PoliticsNation, Monday, August 6, 2012
Read the transcript from the Monday show
Guests: Nia-Malika Henderson; Margie Omero, Jon Soltz; Marcy Kaptur, Ed Rendell, Michael Steele
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, POLITICS NATION: Welcome to
"Politics Nation." I`m Al Sharpton.
Conservatives are going after gold medal winner Gabby Douglas because
she`s not wearing red, white, and blue? We`ll have that story in our
Olympic coverage tonight.
But we begin tonight with three months to go, 92 days to be exact from
today. More than 100 million Americans will head to the polls. Their vote
will shape the direction of this country forever. This is the home
stretch. Now, the time to cut through all the noise, this decision has
never been more serious, but it all boils down to one simple choice. Do
you want a president who fights for a select few or one that`s fighting to
give a fair shot to everyone?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I believe that this
country succeeds when everyone gets a fair shot, when everyone does their
fair share, when everyone plays by the same rules.
In this country, prosperity has never trickled down from the wealthy
few. Prosperity has always come from the bottom up, from a strong and
growing middle class. This is a make or break moment for the middle class.
And we`ve been through too much to turn back now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That`s what this president stands for. That`s the message
that`s driving his campaign. Meanwhile today, Governor Romney went
shopping. There he is pushing his own cart. He grabbed a few ears of
corn, picked up some wild cherry diet Pepsi. Looks like he is expecting
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Got some folks coming over
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Are you going to cook today?
ROMNEY: I`ll make my own dinner, yes. That`s not exactly cooking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He`s not exactly cooking. But he`s given us plenty to chew
This weekend he hit the campaign trail with far right tea party
candidate Richard Mourdock. Now, you remember Mr. Mourdock. He`s the guy
that doesn`t believe in compromise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICHARD MOURDOCK (R), INDIANA STATE CANDIDATE: I certainly think that
bipartisanship ought to consist of Democrats coming to the Republican point
of view. Bipartisanship means they have to come our way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That message must have spoken to Mr. Romney because here`s
what he had to say about Mourdock.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: We got to get this guy elected in the U.S. Senate, you know
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Mr. Romney`s made even more friends than just that. This
year`s list of speakers at the Republican national convention is an all
star lineup of far right Republican governors. There`s Ohio governor
Kasich, the man who launched a war against unions in Ohio, Governor Nikki
Haley who pushed South Carolina`s controversial voter I.D. law, and how
about Governor Suzanna Martinez? She slammed the dream act even her own
grandparents were undocumented immigrants.
And last but not least, governor "36 percent approval" Scott, the man
responsible for the voter purges, the man who wants to drug test welfare
folks. Take a look because these people give an idea of what Mr. Romney
would offer in the White House. And the president has made that clear.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: This time they want even bigger tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans. This time they want even deeper cuts to things like education
and Medicare and research and technology. This time they want to give
banks and insurance companies even more power to do as they please. They
have found a nominee for president who`s promised to rubber stamp this
agenda if he gets a chance.
I tell you what. We can`t give him the chance. Not now. Not with so
much at stake. This isn`t just another election. This is a make or break
moment for America`s middle class.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, folks, this is a make or break moment. We are in home
stretch. Just three months left until Election Day and the stakes have
never been higher or more serious.
Joining me now is Nia-Malika Henderson reporter for "the Washington
Post." and Margie Omero, Democratic strategist.
Thank you both, for being here this evening.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Great to be here.
SHARPTON: Margie, let me start with you. Three months to go. Will
this election boil down to an issue of fairness? Is the contrast in the
economic policies and the policies of Romney as opposed to the president on
who has the fairest policy for Americans, is that going to be the central
decider in this election?
MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think that`s one of them.
It`s certainly going to be which candidate you think has the better vision
for going forward. And you have -- under the president you`ve had 29
straight months of private sector job growth. And you have Mitt Romney
saying everything that Obama`s for, I`m against. So he`s against 29 months
of private sector growth. And he is against for the failed policies that
got us here in the first place from the Bush administration.
