updated 8/9/2012 12:06:04 PM ET 2012-08-09T16:06:04

Guests: Ana Marie Cox; Nia-Malika Henderson; Erin McPike, David Wessel, Karen Bass, Joe Madison, Karen Finney


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

Tonight`s lead, the fight for the woman`s vote. President Obama went
to Colorado today to make his case to women voters. And he brought along a
guest who hammered home the real choice in November.

Sandra Fluke is the woman who was famously attacked by Rush Limbaugh.
He called her a prostitute after she testified about birth control. She
introduced the president today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDRA FLUKE, WOMAN`S RIGHT ACTIVIST: This election will decide
whether the rights that generations of women have fought for will be rolled
back. President Obama has had my back, he`s had your back, he`s had all of
our backs. And now we`re going to have his.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And then President Obama came out swinging against the
GOP`s backward policies for women`s health 37.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When it comes to a
woman`s right to make her own health care choices, they want to take us
back to the policies more suited to the 1950s than the 21st century.

The decisions that affect a woman`s health, they`re not up to
politicians. They`re not up to insurance companies. They`re up to you.
And you deserve a president who will fight to keep it that way. That`s the
president I`ve been. That`s the president I will be if I get a second term
president of the United States to keep moving this country forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president`s record speaks for itself. So far this year
the affordable care act has already given 47 million women access to free
checkups, contraception, and breast-feeding supplies. Forty five million
can get free mammograms and cancer screenings. And nearly 40 million are
now protected from lifetime insurance limits. Health care reform is
obviously good for women.

But don`t take my word for it. The Romney campaign, yes you heard me
right. The Romney campaign is helping make the case for the president.
Today, a campaign aide bragged about the governor`s healthcare plan in
Massachusetts. The same one that served as a model for the president`s
law.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To that point, you know, if -- you know, if
people had been in Massachusetts under governor Romney`s health care plan,
they would have had health care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. They would have had health care. Conservatives were
horrified. The editor of red state.com tweeted, OMG. This might be the
moment Mitt Romney lost the election. Wow.

Rush Limbaugh called the comment a quote, "potential gold mine for
Obama supporters." And then Rush doubled down on the GOP`s anti-woman
agenda with some ugly words about planned parenthood.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: What do you call planned
parenthood if that`s not a death squad? And who could politically object
to or disagree?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Planned parenthood is a death squad. Really? No wonder
the new numbers of women voters are downright scary for the Romney
campaign. A new "Washington Post" polls show President Obama holds a 22
point lead over Romney among women voters, 22 points. Women are the reason
the president`s currently holding a slim lead. And it`s clear the fight
for women votes will be a focus until Election Day.

Joining me now is Nia-Malika Henderson, political reporter for "the
Washington Post" and Erin McPike, reporter for "Real Clear Politics."

Let me thank both of you first, for being with us tonight.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: -Good
to see you.
ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Erin, take us inside the strategy for the president to call
to Colorado and talk about health care in his speech.

MCPIKE: Well, right now both Republicans and Democrats will tell you
that suburban women throughout Colorado are keys to winning Colorado. It`s
a very tight race out there. There`s a new poll out this morning by
Quinnipiac and "the New York Times" and CBS that shows Mitt Romney is
leading President Obama by about five points.

Now, President Obama leads Mitt Romney among women in the state. But
even the Romney campaign will say that suburban women are very critical to
their efforts to win Colorado. And the Obama campaign knows about that as
well. And that`s why they`re specifically targeting them on this issue.

SHARPTON: So Nia-Malika, he goes to Colorado where this poll this
morning says the president is behind. Women are keys. And he talks about
his mother and his daughters. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: My own mom turned 70 years old this year. And my sister and I
lost her to cancer when she was just 52 years old. I often think about
what would have happened if a doctor had caught her cancer sooner. Or if
she had been less worried about how to pay her bills and more time spent on
getting well. She is still with us. She`s in a better place.

