updated 8/15/2012 1:02:16 PM ET 2012-08-15T17:02:16

Guests: Ezra Klein, Bob Shrum; Chaka Fattah; Thomas Reese, Catherine Crier, Margie Omero, Patrick Gaspard

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

Tonight`s lead, the choice. In 85 days, more than 130 million
Americans will head to the polls. They`ll decide not just the direction of
this country but what kind of country we want America to be. We will
remain a society that takes care of its own. Or will we turn and have
everyone pay their fair share? We will be a place where fairness, not
privileges is the order of the day.

Starting now, that will be the big debate we`re going to have and the
contrast between the two parties couldn`t be greater.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This weekend my
opponent Mr. Romney chose as his running mate the ideological leader in the
congress. And I got to tell you, I know Congressman Ryan. He is a good
man. He is a family man. He is an articulate spokesman for Romney`s
vision. But the problem is that vision is one that I fundamentally
disagree with.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is the vision President Obama fundamentally disagrees
with. He disagrees with gutting social programs while increasing military
funding. He disagrees with a plan that gives huge tax breaks to the
wealthy, bigger than the Bush tax cuts. But offers no way to pay for them.

He disagrees with fundamentally about wrecking Medicare. That last
point that could change the face of this election. Major swing states like
Florida, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, Arizona, and Wisconsin all have high
senior citizen populations. The Republican ticket hit two of them today.
Congressman Ryan was out in Iowa where nearly 15 percent of the state`s
residents are seniors. Governor Romney hit Florida, the state with the
highest number of people over 65. Needless to say, neither got a rousing
welcome.

In Florida, Romney was greeted with blistering headlines saying one
that said Florida seniors weren`t fans of bold policy that intruded on
health care. And in Iowa, Ryan`s first solo campaign stop, well
congressman, welcome to the world outside, of the ivory tower in
Washington.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to cut Medicare? Are you going to
cut Medicare? I want to know. Simple question. Are you going to cut
Medicare?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop the war on the Middle Class! Stop the war on
the Middle Class!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Tough crowd? No wonder Mr. Romney`s already distancing
himself from the Ryan budget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Some people are saying you are making it
a referendum on Paul Ryan`s budget plan.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I have my budget plan
as you know that I`ve put out, and that`s the budget plan that we`re going
to run on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Except you was On the Record as supporting it. Right, Mr.
Chairman?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: First of all,
I mean, he did embrace what -- the Ryan budget. He embraced it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course he embraced it. It guts Medicare, it guts social
program. All to help people like him. Under the Ryan budget, Mr. Romney
would pay less than one percent in taxes, one percent. That`s unfair and
that fundamental difference. Envision is at the heart of this campaign.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What hasn`t changed is our determination to do what we came
together in 2008 to do. And that is to make sure that in America, hard
work pays off. So that no matter whom you are, or where you come from or
what you look like, you can make it here in America if you try. That`s
what this campaign`s about, Iowa, and that`s why I`m running for a second
term as president of the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s why President Obama`s running. He`s trying to
restore an America built on fairness. The other side, they don`t seem to
have the same vision.

Joining me now is Congressman Chaka Fattah, Democrat from Pennsylvania
and Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist who ran Kennedy`s campaign against
Romney in `94. And he is writing about how the Obama campaign will cash in
on the Rick - on the Ryan pick.

Thank you first of all for both of you being here.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here.

REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Congressman Fattah, let me start with you. What does the
choice of Ryan for VP say about the Romney campaign to you?

FATTAH: Well, it says that somehow the right wing of the Republican
party were able to take over the McCain campaign for Sarah Palin and now
force Ryan on to a candidate that needs to be moving towards the middle but
has him now moving further to the right.

And the other thing is that when we get to the numbers, you know
everyone says Ryan`s a numbers guy. Well, his budget doesn`t balance
anytime in the next 30 years.

SHARPTON: Right.

FATTAH: I`ll be 85 before there was a balanced budget under Ryan.
He`s just using a debt problem to cut programs that Republicans have always
opposed. Medicare, education, higher education, Pell grants, food stamps
and to use that money to provide tax cuts to people like Romney. Now, we
know on the Ryan budget, Governor Romney would only pay one percent in
taxes because he excludes all income from investments in capital gains and
the like.