And so, looking at going forward, voters will look at which candidate
has a vision that includes everyone. And there`s only one candidate who
has that. That`s Barack Obama. Mitt Romney`s plan, independent group
said, would increase taxes for 95 percent of Americans and give a tax cut
to five percent. So those are all things that the American people oppose.
SHARPTON: Nia-Malika, when we get by all of the side conversations
and what some would call distractions, the fact of the matter is that we
have more money that is going to be spent on this election than any
election in history. The fact of the matter is we have more at stake being
that we`re in a slow recovery. Really Americans and what they do in 92
days will decide the economic policies because clearly Romney by his own
surrogates` emission is Bush, just more of Bush. And President Obama is
going another direction. This could not be a more of a contrast between
candidates and more of a contrast between directions.
NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: And, I
mean, this is exactly the argument that you see Democrats trying to make
you see. President Obama as add in some ways politics can often be small
but this is a big, big choice that voters are going to face in November.
You`ve seen obviously from the Romney campaign an attempt to make this more
of a referendum on President Obama and Democrats saying it`s a choice
between Republicans and Democrats. Very interesting the way the tab low of
governors that will be speaking in Tampa, I think you`re going to see from
the Romney campaign an attempt to really run an outside Washington
campaign, to look at some of the unemployment rates in some of these
states. For instance, Ohio, it`s pretty good there 7.2 percent. In New
Mexico you`ll have the governor of New Mexico up on stage for the RNC.
So they`re going to try to make an outside the beltway argument and
say Republican governor have a better approach to the economy. So we`ll
obviously have to see what the Democratic response to that is in charlotte
SHARPTON: Omero, but using this out of Washington strategy, many of
your main speakers, governors of states whose unemployment numbers are
lower than the national, don`t they run the risk of as they beat up on the
president for a slow recovery, they end up playing against their own
unemployment numbers being lower that they want to take credit for in their
I mean, how do you at one level say I brought unemployment down, but
beat up on the president on what he`s done and how do you convince voters
that you`re going to divide the national strategy from what impacted you
locally if you`re governor on that RNC stage?
OMERO: Right. I mean, there are lots of inconsistencies. You have a
lot of candidates who say, you know, I`m against getting help from
Washington unless it`s true, unless it`s for my area or my district or my
state. So, there are lots of inconsistencies on the Republican side when
it comes to these kinds of things.
But ultimately, this is about Mitt Romney`s policies and about where
Mitt Romney stands. And you see him, you know, paling around with folks
who have gone off the deep end, who were gone to walk the plank on these
very extreme positions, want to hold the government hot issues of
Washington now, has record well approval rating. And Mitt Romney is not
providing the type of leadership to show that he would want to change that.
And it`s no surprise that polls show that Barack Obama really has the
advantage in polling on who`s a stronger leader.
SHARPTON: Nia-Malika, I`m a voter in Ohio. I`m a voter in
Pennsylvania. The recovery is not as fast as I would like where 8.3
percent unemployment. What does Mitt Romney have to say to me to make me
believe that he can speed up that recovery and has he made up that argument
or is there an argument to be made?
HENDERSON: Well, there certainly is an argument to be made, but so
far he isn`t. And you hear these complaints from Republicans that he isn`t
being specific enough about the how we could actually speed up the
recovery. He`s latching himself on to some of these governors of these
states. He was just in Ohio a couple of weeks go touting Governor Kasich`s
But again, there is this sort of mismatch between the president`s
policies and certainly he can probably take credit for the way Ohio is
doing especially with the auto bailout there being such a significant
driver of jobs in that state. But so far there hasn`t been a --
SHARPTON: That wouldn`t be the same auto bailout that your nominee
Mr. Romney said let it go bankrupt.
HENDERSON: That`s the exact same one. And so it is - you know, I
think there`s more to come. You hear Romney on the stump now being a
little bit more specific. He has his five-point plan for getting the
middle class rejuvenated and back to work. But it really is just a
repackaging of lot of the talking points we`ve heard from Republicans so
far about rolling back of some of the regulations.