I think about Malia and Sasha and think to myself, we`re not going to
have an America where they have fewer opportunities than somebody`s sons.
I don`t want them having fewer choices than anybody`s boys do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So Nia-Malika, connecting his mother and health care, his
wishes for the future of his daughters as compared to boys and men, in a
state he needs women`s voters, is it policy in politics? What are we
looking at here?

HENDERSON: Well, it`s a way of talking about policy through very
personal anecdotes. These are very familiar, a personal anecdotes you saw
in 2008 that Obama would hit on similar things about his mother, about his
daughters when he was at Columbia earlier. He also hit on those similar
themes of equality.

And so I think this is a very effective strategy driven. If you look
at the type of women they particularly need to reach, they`re suburban
women but suburban white women. They`re also single white women who are
under the age of 50. Those are the voters that they`re going against. And
that`s why, if you look at a state like Colorado, obviously a state like
Virginia which is here nearby, you can`t turn on the television here
without seeing ads that are specifically targeted to women that talk about
Mitt Romney`s desire to end planned parenthood, end the funding for planned
parenthood. In some of his more conservative views about abortion.

So, this is very much a throwback in some ways to 2008 when John
McCain himself realized that the path to the White House was in terms of
reaching out to women, that`s why he picked Sarah Palin. But you`ve seen
Democrats who really be able to blow out their margin of the need among
women over these last couple years. It was 13 percent in 2008. And now as
you said according to these polls it`s 22 percent.

SHARPTON: Now Erin, when you hear the president talking like we just
heard, talking about his mother, talking about his daughters, talk about
health care, talking about what it means in terms of the gender gap, you
contrast that by hearing how governor Romney`s talked about women`s issues.
Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do I believe the Supreme
Court should overturn Roe V. Wade? Yes, I do.

I`m in favor of the amendment.

Of course you get rid of Obama care. That`s the easy one. But there
are others. Planned parenthood. Going to get rid of that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So the politics of this aside from the policy is that
Romney has said so many things that may impact negatively those suburban
women you are talking about in Colorado, there`s critical. Whereas the
president is really coming with things that at least according to polls of
their opinions is in line with their thinking.

MCPIKE: Sure. A lot of those comments that Mitt Romney made were
designed to appeal to conservatives during the primary. Of course he
needed to win the base in order to be a candidate like Rick Santorum when
he was trying to win that primary. Those kinds of comments may very well
come back to bite him in the general election. In particular we were
talking about Colorado, but also what Nia mentioned, Virginia.

Very important there because of some of the state laws that they were
trying to legitimate earlier this year with the ultrasounds. That didn`t
reflect well on the Republican party and it has hurt Mitt Romney with women
in Virginia. And we`re seeing that now the Romney campaign just earlier
today announced a series of events that they`ll be doing this week with
some of Mitt Romney`s female surrogates including Congresswoman Marsha
Blackburn from Tennessee there, sending out surrogates so that he can
appeal to women that way.

SHARPTON: Well, Nia-Malika and Erin, thanks for your time tonight.
We will be watching.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, just a few months ago, Newt Gingrich called Mitt
Romney a liar. Well, today he`s helping to dust off the old Republican
dirty politics playbook.

Plus, we`ll tell you about the far right`s latest and lamest
conspiracy theory about the president.

And Hillary Clinton is foot loose and fancy free. It`s part of
today`s summer break.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out on facebook? The "Politics
Nation" conversation is going all day long.

Folks today had a lot to say about Romney`s support for Paul Ryan`s
Medicare plan.

Betty says America`s seniors educate themselves about the issues that
affect them and they vote. They know the Ryan plan would destroy the
Medicare they know and love.

Larry says Romney might as well pick Paul Ryan as his VP because the
Ryan budget is hanging as an anchor around his neck anyway.

And Richard says quote, "they want to pick on the frail and the
elderly, but how wrong they are."

