job loss immediately began to
diminish. The rate of GDP shrinkage, immediately began to diminish. Such
at a few months later, the economy was expanding and starting in early
2010, we were adding jobs. Now, you`re absolutely right. It`s not a fast
enough clip. And the President again has suggested ideas to help make
things faster and he`s run right into gridlock.

I think the point that -- I think there`s one point there that Mitt
Romney made that I think is actually worth paying attention to, which is
about what you inherit. And Secretary Solis is still there. I was there
at the time, it is absolutely the case that this President inherited a
nightmarish downturn and he worked very to help get the momentum back in

SHARPTON: Now, this week, Secretary, Madam Secretary, Romney`s
economic adviser Glenn Hubbard wrote in the Wall Street Journal that Mitt
Romney`s plan will add 12 million jobs in his first term. I mean, is that
even a realistic projection given his policies that he`s proposing?

SOLIS: Well, if we continue down the same path that he wants to
propose and that is to give tax breaks to the very wealthy and not close
any loopholes and not look at the desire of bringing back jobs home and
making those good investments in our safety system because we -- you know,
I just don`t see us going down a good path. I think we stick with the
President`s plan that he`s offered, President Obama. And we get the
Congress to act.

We have some proposals that have been sitting up there for ten months
that could create a million jobs right now in construction just through
infrastructure development alone. And putting money back in for our
teachers and our firefighters. Those are good middle class jobs. I`ve
heard nothing elaborated by Romney about particularly looking at the most
vulnerable. That`s the middle class families that have been hit the

SHARPTON: Now, the thing that strikes me, Jared, is that Hubbard who
wrote the piece as an economic adviser to Romney who wrote the piece in the
Wall Street Journal, he was chairman of President Bush`s council on
economic advisers. Now, he`s working for Romney.


SHARTPON: But remember the private sector lost 673,000 jobs under
Bush. I mean, should we believe anything this guy`s got to say about job

BERNSTEIN: So, I was trying to figure out where that 12 million comes
from. And as best I can figure out, that`s actually the projection that
you`ll get if you look at any kind of standard long-term forecast about how
the economy should generate jobs when it`s operating normally. But if you
actually look back through history and try to find when that happened, you
have to go back to the Bill Clinton years.

As you suggested, if you look at the Bush years, you don`t get
anything like that, job creation. But those numbers are actually very much
like what Clinton got. About 25 million over eight years. So you ask
yourself, were the economic policies in place under Clinton versus those
under Bush?


BERNSTEIN: Which ones are more like the ones under Romney? Well, of
course they`re the double down, trickle down that you got under Bush. And
as you say, that is not associated with that kind of job growth.

SHARPTON: Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Jared Bernstein, thanks
for your time. Both of you. Have a great weekend.

SOLIS: Thank you, Reverend.


SHARPTON: Coming up, what`s Gabby`s gold medal mean to millions of
young women and athletes across the country?

But first, what happens when a bunch of robots decide to get funky?
Your summer break is next.


SHARPTON: We`re back with a 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 summer break.

What happens when robots get loose? They bust a move. They get jiggy
with it. These guys were programmed to dance for a global competition held
in China. They were actually separate categories including ballet and
street dancing. Check out those moves. But are they ready for horse
ballet? And that`s today`s summer break.


SHARPTON: Last night people around the world were riveted by the
Olympics gymnastics competition. And the star of the night was 16-year-old
Gabby Douglas. Just watch.

It was an inspiring performance. Gabby was dominating all night long.
But the moment of truth came when the final scores were announced. It was
a tense moment.

And with that, Gabby Douglas became the first African-American to win
an individual Olympic gold in gymnastics. A moment she and many proud
Americans will no doubt remember forever. Was this one.


Gabby is a young star who worked so hard to get where she is today.
And who`s broken barriers on her way to a gold medal.

Joining me now is Liz Clarke, sports writer for "The Washington Post."
And Goldie Taylor, columnist, blogger, and managing editor of her own blog
The Goldie Taylor Project.

Liz, let me start with you. What can you tell us about Gabby Douglas?

star as I think, 37 million Americans saw last night. She is an
exceptional gymnast. She is 94 pounds of just solid granite when it comes
to will and determination. She is fierce. She is a beast when she
competes. But she is the most elegant limber, flexible, graceful performer
and has this magnetic charisma that just draws people to her.

And she has been in charge of her career. She`s the one who told her
mother when she was 14, you know, I need better training. I need to push
myself. I need to move away from home and work with a world class gymnast
coach. And her family didn`t want her to go. And she loves her family.
So, she made her first real difficult heart rending decision at 14.


CLARKE: Yes. It`s been less than two years and she is the reigning
world champion. She has two gold medals in two days and she may well have
four by Tuesday, by the end of her games.

SHARPTON: Goldie, Liz mentioned her mother Natalie Hawkins talked
about the sacrifices Gabby`s family made for her. Watch what the mother
had to say.