So, what we have to look at is here is a guy who voted, you know, for
the Iraq war. Didn`t want us to leave when the president was pulled our
troops out.

SHARPTON: Right.

FATTAH: Voted for a $7 trillion entitlement on prescription drugs
with no pay for. Put two words on the credit cards. Present it to the
country as a deficit halt even though his budget doesn`t get the budget in
balance. And you know, I mean, we will be at the half century mark before
it would be in balance.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

Let me ask you, Bob, to step in for a minute here. When you hear the
congressman lay out how far to the right Ryan`s positions are, his politics
and even his budget. And then you look at one of the standouts of the Ryan
budget is what he would do with Medicare and something that seniors and
others are disturbed by.

But when you look at the politics of it, Americans want Medicare kept
the way it is. Even the majority of Republicans agree on that point, 83
percent of Democrats want to keep it as it is. So do 70 percent of
independents. As do 53 percent of Republicans.

So you`re the political strategist, Bob. Why would Mitt Romney choose
someone who symbolizes something that the majority of all of those parties
are fundamentally opposed to?

SHRUM: Well, I think he let the process go on too long. And I think
Rupert Murdoch and the right wing were demanding this guy. They don`t
trust Romney. And so Romney picked him. And I think you`ll end up with a
new rule. Never pick a man with a plan, at least that kind of a plan.
Because he`s going to become central to the next chapter in the Obama
narrative about 2012.

Bain`s going to be around. Offshore accounts are going to be around.
All those issues are going to be around. But we`re now going to move to
this plan that would destroy Medicare, privatize Social Security, decimate
education, all to give this gigantic tax cut to Mitt Romney and the rest of
the rich.

You know, you watch the President Obama earlier in that clip and you
could see how comfortable he was. And I will tell you why is comfortable.
Romney wanted this to be a simple referendum. The Republicans gum up the
works, stop anything from happening and then somehow other people will get
mad and vote out Obama.

This has now become a choice. The president has defined the choice.
And the choice by Mitt Romney to put this guy on the ticket has sharpened
that definition. The controlling question now is who fights for the middle
class, who fights for the many, and who stand up for the privileged and the
few.

SHARPTON: Now Congressman, one of the things I took note of today is
that the Romney campaign is trying to really rewrite positions and policies
of the president. Romney himself was out today slamming the president for
making cuts to Medicare. He`s claimed he made cuts to Medicare which is
not true. According to Politifact, his long rated declaim is false. It
says quote, "the health care law does not reduce benefits. In fact, it
enhances them."

You`re a member of Congress. You supported the health care law. Does
the health care law reduce Medicare?

FATTAH: No, it does not. In fact, when we look at the long-term
benefit of the affordable care act, it lengthened the financial liability
of the program by many years. So, this is a -- as we have baby boomers
retiring, and we have 10,000 retires every day, the cost of for our
programs for senior citizens is going to go up for as these baby boomers
continue to retire.

But the reality is so that we have to make adjustments. The president
made an adjustment that lengthened the period of time for this to function.
And by changing out some of the pay for that are going to private insurance
companies for benefits that Medicare could provide.

Romney also said today look, we`ve always been a country making
choices. You can`t have a better choice than Medicare. It is that fee for
services. You go to whatever doctor you want to go to. And the treatments
you need are paid for.

Now, what they want to do is give you a voucher that says look we`re
going to cap this at a certain amount. If your health care costs go over
that amount, you`re on the hook for it. And the average for seniors would
be about $6,000 more at this plan, this voucher plan would cost.

So, this is a real challenging point for Romney. I don`t think he - I
think that we knew that Pawlenty would be a problem. Rubio would have been
a major problem in terms of his appeal to certain constituencies like the
Latino vote.