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: Mitt Romney is so desperate to change the topic from his
tax returns that he`s ripped a page out of the old Republican playbook.

Today, he repeated his bogus claim that President Obama`s trying to
weaken the work requirements of the welfare reform law by granting waivers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: He removed the requirement of work from welfare. It is wrong
to make any change that would make America more of a nation of government
dependency. We must restore it and I will restore work into welfare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, yes. You know this president, he`s against work. But
former president Bill Clinton who signed the welfare reform law in `96 says
Romney`s claims are quote, "not true." And the attacks are disappointing
and misleading.

But, the Romney campaign is not about to let little things like the
truth get in the way. Today they even drudged up Newt Gingrich, the man
who called Romney a liar, just months ago. They brought Newt out to talk
about welfare. Because you know he`s the expert.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is a
fundamental question about what`s good for poor Americans. We believe work
and education are. They believe dependency and food stamps are. I think
on the hard left, there is an unending desire to create a dependent
America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republicans are happy to support corporate welfare through
tax breaks and subsidies. But when it comes to real people who need help,
then it is called dependency.

Joining me now is Ana Marie Cox, Washington correspondent for "the
Guardian" and Jonathan Capehart, an opinion writer for "the Washington
Post" and an MSNBC contributor.

Thanks to both of you for joining me.

JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thanks, Rev.

ANA MARIE COX, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE GUARDIAN: Good to be
here.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, let me start with you. Welfare reform. It just
popped up as a big issue for the Romney campaign. Why? And why now?

CAPEHART: Why? Why now? It`s a great question. Well, the way
they`re doing it is rather effective in that it gets people`s juices
flowing, particularly people within the base of the Republican party who
have this view that all Democrats and progressives want to do is give away
government money to people who don`t deserve it. People who don`t -- who
shouldn`t get it in the first place.

SHARPTON: So Ana Marie, rather than talk about how you made money,
what you did with it, what percentage of taxes you were paying, let`s talk
about money that the needy are getting and that the president for some
reason no one can figure out but them is all of a sudden not requiring they
go to work.

COX: Yes. It is interesting. I mean, I agree with Jonathan that
Romney wants to sort move the conversation from how much money he has to
how little money other people have. I think it says a lot about his
campaign and about whom he is and who the Republican party thinks they are.
That they`re relying on people`s sort of animosity towards the poor and
unsympathetic view of people who aren`t employed or maybe aren`t living the
lifestyle they`d like to be living, I mean really demonizing them.

I think that a lot of this election is going to rely on how
sympathetic or empathetic people in the middle are towards those that are
working really hard that maybe don`t have a job and maybe having trouble
getting a job.

I happen to think that a lot of Americans are in that group that would
like to have a better job or would like to have a job. And so, they might
be more understanding than the Romney campaign wants to believe about the
people who may be on welfare who are looking like they might be on welfare
some day in the future.

SHARPTON: But Jonathan, it`s not only questionable or bad policy in
my opinion. It`s hypocrisy. When you look at the fact in 2005, Romney was
one of 29 GOP governors who signed a letter asking for the same waiver
program that he`s now criticizing the president for. In the letter that he
signed, there`s his signature, they wanted quote, "increased waiver
authority and the ability to coordinate state programs are all important
aspects of moving recipients from welfare to work."

CAPEHART: See, these are the same folks who decry Washington being
involved in everyone`s lies and the state should be the laboratories of
experimentation. And so, here you have the Obama administration saying OK.
We`ve heard you governors. We are going to -- if you come to us with a
credible program that does indeed officially move people from welfare to
work, we will grant you a waiver to our federal rules to make that happen.

SHARPTON: Right.

CAPEHART: And what Mitt Romney has done is turn that into he`s just
going to eliminate -- he being the president -- is going to eliminate
completely the work requirement which just is not true.