So increasingly, there is this call from Republicans for Mitt Romney
to be specific and rather than just saying it will be so because he says it
will be so, to actually put some policy plans out there. But so far, he
seems to think that he can sort of run a campaign where he`s a little bit
under the radar and essentially slide into the White House on these last
SHARPTON: Margie, let me leave this with you. Quickly, when Nia-
Malika was talking about associating himself, he`s also associated himself
with Mr. Hubbard who is chairman of -- who was chairman of President Bush`s
council on economic advisers, Glen Hubbard who is his economic adviser and
writing pieces for the "Wall Street Journal." When you have the chairman
of George Bush`s economic council as your economic adviser and the Bush
policies are the ones that put us in this rut, you`re talking about
associations. That`s a little hard sell if I`m a guy that`s worried about
the fact that we`re in a slow recession that those policies caused.
OMERO: Yes. I mean, he`s in a situation who is trying to please
everybody and he is pleasing nobody. I mean, he has difficulties with his
base. He has difficulty with independents. He has difficulty really
speaking genuinely and warmly and openly with people. So he has issues
from a lot of different angles and the economic policy`s people rejected.
Voters have rejected it. Voters reject it now, and public opinion polling.
And it`s up to Democrats to make their case and remind voters what the real
difference here is between the two candidates. And I think the president
is well poised to do that.
SHARPTON: Nia-Malika Henderson and Margie Omero. Thanks to both of
you for being on tonight.
HENDERSON: Thank you, Rev.
OMERO: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, the explosive story on how Mitt Romney hired a
lobbyist. To reduce the property taxes on his $12 million home.
Incredible! And we have the details.
And who is this shooter? He`s the former member of a racist skin head
band now accused of murdering six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. We
must end the senseless violence. All that.
Plus the right wing is ripping Gabby Douglas over her uniform. Why
we`re awarding them a medal in absurdity tonight.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Folks, have you joined us on facebook yet? The "Politics
Nation" conversation is going all day long. The 47th anniversary of the
signing of the voting rights act was a big talker today.
Bruce says he still remembers the day, calling it monumental.
Gloria reminds us quote, "we fought for this and we are still fighting
And Mary celebrated the anniversary with action. I am busy
registering people to vote on this happy birthday for voting rights.
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 this show ends. We look forward to seeing you there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYNDON B. JOHNSON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today is a
triumph for freedom as huge as any victory that`s ever been won on any
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That was President Lyndon B. Johnson, 47 years ago today as
he signed the voting rights act of 1965, outlawing discriminatory voting
Today, with a three-month sprint to the election, the GOP is ramping
up its efforts to suppress the vote. And now Governor Romney has put
himself right in the middle of that effort.
In the crucial swing state of Ohio, a new voting law ends early voting
on the Friday before the Election Day. But it allows active military
members to vote until the Monday before Election Day.
The Obama campaign, DNC, and Ohio Democratic Party are suing the
state`s election officials to restore early voting for everyone because all
voters must have the same rights. But over the weekend, Governor Romney
accused the president of being anti-military calling his lawsuit, quote,
"an outrage," chinning up his own fate outrage. His claim that the
president is anti-military is absurd.
Steve (INAUDIBLE) at Maddow blog tracks the Romney lies and by his
standard, this one is, quote, "as loathsome a lie as Romney has told all
Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod calls it shameful.
Now, under Romney`s logic, we could say he`s against anyone not in the
military. This is ugly politics. And it`s wrong.
Joining me now is Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Democrat from Ohio and
Jon Soltz, an Iraq war veteran and chairman of votevets.org. He wrote a
piece on think progress.org titled "why does Mitt Romney want to restrict
voting rights for more than 900,000 Ohio veterans."
Thanks to both of you for joining me.
JON SOLTZ, CHAIRMAN, VOTEVETS.ORG: Thank you.
REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D), OHIO: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman, let me start with you. Explain to our
viewers what Romney is claiming here.