But the pick for Ryan was not by Romney. You look at what "the Wall
Street Journal," look at what Murdoch, look what at what Bill Kristol and
them said. And now what they`re saying is that Romney can`t move away from
Ryan`s budget. They were out talking yesterday. Bill Kristol said he
can`t just be for Ryan as VP, he`s got to be for the Ryan program. They
want to take over the whole Romney campaign.

SHARPTON: Now Bob, let me ask you this quickly. It`s not only
Medicare. President was out slamming Congressman Ryan for holding up the
farm bill which is going to hurt him in a lot of those states. He says it
endangered the livelihoods of millions. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Right now too many members of Congress are blocking the farm
bill from becoming law. I am told that Governor Romney`s new running mate,
Paul Ryan, might be around Iowa the next few days. He is one of the
leaders of Congress standing in the way. We`ve got to put politics aside
when it comes to doing the right thing for rural America and for Iowa.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So looks like, Bob, the president and his team is going to
define Mr. Ryan on several issues that will not resonate well with certain
voters in certain areas of the country.

SHRUM: Yes. Well first, look. Ryan`s going to be a gift to the
Obama campaign everywhere you turn. Secondly they`re going to go after him
and this is going to look like the Ryan-Romney ticket. And third, Ryan is
actually a trifecting (ph) in term of alienating critical voting blocks.
That`s Hispanics, women, older people.

Look, older people last time in 2010 were the bed rock of the
Republican Party. Fifty nine percent of them voted for the GOP. Right
now, it has already got much narrower if you look at the polls like the
AARP poll in Florida. The whole Ryan plan is now going to drive those
seniors more toward the president. You know I mean, it doesn`t matter
whether you`re talking about farms, about outlawing contraception, about
Medicare, about taking away student loans and Pell grants, this guy
alienates all critical blocks Romney was already in trouble with.

SHARPTON: And we will have to hold it there.

Congressman Chaka Fattah and Bob Shrum, thank you both for your time
this evening.

SHRUM: Thank you.

FATTAH: Well, thank you. Remember what Newt Gingrich says is right
wing social engineer. That`s what he said about Ryan`s Medical plan.

SHARPTON: Chaka Fattah Quoting Newt Gingrich. That`s the way to
start a show.

Coming up, Paul Ryan may want you to think he`s a deficit hawk, but
once upon a time he was a chicken hawk, caving in to every Republican
budget bashing bill that showed up on the house floor. But Ryan`s radical
ideas go way beyond the budget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Planned Parenthood,
I`m just not for federal funding of abortions. The dream act is noble as
some of those ideas are, it`s kind of too wrongs trying make it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s gone to extremes on women`s issues, immigration, and
civil rights. We`re exposing the entire Ryan record.

And summer break hits an Ohio county fair. But watch out. This
gator`s going rogue.

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. Today our fans had a lot to
say about the new VP pick Paul Ryan.

Donald thinks this will make the campaign interesting. Quote, "let`s
see how Ryan sells his Medicare plan to seniors."

Shawn writes. With the Ryan pick, Mitt just doubled down on Romney-
hood.

And the favorite photo of this day was this one of the president
showing off his baby whispering skills.

Ellie calls this one the baby push-up. And says she loves it.

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.

You`ll be glad you did.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back on "Politics Nation" with a look at Paul Ryan`s
real record as the so-called ideological leader of the Republican Party.

Turns out, Ryan hasn`t always been such a deficit hawk. He`s more
like a deficit chicken hawk. See, once upon a time, Paul Ryan wasn`t so
concerned about slashing the budget and bringing down the deficit. Under
President Bush, Ryan didn`t have a budgetary care in the world. He said
aye to the Medicare prescription drug benefit and voted in favor of the
Bush tax cuts and voted for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That`s right. He votes in favor of the policies that are now the main
causes of our national deficit. But when a democrat was voted into the
White House, Ryan suddenly became the pitch man for budget cuts.

Joining me now is father Thomas Reed, a senior fellow at Georgetown
Universities Woodstock theological center. He joined others Catholic
leaders in speaking out against drastic GOP cuts against the poor, and Ezra
Klein, a "Washington Post" columnist and MSNBC policy analyst.

Thank you both for being here tonight.