SHARPTON: Now, Ana Marie, they roll out today no less expert in
compassion than Newt Gingrich. Let me show you Newt`s feelings about
welfare and comments he`s made about welfare during the campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GINGRICH: We`ve got people taking their food stamp money and using it
to go to Hawaii. They give food stamps to millionaires.

Obama is the best food stamp president in American history. More
people are on food stamps today because of Obama`s policies.

It is the left which has abandoned and betrayed the poor because its
safety net is a spider web and it traps people in dependency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ana Marie, last night on this show Spike Lee said it was a
Willie Horton tactic bringing welfare up like this.

COX: And well, there`s no doubt that there`s some racial codes that
are being sort of thrown around when you talk about the poor the way Newt
Gingrich does. But you know what they say about Newt, he has hair where
his heart should be. He is not a very compassionate guy. He doesn`t sound
compassionate. And he doesn`t behave compassionately in the people in his
life if you look at his personal life. I don`t think he`s someone I would
go to towards a way -- if I wanted to find a model for thinking about how
to move people forward in their lives really.

SHARPTON: Ana Marie Cox and Jonathan Capehart. Thank you both for
your time.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

COX: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, there`s some VP buzz building for Paul in Medicare
as we know it Ryan. But what would it mean for the country? What would it
mean for seniors?

And she`s our secretary of state. And showing -- she`s showing all
the right moves.

Summer break is coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, Rick Perry`s run for president was pretty confusing.
But he was clear on two points. He doesn`t like the new health care law or
planned parenthood. But those positions aren`t that clear after all.
Perry swears he won`t let the health care law take effect.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICK PERRY (R), TEXAS GOVERNOR: We`re not going to participate in
exchanges. We`re not going to expand Medicaid. Medicaid is a failed
program. To expand this program is not unlike adding a thousand people to
the "titanic."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: How is getting people insured like throwing them on a
sinking ship? But Perry may actually want the expansion. Texas is set to
lose federal support for its women`s health program because the state
blocked money from going to planned parenthood.

Perry promised to find funds for a new program. And guess where the
money`s coming from? The Medicaid expansion in the health care law.

Perry`s administration says a new women`s health program won`t cost
much because quote, "all clients will be eligible for Medicaid following
the expansion of the Medicaid program." So Governor Perry says Texas won`t
add anyone to Medicaid, but he`s counting on the expansion to pay for
another policy. I wonder how he explains that.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

SHARPTON: Everything`s bigger in Texas, including the hypocrisy. Did
Governor Perry think we wouldn`t notice this one?

Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. At the heart of this
election is a real policy debate about the direction the country`s headed
in, important choices need to be made.

What happens to entitlements like Medicare, defense, the tax code?
All these questions are central to this election. So, I`d like to welcome
someone to help us navigate the choices that we`re facing.

Joining me now is David Wessel who`s a Pulitzer Prize winning Wall
Street Journal reporter and columnist. Mr. Wessel is the author of " Red
Ink: Inside High Stakes Politics of the Federal Budget." David, it`s great
to have you on the show.

DAVID WESSEL, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Thank you. It`s a pleasure.

SHARPTON: Now, your book has really a must read if you really want to
understand what`s happening with the economic problems facing the country.

So, let`s start with basics. This graphic is in your book. And it
does really a good job of breaking down where we spend our money. In 2011,
for example, we spent over $3 trillion -- nearly 20 percent was spent on
defense. Then we had Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other
benefits made up more than half. And everything else made up 18 percent.

Now, what does this breakdown say about the decisions we`re going to
have to make regarding the budget?

WESSEL: Well, it basically tells us that in that 18 percent are
almost all the things that you might consider investments in the future.
Medical research, education, highways, infrastructure, things that will pay
dividends for our kids. And a big part of the budget is as you point out,
defense and benefits that are being consumed now. If we`re going to
restrain the deficit and we will have to do that someday, we can`t do it
without taking a look at a better way to deliver those benefits so we can
save some money.