KAPTUR: Well, what he is saying is that - he is actually twisting the
truth because in Ohio, the Republican establishment including the secretary
of state had denied early voting the last three before election as you
stated to anyone but veterans. And that means our senior citizens; people
who work late, the spouses of those in the military won`t be able to vote,
the important weekend before Election Day.
And what he`s saying is because the Obama administration is now taking
that case to court, that ruling to court, that they`re against veterans.
But what the Obama administration is for and the Obama campaign is for, is
for voting rights for all Ohioans to vote the weekend before election. Why
deny them that right?
SHARPTON: And including the military, those that are active in the
military. So it`s not against them. It would include them, but they`re
saying include everyone else.
KAPTUR: But include everybody including our veterans. The people who
love them, the people who support them, their families back home. Why not
support the citizens of Ohio? And so, he has really twisted this into the
wind in a way we don`t even recognize. But remember, the Republican Party
in Ohio is trying to suppress the vote here because they know the president
SHARPTON: No doubt.
Now, John, you took it even step further. Because you pointed out
that the law is only talking about active military. It doesn`t even cover
veterans. Is that right?
SOLTZ: That`s correct. I mean, this is a terminology issue. So, a
veteran is someone currently on active duty. When you leave active duty
you`re a veteran. So, what Mitt Romney plan wants to do, and what he is
fighting for is there are over 900,000 veterans in the state of Ohio.
Obviously, if you`re a veteran you`re over the age of 18 and you could
write and shouldn`t vote and vote.
So, under the Romney plan, 900,000 veterans won`t be able to vote
early. And you know active military is just a different term. The law
only protects people that are currently active military which means it`s
their full-time job.
So, our argument is really simple. And it doesn`t surprise me based
on Mitt Romney`s service record which doesn`t exist and his kids` service
record doesn`t exist. And I`m sure the most people around him it doesn`t
The public has a hard time understanding what it means to be a
veteran. So, if you`re a veteran who served in Vietnam and lost both of
your legs or you`re a disabled veteran who returned home from Iraq and
Afghanistan or you`re an elderly veteran from World War II that was in
Gouda Canal, you can`t vote early. I mean, don`t you think that it`s hard
for elderly veterans from World War II to make it to the polls?
So, that`s what the Romney plan does. It says that older veterans who
has served their country for years, some who retired after 20 years of
military service are somehow less of a veteran than our active military.
And I frankly find that appalling as someone who served two times in Iraq.
SHARPTON: No. It is appalling.
But Congresswoman, I mean, how can they justify this? I mean, it
seems blatant to me.
KAPTUR: It`s blatant, sir. But this is being done to suppress the
vote in Ohio. During the gerrymandering, they split many precincts which
will cause a higher use of provisional ballots around the state in many
places around our state. They`re trying to change the law as you have been
covering this evening to not allow early voting for the majority of our
Here in Ohio, the three days before election. They`re causing chaos
at our local boards of elections around the state in some of our major
counties and even some of the smaller ones. So there`s a concerted effort
here to suppress.
SHARPTON: Now, by doing this Congresswoman, because this is happening
all over the country. I was in Florida yesterday, going back tomorrow.
Ohio`s critical. Pennsylvania has a lawsuit.
In 2008, there was an estimated 93,000 ballots cast during three days
before the election. By changing the time and by lessening the options,
you`re saying the president is ahead in Ohio. You say the number could be
cut down and could be the deciding factor in close or tight vote in Ohio in
who wins that critical state?
KAPTUR: Absolutely, because those votes would not be cast. And
people could have to go back to the polls. They`re used to early voting in
Ohio. We`ve done it before. So, this would be changing the pattern that`s
been established here. Many people go after church. People go late after
work. They use that Saturday voting. It will all be gone. And so, this
really would have a major impact. Tens of thousands of votes are cast on
that weekend here in Ohio.
SHARPTON: Well, I guarantee you we`re going to stay on this story in
Ohio and all over the country.
KAPTUR: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and John Soltz from
votevets.org, thanks for your time tonight to both of you.