EZRA KLEIN, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ezra, let me start with you. There`s so much talk about
the Ryan plan. Tell us exactly what it is. I mean, specifically what it
does to Medicare. Let`s start there.

KLEIN: Begin with Medicare. So it changes Medicare to something
called premium support. So, right now, Medicare is a program, you get it
and it pays your health care costs. That`s what it does.

What happens next in Ryan`s plan is you don`t get Medicare. What you
get is a coupon. And the coupon will give you essentially the lowest or
second lowest price Medicare like options. So, the private options only
Medicare and whatever is cheapest and it could be cheapest potentially
because it`s able to select for healthier people, there are concerns about
how you handle that kind of risk problem. But whatever is cheapest, you
can get that. And if you want something different, let say Medicare,
traditional Medicare is not cheapest, you have to pay the difference.

By, I think it`s important to say quick here, that he has shifted a
lot of the big cuts in this budget away from Medicare and towards programs
to the poor. Two thirds of the cuts are for the programs to the poor. And
its Medicaid, not Medicare, that in the first decade take a front of Ryan`s
real cost.

SHARPTON: So he has shifted a lot of these programs over to cutting -
- I mean a lot of the cuts over to programs that benefit poor Americans.

KLEIN: Yes, exactly. So the first ten years, the Medicare change
doesn`t happen for another ten years. In the first ten years you get a
$750 million cut to Medicaid. Another $650 million cut after repealing the
Medicaid expansion. All in all you can expect the Ryan plan by repealing
the affordable care act and then cutting Medicaid by about a third to throw
back 70 million people or 60 million people who would get a health
insurance off of health insurance. I`m sorry 40 million people. I did my
mental math wrong there.

SHARPTON: 40 million to 50 million?

KLEIN: Yes.

SHARPTON: Now, at the same time he`s cutting these programs, he`s
also cutting taxes to the rich.

KLEIN: Yes, significantly. So, he brings the top tax rate down a lot
lower than Mitt Romney would. And what`s remarkable about the tax plan is
he would end the cap - he would cut all taxes on investment income.

Under Ryan`s tax plan, Mitt Romney would not pay effect lively any
taxes. He`d pay about 0.82 percent because his tax for his investment
income. And he said in Republican debate, if you took away the capital
gains tax, I would not pay taxes. Paul Ryan has proposed taking away the
capital gains taxation, taxation on dividends. So, it`s a much more
aggressive tax cut that even Romney is offered.

SHARPTON: Father Reese, you and others condemned the GOP proposals,
the cuts to the poor, as well as giving the rich a tax cut. Tell us why
you took that position and how you feel that Ryan fits into the positions
you`ve been taking.

FATHER THOMAS REESE, SENIOR FELLOW, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, as
Christians, we`re very concerned about how these programs and the cuts in
these programs have effects on poor people, on hungry people, on sick
people. I mean, Jesus told us that we would be judged by how we treated
these people. Did we feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe
the naked. This is how we will be judged as Christians. And the Ryan
budget as the U.S. bishops as the U.S. catholic bishops said, fails more
moral criteria of the gospel of catholic social teaching. Because it
doesn`t protect the poor. It doesn`t protect working -- poor working
people too. And this is why we were very critical of it and said that this
is -- we have to have shared sacrifice if we`re going to face the deficit.
We can`t just balance the budget on the backs of the poor.

SHARPTON: Now Father Reese, I understand what you`re saying, and as a
minister in term of the scriptures to say, but that`s why I was interested
in this statement from Congressman Ryan. Listen to this and give me your
response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: One of the primary
tenants of catholic social teaching is don`t keep people poor, don`t make
people dependent on government so they`re stuck in their station in life.

I suppose there are some Catholics who for a long time thought they
had a monopoly of sorts. Not exactly on heaven, but the social teaching of
our church. Of course there can be differences among faithful Catholics on
this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He basically is saying he`s challenging as a catholic some
of the actual tenants that you and the bishops` claim are basic principles
of Christianity and Catholicism.

REESE: Well, I think you know, we can have a debate and the
discussion how we make these programs better. But you don`t make programs
better by eliminating them unless you`ve got something better to replace
them with.