NATALIE HAWKINS, GABBY DOUGLAS` MOTHER: It was a big push and having
to, you know, allow her to move away from home at 14. It was really,
really difficult. And I didn`t know if it would pay off. We didn`t know
if it would pay off, but she was committed.
And she told me that, you know, from day one. She said mom, I know I
can do this, but I have to have the opportunity to have that coach, Coach


SHARPTON: Goldie, many of us can`t imagine what it takes for family
support and discipline the athletes have to go through in order to achieve

at 16 the only barrier I had broken was the speed barrier in my `74
mustang. And so, she is absolutely to be congratulated and celebrated for
the poetry that she literally wrote across those uneven bars. You know,
for the way that she soared higher than anyone else you know, has or could.

And so those things absolutely have to be celebrated. The thing about
Gabby is at 12 years old, she was watching the 2008 Olympics and said to
her mother, I can do that. Her mother believed her. And, you know, being
a single mom myself with daughters, being able to invest in your child`s
passions are the things that we want to do. This single mom made that
investment into a sport that I`ve got to tell you is incredibly expensive.

It is expensive for the lessons, for the coaches, and then for her
older two daughters to come away and say mom, we`re going to help you do
this. Help her get to the best coach, you know, imaginable that she could
find in Iowa and live away from her parents. You know, that was an
important and critical step. But at the end of the day, this is about
Gabby`s belief in herself.


TAYLOR: This is about Gabby`s belief in her higher power. You know,
this is about Gabby`s training. And she`s got to be celebrated today.

SHARPTON: And it`s about those that supported her and believed in
her, Liz. And it`s an American story because even though I stated she`s
the first African-American to get an individual gold medal in gymnastics,
she actually moved to Iowa and lived with a family that was not African-
American who became like her family and they helped push her. And
everybody celebrates as Gabby wins. This is the family that she was with
that became like her family and as much as it hurt her to be away from her
family, they became the family that helped push her as well.

CLARKE: That`s an excellent point. Absolutely. And Gabby will tell
stories about how, you know, she`d ask her -- I guess she calls her, her
foster mom. Missy Parton is her name of the mother who takes care of her
in Iowa. But they all Skype, you know, to make sure all the moms are on
the same page of what Gabby can and cannot do. She also has a kind of a
third mom in Shawn Johnson.


CLARKE: .who is you know, quite young, but Shawn was the 2008 silver
medalist -- all around silver medalist who was based at this same gym
trained by Liang Chow.


CLARKE: And she has also been a mentor and she was in the stands. So
Gabby in effect had three moms and she has a coach of Chinese decent. So
she is just an international product, but quite a self-made and self-
possessed rare talent.

SHARPTON: Now, everybody has some investment and identity in this,
but let me look at a bigger picture of Goldie. Today August 3rd marks the
76th anniversary of another great moment in Olympic history and African-
American history. When Jesse Owens today won the first of four medals in
Berlin where Hitler talked about superior race Jesse Owens in his face won
that race. What does these victories mean to Americans back home when we
see these breakthroughs?

TAYLOR: I think this victory really speaks to the greatness of the
diversity that is this America. You know, this the absolutely a great
story about a young woman who happens to also be African-American but is
also an American. And this is the embodiment of the American dream. This
is what happens when it all comes together in just the right way. And so
it is possible. You work really hard and you catch the right breaks and it
is absolutely is possible. And she showed what happens when we give the
kids just the right break.

SHARPTON: That`s right. Well, Liz Clarke and Goldie Taylor, thank
you both for your time. And you know, Goldie, I know some people were
tweeting craziness about Gabby`s hair. Anybody does word after what she
did about her hair, we need to worry about their head.


We`ll be right back with a big setback for republican governor who`s
trying to shortcut democracy. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today, the Michigan Supreme Court temporarily suspended
that state`s radical emergency manager law and ruled that voters will
decide the issue in November. This is a victory for democracy. It
restores the right of citizens to have a say so on their city and who will
run it and who gets to make those decisions. The law was signed by
republican Governor Rick Snyder in 2011.

It`s let the state take over financially cities and school district
giving control to a single individual and emergency manager. That one
person has the power to throw out elected officials and cancel public
employee union contracts. Under this law, the state has already taken over
school districts in Flint, Pontiac, Benton Harbor, and Ecorse. Last year,
the emergency manager in Pontiac, Michigan told a radio host what his role
really is.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s being portrayed as an act that takes the
election -- the right to a ballot away from the people. That it takes
power away from elected officials and hands it over to a tyrant, if you
will, a dictator. How is that wrong? Where do people get it wrong?

guess, I`m the tyrant in Pontiac then, if that`s the way it is.


SHARPTON: Hey, I`m the tyrant. Too bad for you. Opponents of the
law organized a petition drive to put the law on the November ballot for
citizens` repeal. Their petitions were initially rejected by state
officials because the papers didn`t have the right font size. Yep. You
heard that right. Rejected over font size.

But today, the state Supreme Court reversed that decision. So until
the November vote, the law will be suspended. But we must be vigilant on
this issue for democracy. Congratulations to those that fought. You won a
battle. But the war is not over.

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


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