SHARPTON: Now, obviously, entitlements are a major problem. The Ryan
budget, Paul Ryan, lays out one way to deal with them. What are some other
solutions on the table?

WESSEL: Well, as you know, Paul Ryan basically would do two things.
He would turn Medicare into something like a voucher program. Where
instead of getting guaranteed insurance, you would get a coupon that you
could use to buy insurance. And if it didn`t cover the cost, well, it
would have to come out of your pocket. And with Medicaid, he set aside the
money, give it to the states and let them worry about it.

So, that is one approach. And you can save money from the federal
government by just saying, you`re not going to stand it. The alternative
is to try and radically change the program, so we can get a better deal.
So we can get more healthy people but waste less money on the fee for
service program or tax that might not be needed. It`s not going to be
easy, but that`s the alternative.

SHARPTON: Now, deference spending is another major factor. You point
this out in your book that defense spending has actually gone up a good
deal since President Reagan. Does it make sense to grapple this too in
terms of bringing down the debt? Look at how we`ve gone up in defense
spending since President Obama`s been in.

WESSEL: Right. And President Obama is proposing some cuts in the
defense budget. As you would expect as we end the war in Iraq and get out
of Afghanistan. But his proposal is adjusted for inflation to have a
higher peacetime defense budget than we`ve ever had before in our history.
And Mitt Romney wants to have one that`s even bigger. We obviously need a
defense budget. We obviously want to protect ourselves from terrorists,
from cyber terror from China. Protect our supply of oil.

We have become the world`s only policeman, it seems. But there is a
point in which we can`t afford to do everything. And we certainly can`t
afford to buy all the weapons that the military would like to have. You
know, one different helicopter for the army, the navy, the marines and so
forth.

SHARPTON: Now, this quote in your book really struck me. It says
quote, "The share of income most American families pay in their federal
taxes has been falling for more than 30 years. Today, Americans pay less
on their income taxes in taxes than citizens in nearly every other develops
country." So, we`re actually paying less than most other wealthy
countries?

WESSEL: (INAUDIBLE) other wealthy countries. They tend to have
bigger governments with more government services. But I think the point
that people particularly in the middle of the middle class rarely
appreciate is that the share of their income that`s gone to federal taxes,
income and payroll taxes and all the other federal taxes has actually come
down since 1980. We`ve been able to tax less and spend more by borrowing.
Last year, we borrowed 36 cents of every dollar we spend, half of it from
abroad and half of that from the Chinese. It would be nice if that could
go on forever. It can`t.

SHARPTON: Now, Republicans are always talking about taxes, but tax
loopholes also need to be part of the discussion.

WESSEL: Right. And I think Republicans are beginning to recognize
that. The tax system brought in $1.3 trillion last year.

SHARPTON: Right.

WESSEL: And there were loopholes, deductions, and credits that cost
the treasury $1.1 trillion last year. So, that`s one reason why tax rates
are where they are. If we want to raise more money --

SHARPTON: Wait, just a minute. I want to stop you there, David.
Let`s look at what you just said. Individual and corporate income tax,
$1.3 trillion. Loopholes, $1.1 trillion. That`s amazing.

WESSEL: Right. So, think of all the money we could raise if we had
fewer deductions, loopholes, and exclusions. Why do we have so many of
them? Some of them are for special interests and some of them are popular
with the voters like the home mortgage deduction.

And so, one question we have is, if we`re going to raise more money,
can we do it by getting rid of some of those loopholes and deductions and
credits or do we have to do it by raising tax rates? A lot of people in
Washington want to do the former. To not raise tax rates but to get rid of
some of that holes in the Swiss cheese of the tax code.

SHARPTON: David, thank you so much for your time tonight. The book
once again is "Red Ink." It`s a great read.

WESSEL: You`re welcome.

SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congresswoman Karen Bass, Democrat from
California. Congresswoman, thank you for coming on the show tonight.

REP. KAREN BASS (D), CALIFORNIA: Thanks for having me on again.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you. Congressman Paul Ryan and his budget
are once again at the forefront of this national debate. What does the
GOP`s embrace of this budget mean?

BASS: Well, I think it means that our country as we know it would be
completely and fundamentally changed. For example, the person that was on
before talked about Medicare. Essentially what Mr. Ryan is proposing doing
that the Republicans have embraced and Mitt Romney has also embraced would
completely revise Medicare into a voucher. But what happens when you run
out of money? What happens if you have a major disease?

If you eliminate health care reform and give somebody a check, what`s
going to happen if they have a pre-existing condition? How are they going
to be able to find medical coverage? If you just give a state a block
grant, a definite amount, what happens when we have a fiscal crisis and
unemployment increases and the state runs out of money? Essentially, you
would have a divide in our country that we have never seen before.

And I think one of the fundamental values of our nation is fairness.
And if you look at the heart of the Paul Ryan budget, he is talking about
restructuring our nation in a way that you would eliminate a safety net.
It is a way of having social Darwinism, the survival of the fittest as
national policy. And I think frankly that that would be a tragedy.

SHARPTON: Now, ultimately it boils down to the question of fairness,
Congresswoman.

BASS: Absolutely right.

SHARPTON: When you look at the Ryan budget, it would put huge burdens
on seniors. All while helping the wealthy. It would force seniors to pay
$6400 more for Medicare all while giving millionaires an average tax cut of
around $265,000. This is really about fairness.

BASS: Well, it is about fairness. And as your previous guest talked
about in terms of the loopholes, I don`t think that most of my republican
colleagues want to eliminate the loopholes. Or let me just say that little
differently. They want to eliminate certain loopholes. But the loopholes
that they are talking about eliminating are the ones that the middle class
and working class people need. Not the tax breaks for the millionaires.

So, for example, in Paul Ryan`s budget in millionaire or someone who
is extremely wealthy can wind up having a tax break of over $300,000. So,
I believe that by eliminating the safety net and providing loopholes for
millionaires and billionaires, fundamentally the Ryan budget that Romney
has embraced is absolutely unfair.

SHARPTON: But there`s talk in some circles of even running Mr. Ryan
for vice president. I mean, given the power of the senior vote, can he run
as a vice presidential candidate with his position on changing Medicare?

BASS: Well, actually, I think I would probably be in favor of that.
I mean, since Mitt Romney has embraced Paul Ryan`s budget, why not put him
on the ticket? Why not have him go around the country and talk about
giving seniors a check and taking away Medicare? Why not talk about
cutting the Pell grants for college students. Why not talk about slashing
transportation costs when the infrastructure of our country is in so bad
need of repair and people need jobs. Let him put him on the ticket. You
know, I obviously support the re-election of the President, so let`s see
what happens.

SHARPTON: So, do I hear from California some run, Paul, run slogans?

(LAUGHTER)

Congresswoman Karen Bass, thank you for your time this evening.

BASS: You`re welcome. Thanks for having me on.

SHARPTON: Ahead, we have some very big election news. That may just
be very good news for Democrats and the president.

And we`ve been hearing all about Romney-hood. But that`s not the only
fairy tale starring this republican this year. Reverend Al`s fairy tales,
a very special reading. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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. First,
let`s meet the secretary of swing. Hillary Clinton was caught on camera
busting some moves down in South Africa. Look at her go. She`s inside the
circle. She`s getting down. Get low, get funky. I`ve seen a lot of
politicians try to cut a rug. But the results aren`t always pretty. I`m
looking at you, Karl Rove. But Hillary did all right.

Next up, throat singing in Russia. But wait, you ask don`t we all
sing with our throats? Well, yes. But not like this.