I mean, this is the criticism we have. Government should help people
get jobs. I mean, he`s cutting Pell grants which help poor people go to
college. And you know, it`s very difficult these days to get a job if you
don`t go to college. He`s cutting programs, food stamp programs that help
working class people who are, you know, below the poverty level so that
they can eat. You know, so they can keep these jobs and keep working.
This is -- you know, I`m all for a discussion about how we make programs
better. But to simply eliminate these programs, throw the people on the
street and to the mercy of market forces, no. That`s not the way to help
poor people.

SHARPTON: Now, Ezra, he also at the same time is cutting all of these
programs Medicare, Medicaid, Pell grants. He`s for increasing the defense
budget. He`s increasing defense spending. It seems to me clear that in
terms of the rich, in terms of the military, there`s no consideration in
terms of deficit being brought down and everything is on the middle class
and the poor, Ezra.

KLEIN: Yes. It`s primarily more on the poor than the middle class.
But, yes. This is correct. I mean, one thing that is really important to
understand about the Ryan budget, is that before you can put a dollar
towards deficit reduction, where you can pay for one dollar of paying down
the national debt. You first got to pay for the defense spending which is
hundreds of billions more than Obama has it. And you got to somehow pay
for the tax cuts.

Now, Ryan, when you hear the numbers about his plan. He just told the
congressional budget`s scores just assume that my tax cuts don`t cost
money. Just assume that we keep revenues where they are now. He`s not
said how he`ll do that. And so, all we have are the policies on the page.
And that would cost about $4 trillion, four to $5 trillion more than the
Bush tax cuts on top of that.

So, first you got to pay for the Bush tax cuts, then another four to
$5 trillion of Ryan tax cuts. And that doesn`t get in to the budget bottom
line because he just told the scorekeepers ignore it. We don`t know how he
pays for that. And it is not clear that he can actually get that money out
of the tax codes.

SHARPTON: Assume that it`ll be all right. I don`t make those
assumptions.

Father Thomas Reese and Ezra Klein, thank you for your time tonight.

REESE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead on "Politics Nation," Paul Ryan`s bringing back
the culture wars. It sure doesn`t seem like he`ll be wooing many female
voters.

Plus, what people really want to know about Ryan. Turns out there are
a lot of talk beyond his budget plan.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, with Paul Ryan on Mitt Romney`s ticket, the
Republicans are hoping to get a real policy walk elected. They say Ryan
makes tough decisions, he gets things done.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: I would suggest let`s support the Ryan
budget. It`s a real pathway to prosperity, it makes the tough decisions.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), KENTUCKY: It`s a very sensible way to go to
try to save Medicare.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: It is an actual solution being
proposed to try and deal with the fiscal challenges this country`s faced.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Ryan puts forth actual solutions? I`m not so sure. In
more than a decade as congressman, only two of Paul Ryan`s bills have
become laws. He`s only gotten two bills passed. So what has Paul Ryan
been doing all the time he`s been in Congress?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Pull-ups, push-ups, sit-
ups, lots of cardio, karate, jump training, yoga.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s right. That`s right. Paul Ryan`s real work was at
the gym. He`s a fan of the grueling P90X workouts. The regimen calls for
an hour to 90 minute of circuit training nearly every day.

(INAUDIBLE)

Paul Ryan`s P90X devotion is so well known, he`s even worked out with
the founder of the program Tony Horton. And Google says, more people have
searched for Paul Ryan shirtless than Paul Ryan`s budget. Paul Ryan`s not
a budget guy. He`s a muscle guy. Isn`t that right, Congressman?

Did Paul Ryan think we`d really believe he spent all his time working
on a budget when he`s really been working on his abs? Nice try, but we got
you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. We know that Congressman
Paul Ryan is a far right conservative on budget matters. He`s proud of it.
But what`s more surprising is that on social issues, Paul Ryan is every bit
as conservative. In fact, he may be even more right wing than he is on
economics. His record on women`s health is downright extreme.