Ahead folks, this fight is personal. President Obama does not like
Mr. Romney. We`ve got the inside account tonight.
Plus, why the right wing is questioning Gabby Douglas` patriotism.
It`s so absurd, it`s actually funny.
SHARPTON: Folks, the Olympics is a chance to celebrate some of our
country`s greatest athletes. But the gang at FOX has found a scandal at
the games. They`re not worried about throwing matches or performance
enhancing drugs. This is a different kind of emergency, a fashion
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The famous flag style outfits worn in years
passed replaced with yellow shirts, pink leotards. So, how do we show our
patriotism at the games?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what? Red, white and blue wear it. Wave
it. Be proud to be an American.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Gabby had that great moment. Everybody was so
excited and she`s in hot pink. And that`s her prerogative.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Yes. Who cares that Gabby Douglas made history becoming
the first African-American to win the women`s all around gymnastics title.
She wore pink! Pink! And it was her prerogative. Except that Gabby`s
teammate Aly Raisman also wore pink to the event. Almost like it was a
But here`s another picture. Here`s Gabby waving to the crowd after
winning the gold medal. OK, I`m breaking out the telestrator. Here`s some
play by play. Let`s look at what she`s wearing. I see red. Right there
on the collar and the sleeve. And what`s that on the front of the jacket?
Oh, yes. That`s white. And there`s the blue on her sleeves and cuffs.
That`s not just Gabby, the whole team has worn red, white, and blue in
The gang at FOX should drop the fashion police act. Did they think we
wouldn`t notice their silly attacks on our Olympians? This, a gold medal
performance in all around absurdity. Nice try. But we got you.
SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with the taxing issue that`s
ignited a fire storm in Washington. It started with Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid accusing Governor Romney of not paying taxes. And the GOP
response had all the subtly of a sucker punch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REINCE PRIEBUS, RNC CHAIRMAN: And as far as Harry Reid is concerned,
listen, I know you might want to go down that road. I`m not going to
respond to a dirty liar --
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC ANCHOR: You think Harry Reid is a dirty
PRIEBUS: I just said it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The chairman of the Republican National Committee calling
Senator Reid a dirty liar. And then today he did it again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRIEBUS: There`s no triple down in blackjack, but I`ll triple down on
my comments from yesterday. It is what it is. I mean, he`s a dirty liar
and we`re moving on. We`re moving on...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And he wasn`t calling liar, liar.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: I think he`s lying about his
statement knowing something about Romney. So this is what`s wrong --
MONICA CROWLEY, HOST, STATE OF THE UNION: That`s pretty stiff.
You think the leader of the Senate is lying?
GRAHAM: I really do. I think he`s created an issue here. I think
he`s making things up. At a time when the country is just about to fall
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Today, Senator Reid`s chief of staff fired back saying
they`re a bunch of cowards and they`re avoiding the issue. They`re a bunch
of henchmen for Romney. And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the
Huffington Post, said quote, "Harry Reid is a person who is as we know a
fighter." B, he wouldn`t say this is unless it was true that somebody told
him that. There are still premier questions about Romney`s tax returns and
White House surrogate Robert Gibbs explained why this weekend.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT GIBBS, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Mitt Romney gave John
McCain 23 years of tax returns in order to be the tryout for vice president
where John McCain picked Sarah Palin. If 23 years is good enough to show
John McCain, so Mitt Romney can be vice president of the United States, how
come only two years is appropriate for voters when you want to be the
president? Mitt Romney can go to Kinko`s, he can photocopy the tax
returns, he could hand them out to reporters all over the country. You
know, what? We wouldn`t talk about this tomorrow.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I`d also like to see Mr. Romney at Kinko`s. But the truth
is. All he has to do is release the returns and all these questions would
Joining me now is former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC
News political analyst and Michael Steele, msnbc analyst and former
chairman of the RNC. Thank you both for being here.
MICHAEL STEELE, MSNBC ANALYST: Good to see you, Rev.
ED RENDELL, FORMER PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: It`s a pleasure, Rev.
SHARPTON: Tonight, Michael, I was waiting to talk to you.