I guess it`s an acquired taste. Sort of like this guy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Oh beautiful for spacious
skies, for amber waves of grain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Don`t you just hate it when guests eat you out of house and
home? Don`t you hate it when they eat your home? This raccoon has taken
over the kitchen chowing down on everything he can get his paws on
including the walls. All right. That`s enough, raccoon. Let`s see more
Hillary. There she is! Now, that`s someone who`s having fun. And that`s
today`s summer break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Hey, folks. How about a trip down memory lane? Way back
to 2010. It was a big year for Republicans. They took back the house with
a wave of Tea Party freshman. But they weren`t all winners.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Obama has a big skeleton in his
closet. His college records. Romney should agree to release more of his
tax returns only if Obama unseals his college records.

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: If I were Romney and I`m not, I would say
very simply, I will release my returns which are 100 percent legit,
everything fine, if you release the information that we want. Whether it`s
his passport records, whether it`s his college application.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Sharron Angle, Christine O`Donnell, Ken Buck. They all
pushed a far right agenda and lost their Senate races. Two years later,
the GOP is doing it again. Nominating folks like Ted Cruz who wants to
abolish the Department of Education. Richard Mourdock who defines
compromise as Democrats agreeing with him. And just last night, the GOP
nominated Todd Akin for Senate in Missouri. He has some extreme positions.
And he`s not trying to hide it. Just watch the video he proudly puts on
his Web site.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI: America has been subjected now to the
stage three cancer of socialism. And exhibit one is the takeover of one-
sixth of our economy through Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He also thinks the federal minimum wage is destructive.
Says President Obama is a quote, "complete menace to our civilization."
And says that hatred of God is the heart of liberalism. Far off positions
like these might have helped him win the extreme Republicans. But they
might also help Senator Claire McCaskill whom he`ll face in the fall.

Joining me now is Joe Madison, nationally syndicated radio host of
"Mornings with Madison." And MSNCB political analyst Karen Finney, former
communications director for the Democratic National Committee. Thanks to
both of you for joining us.

JOE MADISON, SYNDICATED RADIO HOST: Thank you, Reverend Sharpton.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Joe, can going too far right hurt the Republicans this
fall?

MADISON: Answer is absolutely it can. Because, remember, 2010.
Voter turnout was extremely low. People tend to do that in midterm
elections. But here, what we`re going to be going after as you know, is
that five-six percent of undecided voters, independent owners. And they
tend to be in the middle, not the extreme, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Now, Karen, in the race I just talked about with Mr. Akin.
His opponent now, incumbent democratic Claire McCaskill actually ran ads
for him, ads for Todd Akin saying quote, "Todd Akin, Missouri`s
conservative candidate is too conservative. And at least one voter turned
towards him saying that writing a letter to the editor, to the Springfield
news leader. The letter to the editor said, I think it`s time for someone
who may be too conservative. Thank you, Senator McCaskill for running the
ad. You have helped me determine that my vote needs to go to Akin."

I mean, that might be a good thing for McCaskill because clearly the
vote in November will not be to the extreme right like it was in this
primary last night in Missouri.

FINNEY: Well, that`s exactly right. And matter of just what Joe was
saying. In these gerrymandered house districts, in these house districts,
when you have low turn-out, you can get Tea Partiers elected. But when
we`re talking about statewide races or national elections, the electorate
itself particularly in a presidential year is much bigger. Which means you
have many more independent voters. And in a state like Missouri, people
don`t like that kind of extreme rhetoric.

I don`t think that most Republicans in the state frankly believe that
people like us are you know, hate God just because we`re liberals. In
fact, I would say that because of my democratic values, that is part of,
you know, part of my faith is that we, you know, we help, you know, our
fellow man and we`re responsible. That`s consistent with my faith. That`s
consistent with my party affiliation.