He co-sponsored a personhood bill which would define human life as
beginning at conception. It would outlaw such measures as in vitro
fertilization. He opposes abortion in all situations. Even of cases of
rapes and incest. These two positions alone would place him outside of the
republican mainstream of just a few years ago.

But he also voted to defund Planned Parenthood. He supported the Let
Women Die Act which would allow hospitals to deny women an emergency
abortion in cases where her life was threatened. He even is against
insurance coverage for birth control. On these and other social issues,
don`t take my word for his extremism. Listen to Ryan himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Planned Parenthood. I`m just not for federal funding of
abortions. I support the Wisconsin amendment to define marriage between a
man and woman.

The dream act as noble as some of those ideas are, it`s kind of two
wrongs trying to make a right. It`s really not about contraception. It`s
about violating our first amendments rights to religious freedom and a
conscience. It`s mandating that everybody pay for everyone else`s free,
you know, birth control in contraception.

Don`t ask, don`t tell. I`m -- on the issue but I just don`t think in
the middle of combat that that was going to work. And that was, that was -
-

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s not just his wrongheaded economic policies on social
issues. This guy is true to fall. He`s wrong way Ryan.

Joining me now is Catherine Crier, a former judge and prosecutor,
journalist, author of the "Patriot Acts: What America Must Do to Save the
Republic." And Margie Omero, democratic strategist. Thank you. First of
all, thank you both for being here tonight.

MARGIE OMERO, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thanks so much.

SHARPTON: Catherine, let me start with you. Paul Ryan`s socially
conservative positions are the basis, bread and butter. But is he a risky
pick?

CATHERINE CRIER, FORMER JUDGE: I think so. I think that a lot of the
working class Republicans when they really pay attention to the Ryan budget
plan are going to be very, very nervous because of the impact on that
group. So, that`s a lot of your social conservatives. When you talk about
the social issues, there are a lot of economic conservatives of the
Republican Party who don`t pay a lot of attention. Those people, swing
voters who all of a sudden their antenna is going to go up and they will be
very, very uncomfortable with what some would being relatively radical
positions.

SHARPTON: Now, Margie, when you look at the fact that a new
Washington Post poll shows President Obama holds a 22-point lead over
Romney amongst women voters and then you have the positions of his running
mate now, extreme on a lot of women`s issues. The politics of this, I just
don`t get.

OMERO: Well, I think this is clearly a base pick. I mean, Romney
picked Ryan to, you know, solidify his base. You could tell looking at the
ads they`re running. They have the disgraceful ad that just makes up a
whole story about Obama`s record on welfare and the work requirement. They
have another ad accusing Obama of waging a war on religion which is really
trying to appeal to Catholics. And so, they`re really trying to solidify
their base.

And because if they didn`t have that, then they would have difficulty,
you know, doing anything. But Ryan`s positions are so extreme. I`m really
glad we`re talking about the full range of his positions on women`s health,
on food for hungry kids, on college affordability, on domestic violence. I
mean, it just really runs the gamut. I mean, these are really extreme,
single digit kind of support positions.

SHARPTON: Now, Catherine, when she says, let`s talk about all of the
issues, I mean it`s almost like if you look at Ryan`s record, it`s a wish
list for the extreme right wing of the GOP. Immigration, he voted against
the dream act. Gay rights, supports same sex marriage voted to ban gay
adoptions in Washington. Gun control, he gets a "A" rating from the
National Rifle Association. Abortion rights, he received 100 percent
rating from the National Right to Life Committee. On and on and on. But
isn`t this the kind of stuff that will get his base fired up.

CRIER: Yes.

SHARPTON: She said -- I agree with Margie -- it`s a base pick. But
is it going to turn off moderates and independents in many ways?

CRIER: Think about the personhood. Remember when the personhood
amendment was put up in Mississippi. It was defeated in Mississippi.
That, you know, life begins at conception and as a lawyer, the implications
not only sort of criminal law but contract law, inheritance law, tort law
would be horrendous if you ever passed that. And you take a state as
conservative as Mississippi and they defeated that amendment.

SHARPTON: Yes. Personhood.

CRIER: Yes. This is the kind of thing that is leading his agenda.
Given the push to cut back on voting rights.