STEELE: I bet.
SHARPTON: Let me start with you. You`re the former chairman of the
Republican National Committee.
SHARPTON: Does it make political sense for Mitt Romney to release
more tax returns?
STEELE: Oh, I think politically it does. At this stage of the game
and I`ve said this for several weeks now. I think that, you know,
somewhere in the five to seven range of years back, I think would give
people a sense of what he`s done in terms of his taxes. And I think a lot
of this noise goes away. I think the brouhaha with Harry Reid becomes a
And I think that the country can focus its attention on the things
that as you said rightly Reverend that matter. You know, the discussion
that the President and Mitt Romney need to have about the direction of the
country and how much it`s going to cost us to get back on our feet.
SHARPTON: Your successor called the Senate majority leader a dirty
liar. You took a lot of shots when you were chairman. Some of it friendly
fire. I`ve never heard you use that kind of language. How do you respond
to your successive choice of language?
STEELE: Well, I think, for the, you know, for the job, I mean, look.
You`re on par with the leadership nationally of both parties. And you`ve
got to have a certain level of decorum and respect. With that, I think
there were other ways to express that Harry Reid was talking out of turn
there. And could rightly say, look, if you`ve got the evidence as Mitt
Romney said, put up those individuals and let`s go from there.
But that`s part of the problem. When you get into the name calling
and all of that silliness, then you`ve taken the debate to a whole another
level. And then you become part of the story as opposed to the point that
you`re trying to make.
SHARPTON: But Governor Rendell, the fact of the matter is -- and I
will take it that Michael is saying he disagrees with the choice of
STEELE: Oh, no, absolutely, Reverend. Let me be clear. I do
disagree. I think that is not appropriate language if you are the leader
of a national party to say about a leader of the opposition party. In any
way, shape, or form. I mean, in my two years -- look, you know, the worst
I said was let`s fire Nancy Pelosi. You know, you don`t personalize it
that way. You keep it so that people understand that you`re trying to make
a broader point. Not take it to the point where people look at it as a
SHARPTON: Well, Governor. The fact is that aside from the language
which I think all of us may agree with Michael that was kind of harsh in
tone, the fact is they don`t know that Reid is lying unless they have seen,
I`m talking about Priebus and others have seen Mr. Romney`s tax returns.
How do you call somebody a dirty liar unless you know for a fact that the
information would be the opposite of what Mr. Reid was told?
RENDELL: Right. Absolutely. And remember, what Senator Reid said is
a source told him that Governor Romney hadn`t paid any taxes. Now, he`s
just repeating what that source said. Now, again, it`s always a problem
when you quote an unnamed source. Someone who`s not willing to put his
name on the line. And apparently from what Senator Reid said, it was
someone inside Bain. But look, so he`s not a liar. He`s accurately
telling you what the source said.
If I were the RNC chair, what I would have said is, look, Harry Reid
should have known better to not rely on a source he`s not willing to let
his name be used. That`s a response. And look, Mitt Romney should put
this to bed. He should do at the very least what Chairman Steele said he
should do. I think he should put the same 23 years out in public that he
gave to John McCain at the time.
He was hoping to be vice president. His father did that. I mean,
it`s an issue that should be done and gone. Because we do have more
important things to discuss. And I think the nation in general is waiting
for an intelligent discussion of the real issues. No question about it.
SHARPTON: Now, Michael, let me go to another item.
SHARPTON: Because 54 percent of Americans say they want to see more
of Romney`s taxes. And I think it`s really not that they are interested in
the taxes per se, but more about whether he`s fair. Is he consistent in
his own life with the policies he represents? The L.A. Times shed some
light today on Romney`s taxes. Specifically on the California home that
they paid $12 million in cash for. And are now doubling the size and
adding an underground garage with an elevator.
Now, the Times says, quote, "Initially the Romneys asked that their
2009 assessment, $12.24 million, be reduced to $6.8 million maintaining
that their home had lost about 45 percent of its value in the first seven
months they owned it. Thirteen months later after hiring an attorney to
guide them, the Romneys filed an amended appeal contending the home had
suffered a less-dramatic fall of 27.3 percent to $8.9 million."