So, that kind of extremist language really turns off independent in
moderate voters and again, it`s also the kind of language that, you know,
people will say, well, this has nothing to do with the issues that I really
care about. So, it was a very smart strategy on the part of the DSCC and
Claire McCaskill. I was thinking, Reverend, maybe we should pick a few
more candidates and get some of our MSNBC student tours and see if we can
help out.

SHARPTON: Now, let me points this out, Joe. McCaskill is polling
three points behind Todd Akin right now. But she was pulling anywhere from
five to 11 points behind other potential GOP Senate candidates who lost to
him yesterday. So in fact, out of the lineup, he`s really the best shot
for her.

MADISON: And I think there`s something else that we need to speak to
and this is what you at National Action Network is doing. I talked to
Danny Glover (ph) today as a matter of fact and some others. There needs
to be a massive concerted voter registration, get out the vote drive. And
that quite honestly hasn`t happened yet. If it can happen in a target
state like Missouri and some of these other places, then I think you`re
going to see again that number, that divide even shrink more. So, keep in
mind that this is in part due to the extreme. I mean, you know, folks are
never saying, we`re not religious, I mean, Jesus was an extremist for love,
these folks are an extremist for hate.

SHARPTON: And again, when we talk about getting out the votes...

MADISON: Yes.

SHARPTON: .with some of the groups that you`re talking about, some may
have personally have preferences but I want people to get out and vote. I
don`t care who you vote for. Just go out and vote.

MADISON: Get involved in the political process. That`s what we were
talking about today. This isn`t just about the presidency. This is about
the political process. And that`s the way you counterbalance the Tea
Party.

SHARPTON: But Karen --

FINNEY: But I think.

SHARPTON: Yes.

FINNEY: .I was just going to say, one of the things that I think some
of these extreme candidates are also doing is, they`re showing Americans,
this is the kind of extremism that President Obama and Democrats in
Congress and even frankly, John Boehner have been trying to deal with. I
mean, this is the reason we almost went off the cliff the last time.
Because this kind of extremism says, I`m going to go to Washington and blow
everything up. I`m not there to try to get something done. And so, I
think it also reveals to the broader American audience, this is what`s at
stake in this election, I think we have that opportunity as well.

SHARPTON: Yes. And I think that`s why we want everybody to come out.

FINNEY: That`s right.

SHARPTON: These are serious times and it`s not time to end up with
gridlock or blowing it up. I have some firm beliefs, but I believe that
others have the same right and we all should be able to express that. And
I don`t think we`ve got to demonize people and act like they`re godless
because their approach may be different than ours.

Joe Madison, Karen Finney, thanks for being on the show tonight.

FINNEY: Thanks,

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, think the GOP is in fantasy land? Well, coming up,
Reverend Al`s fairy tales for the Republicans. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: And finally, you may have heard President Obama`s Romney-
hood comment. He steals from the poor to give to the rich. It inspired me
to share other fairy tales with you. So before we turn in for the night,
come and gather around the TV for Reverend Al`s Romney tales.

Let me start with the classic Cinderella. Governor Romney searching
for the princess who owns the glass slipper. But when it fits the poor
Cinderella, uh-oh. This might not end well.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m not concerned about the very poor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Then there`s the goose that laid the golden eggs. The
goose doesn`t die in this version. He`s actually living it up. This one
percenter is getting tax breaks on those eggs. Maybe, we`ll seek even him
at the Hamptons fund raiser.

Let`s move on to the timeless Rip Van Winkle. Rip wakes from a 20
year slumber to find he qualifies for Social Security but not so fast, Rip,
someone in the kingdom has a problem with it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`ll gradually raise the retirement age for Social Security
and reduce the rate of benefit growth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And finally Snow White. This tale is about another and
other Republicans you see. Snow White`s poison apple tragedy could have
been avoided. If House Republicans didn`t propose cuts to FDA funding, I
think there`s a lesson to be learned from these Romney tales. Don`t read
them before you go to bed. And if the wrong people get in to office, my
fairy tales may end up your reality show.

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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