SHARPTON: Right.

CRIER: Get people off the rolls, they`ve sort of given up I think on
many Latinos, a lot of women. So, they`ve got to solidify their base. And
maybe they`re thinking is, if we cut enough people off the rolls, get our
base really excited, and swing voters even some Democrats who are a bit
disillusioned with Obama, maybe they will turn out. That must be the
guiding philosophy here.

SHARPTON: Or as you say, those that turn out. Not be able to vote
because of some of these situations. When you look at the Latino vote that
is critical in this election, Margie, when you deal with the fact that
right now the Wall Street Journal-Telemundo poll shows that among Latino
registered voters, Obama leads Governor Romney by 44 points. When you look
at Mr. Ryan`s vision on the dream act and other situations, clearly he`s
not going to help turn that around in my opinion. So, do you think that
Mr. Romney just wrote that vote off?

OMERO: Yes. I think maybe he`s making the political calculation
that by alienating Latinos, so it will bring him some support in the base.
I mean, that`s one of the issues where Romney really stake out a position
during the Republican primary on immigration pivoting far to the right from
the rest of the field. And it seemed like it was going to be very
difficult to come back from that. He`s been running way behind where John
McCain was and certainly where former President Bush was among Latinos.
Now you have more Latinos voting. So, it really puts the Romney camp in a
real disadvantage. And Paul Ryan, you know, makes it even worse.

SHARPTON: Catherine Crier and Margie Omero, thank you both for your
time tonight.

CRIER: You bet.

OMERO: Thank you.

SHARPTON: The jury still out on whether Mitt Romney`s vice
presidential pick will help them. But one thing for sure is going to shake
up Congressional racist around the country.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with a pause from the political battles of the
day. A time to relax, rest, and recharge. That`s right.

It`s time for the POLITICS NATION summer break. We start with the
slowest athletes around. That`s right. It`s a snail`s race. Watch as
this guy breaks away from the pack sliding his way right past all of the
rest. He leaves them in the dust, I mean slime. I think we can say these
snails move as fast as Congress does these days.

Next, we`re off to the hen races. Check it out as they strut their
stuff. Wasting no time getting to the finish line. Some of the
competitors look a bit distracted out there. Good thing this race doesn`t
go until November. Finally, a quick stop to a county fair in Ohio. This
gator doesn`t seem to be in the mood to perform. When -- ouch. What a
bite. Yes. Keep tapping his head. That will change his mood.

Maybe the little girl in the front has a better idea for what to do.
The gator finally decides he`s had enough. And the trainer walks away for
medical help. You know, that bite would hurt a lot more with those Paul
Ryan cuts to health insurance. And that`s today`s summer break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. In picking Paul Ryan,
Republicans home they can energize the base of their party and reshape the
presidential map. Does the selection of the Wisconsin congressman put that
traditionally democratic state in play? What about the rest of the
Midwest? And what opportunities does he give the Democrats?

Joining me now is Patrick Gaspard, executive director of the
Democratic National Committee. Thanks for being here tonight, Patrick.

PATRICK GASPARD, DIRECTOR, DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE: Thanks for
having me on, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Patrick, what worries you most about the Ryan pick?

GASPARD: You know, actually, Reverend, the Ryan pick doesn`t worry me
at all. I think that it gives us all an opportunity to bring this whole
entire contest into some very sharp definition. We`ve been saying for some
time that Mitt Romney has been trying to run this race with absolutely no
substance. He`s somebody who seemed to be completely hollowed out. We
know that he embraced some right wing ideology during the primary. But he
tried as much as he could to say absolutely nothing.

But now, he`s selected a running mate whose values fly in the face of
heartland values. He wants to gut education for our young people. He
wants to turn Medicare and Social Security into voucher program, into
coupon programs. He absolutely is not betting on the American worker at a
time when we have a jobs bill that`s been languishing in his Congress for
the better part of a year now.

So, this pick is not one that concerns me. It`s one that brings this
whole contest into sharp release. You`ll recall of course that in 2008,
John McCain selected a running mate to appeal to his base. We all know how
that turned out. I think that Mitt Romney has found himself in a similar
circumstance.