So with all this money, it seems that he really has tried to lower his
property tax. I mean, there`s a lot of reasons people are saying, well,
let`s see how you conduct business since you are so firm on what you`re
claiming you want for Americans.
STEELE: Well, Reverend, let`s be clear here and then put everything,
keep everything in context. I mean, people do that all the time. I mean,
in the homes and communities around the country, people are getting tax
assessments and they are evaluating those tax assessments based on the
property value, what they could sell it for. And if those assessments are
too high and at the time that that was done, I presumed that that was, you
know, at the beginning or in the middle of this financial crisis where
counties and municipalities were trying to get as much revenue out of
property that they could.
Families and individuals were challenging those assessments. So
that`s reasonable and then for the lawyers to go in and take a look and do
an evaluation and come back with a recommended number. So, I don`t put
anything different or different spin on it. That`s in keeping with what
any homeowner did over the last four, five years when they got those
assessments from the state and from the county.
SHARPTON: But Governor Rendell, to voters because everybody is not
running for president as one of the two major candidates, how will that
play in Ohio or Pennsylvania to regular guys -- here`s a guy that will not
release his information and we`ve been told with all these millions of
dollars floating around and car elevators being built, he tried to get the
lowest property tax he could, hired somebody to do it.
RENDELL: Well, I actually don`t think that that`s going to be a
problem for him. Because a lot of those Ohioan blue collar workers, some
of them are out of work probably did the same thing. And I don`t think
people are going to have -- look. Not paying taxes, that`s a problem if
that`s the case.
RENDELL: But trying to get, you know, a fair assessment or reduction
in taxes, that`s something everybody does. And, look, look, again, I don`t
think that`s going to be what is going to hurt Governor Romney. What`s
going to hurt Governor Romney is if he didn`t pay taxes and that comes out.
That`s obviously something that a lot of Americans will take seriously.
And secondly, shoring money offshore.
You know, I think that`s going to be something that if in fact he`s
done that, that`s something where a blue collar worker in Ohio is going to
stay, I mean, he put money in Bermuda and didn`t pay taxes on it. Because
he was able to take it out and shower it in some foreign country.
RENDELL: And that pay taxes, and that I think, is a real problem.
But again, we don`t know that it has occurred yet.
SHARPTON: I`ve got to leave it there Governor Ed Rendell, Michael
Steele. And Michael, they say I`m never nice to you. That`s a nice tie
you have on tonight, Michael.
STEELE: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, we`re learning more about this alleged Wisconsin
shooter accused of killing six people at a Sikh temple. How can a neo-Nazi
have easy access to guns? And what can we do about hate crimes on the
And the cheers could be heard all over America today. How about
landing a rover the size of a car 354 million miles away on Mars? What a
triumph. What a country. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: That was the scene inside NASA`s mission control center
where scientists and engineers were celebrating this morning. NASA
successfully landed a rover, the size of a small car onto Mars. The
curiosity rover will examine a 96-mile-wide crater for evidence that the
red planet could once sustain life. This animation shows the end of
curiosity`s nearly nine-month long, 354 million mile journey from earth. A
parachute deployed once it entered the Martian atmosphere.
Then a rocket powered stage helped lower it to the planet surface at a
speed of 13,000 miles per hour. This image from a nearby satellite shows
curiosity parachuting down to Mars. Here`s one of the first images the
rover actually sent back to earth. It shows the curiosity showdown and
shadow on the planet. And this one giving us an up close look at Mars`
surface. Folks, this is an American exceptionalism. What a country.
SHARPTON: It`s becoming all too familiar. Innocent Americans gunned
down in a public place. This time, six people murdered and three
critically injured as they prepared for a religious service at a Sikh
temple in suburban Milwaukee. We`re getting a disturbing picture of the
alleged shooter. Forty-year-old Wade Michael Page of Colorado. He spent
six years in the army serving as a psychological operations specialist.