SHARPTON: Now, you mentioned values. But let`s look at the concern
of voters. When you look at polling by pew, the question was raised what
matters most to you when you decide your vote. Jobs, 35 percent. Budget
deficit, 23 percent. Health care, 19 percent. Would these concerns, the
major concerns of voters, how does a Ryan pick play against you and the
party of the Democratic Party?

GASPARD: Well, the Ryan pick actually does not address any of those
issues. If anything, it doubles down on the kinds of aggressive policies
that we had in the prior administration that wrecked our economy and got us
into that deep recession in the first place, Reverend. Let`s be clear
here, Paul Ryan and now Mitt Romney and are advancing a budget that
basically slashes benefits for our seniors and for our young people.

He would basically increase the budget deficit by $4.5 trillion by
cutting the tax for the highest earners in this country from 35 percent to
25 percent. And in Mitt Romney`s instance, to one percent.

SHARPTON: Yes.

GASPARD: How does he offset this deficit busting budget by taking
away programs that 60 percent of middle class voters are dependents on?

SHARPTON: Now, we`re noticing and this I want to ask you. We`re
running out of time. And I have to ask you this. Some republican
Congressional candidates and Senate candidate are kind of like distancing
themselves. I want to play you this ad by Montana GOP Senate candidate
Denny Rehberg kind of distancing himself from the policies of Ryan. Look
at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: Rehberg refused to support a republican budget plan that
could harm the Medicare program so many of Montana`s senior rely on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s got to bring a little a smile to your face to see
some Republicans candidates like Rehberg actually moving away from the vice
presidential`s candidates budget plan?

GASPARD: It gives me a hearty smile, they can run but they can`t
hide. This is one instance Reverend where I`m going to have to agree with
that great philosopher Newt Gingrich. He called the Romney/Ryan plan right
wing social engineering. He`s 100 percent right which is why those
republican candidates are going to try to run from it. But of course we`re
going to expose them to the truth. And I think that voters in the
heartland and throughout the country are going to appreciate that this is
not the kind of leadership that we need here in the White House.

SHARPTON: Great philosopher Newt Gingrich. I don`t know if you took
philosophy in school. Patrick Gaspard, thank you for your time.

GASPARD: Thank you so much, Reverend.

SHARPTON: We`ll be back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Since the day, President Obama took office, Republicans
have been working around the clock to retake control of the government.
Now that Governor Romney has named Paul Ryan as his vice presidential
candidate, the election is set. And that choice really makes this an all-
in election. Unlike other races in recent years, voters will decide
between two massively different paths for this country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We do not need more tax cuts
for the wealthiest Americans. We need tax relief for working families.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We`re going to put work
back into welfare.

RYAN: A country with a health care system that`s about to be taken
over.

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: What`s gutsy about gutting
Medicare, Medicaid, education. What`s gutsy?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So which path will win out? Will it be the one that proves
a handful of billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson can
decide a presidential race? Will it be one where voter ID laws succeed in
disenfranchising millions of minority and elderly voters? Will it be the
one with Medicaid and Medicare and other critical social programs get
dismantled? After all, even before Medicare made it to President Johnson`s
desk, Republicans tried to tear it down. Just ask Ronald Reagan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Behind it will come other
federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it
in this country. Until one day as Norman Thomas said, we will awake to
find that we have socialism. One of these days, you and I are going to
spend our sunset years telling our children and our children`s children
what it once was like in America when men were free.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: These are the questions that will be answered this
election. So what will it be? Will we go down that path? Or will we go
down another? We just finished watching the Olympics. We like sports.
You are on one team or the other. This is an all in election. You have
the clear choice and you`ve got to choose which side you`re on.

I thank Mr. Romney for not giving us a vice presidential candidate
with ambiguity. We know where they stand. Where do you stand? Which
uniform will you wear? Johnson Tommy (ph) likes to say, if you walk down
in the middle of the street, you get hit with traffic from both sides.
It`s all in time. Which America do you want?

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.
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