In 1998, he was less than honorably discharged for drinking while on
duty. In the early 2000s, the Southern Poverty Law Center took notice of
Page who was then getting into the underground white power music scene. He
founded a band that the SPLC says, has deep ties to hate groups. Their
music was considered so violent, it could only be published on the
And yesterday another violent end that some may have seen coming. But
no one was able to stop. Yet again raising the question, what can this
country do to stop this senseless violence?
Joining me now is Ken Jacobson from the Anti-Defamation League. Thank
you for your time tonight.
KEN JACOBSON, ADL, DEPUTY NATIONAL DIRECTOR: Pleasure to be here.
SHARPTON: Ken, Page was well known to hate watch groups. What else
can you tell us about him?
JACOBSON: Well, I think one of the interesting factors is that he was
associated with the old -- one of the oldest skin head racist groups, the
Hammerskins who did you mentioned the End Apathy music group. He performed
in two concerts during the past two years, first in North Carolina and then
in Florida. So Hammerskins have a long history of racism.
And of course we`re seeing a kinder version of the lone wolf
phenomenon. With the internet, spreading of hate available now in ways
that were not before. He`s not quite a lone wolf in the sense that he has
some connections to the organized groups. But still it`s connected to this
idea that individuals can get all this information, can be stirred up then
really take it out on innocent individuals.
SHARPTON: Now, the Southern Poverty Law Center had noticed him. If
some of these people are under the watching groups have come to attention
even at ADL, what happens that we can limit their ability to become violent
and I think they`re calling this already domestic terrorism out in where
the Sikh temple was. What can groups do other than monitor them?
JACOBSON: Yes. It starts with monitoring. And of course, law
enforcement knows about some of these groups. And sometimes they don`t
know. It can be informed. Then you have to look at behavior. It`s not --
we live in a country of free speech. So, people are allowed to say very
nasty things. The question is, he never apparently carried out any violent
If he had done so, then his ability to get a gun might have been
restricted. But since he never did, he was able to get a weapon. But I
think we have to start with monitoring. We have to take it seriously.
International terrorism is a great threat. But people forget that most of
the crimes that take place in the area of terrorism are domestic terrorism
and many are hate terrorism.
SHARPTON: Are we seeing a rise in hate groups? I think that the
Southern Poverty Law Center said in 2000, it was 602 hate groups, last year
there was 1018. Is there`s a rise in this? Is that causing a lot of
JACOBSON: It`s interesting. We found that anti-government hate
groups are truly resurging. There`s a lot of the anti -- in terms of the
white supremacist groups, they don`t seem to be growing. But they are
growing in anger and the willingness to take out their theories of
supremacy against individuals. So, white supremacist groups are not
necessarily growing in number, but they are growing in their sense of anger
and their willingness to act upon it.
SHARPTON: Now, the Mark Potsic who was a senior fellow told "The New
York Times" about this guy. He quote, "This guy was in the thick of white
supremacist music scene and in fact, played with some of the best known
racist bands in the country."
JACOBSON: That`s true.
SHARPTON: So, we`re seeing that there bands, their music, I mean,
there`s open public expression of this kind.
JACOBSON: Well, we live in a free country.
JACOBSON: The bands and the music play a key role in consolidating
the efforts of the individuals. In other words, it`s not just a few
individuals once you have major concerts. And when you have a major
concert, then somebody may very act upon it. So, we have to be -- we have
to take this issue seriously.
SHARPTON: Ken Jacobson from the Anti-Defamation League. Thank you
for your time. Let me say that whether it is a hate group, whether it is
someone that is sick, whether it is crime in communities where we have
urban violence or gang violence, 10,000 people are dying from gun every
year. From gunfire from the use of gun violence. We must fight it.
Today at National Action Network Headquarters, I hosted a meeting of
elected officials and leading clergy on how we deal with violence in our
own community all over the country. We must stop the violence no matter
who`s using it, no matter what reason. There is no reason for guns in the
hands of people to harm innocent people.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts now.
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