updated 8/15/2012 1:03:22 PM ET 2012-08-15T17:03:22

Guests: Joan Walsh, Nia-Malika Henderson; Bryan Bender; Ted Strickland, Keith Ellison, Patricia Murphy


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

Tonight`s lead, not ready for prime time.

This is simple. The budget plan put forth by Governor Romney`s
running mate would kill Medicare as we know it and to give massive tax cuts
to the rich. Seems tough to sell, right? That`s for sure. Just ask these
protesters outside of a Romney event in Ohio today.

(VIDE CLIP PLAYING)

SHARPTON: This comes after protesters went after Paul Ryan chanting,
are you going to cut Medicare? No wonder the Romney people are suddenly
backing away from the Ryan plan. Here`s one of their top surrogates today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SOLEDAD O`BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: But isn`t the Ryan plan -- Romney plan?

JOHN SUNUNU (R), FORMER NEW HAMPSHIRE GOVERNOR: No, listen.

O`BRIEN: Let me read you a quote. Hang on.

SUNUNU: But it isn`t.

O`BRIEN: It sounds awfully like the Paul Ryan Medicare plan.

SUNUNU: But it`s very different. If all you want to do is keep
repeating the garbage that comes out of the White House, then you have a
problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Coming out of the White House? We are get thing impression
from Governor Romney himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m sure there are places my
budget is different than his. But we were on the same page as I said
before. Well, the items that we agree on, I think outweigh any differences
there may -- we haven`t gone through piece by piece and said here`s a place
for there is a difference. I can`t imagine any two people even in the same
party who have exact there same positions on all issues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: All it took was two minutes for him to flip-flop on the
Romney plan. Folks, Mr. Romney might be unwilling to say exactly what he
thinks about the Ryan plan but vice president Biden certainly isn`t.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I don`t get what`s
gutsy about giving millionaires another tax break. I don`t get what`s
gutsy. I don`t get what`s gutsy about gutting Medicare and education to
pay for those things. That`s not true. That`s not new. That`s not new.
It is not only not new, it is not fair. It is not fair to the middle
class. It is not fair to the working poor and it will not grow this
economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s why Romney`s running from Ryan. And here`s the
thing. So is the rest of the GOP. There`s panic in Republican circles.

A former Bush senior adviser likes the Ryan pick but says the
particular let probably lose, maybe big. No wonder the campaign is going
to get back to us on why Romney really thinks and what he really thinks
about the Ryan budget.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SUNUNU: Mitt Romney likes Paul Ryan`s plan. It is a good plan. Mitt
Romney thinks his plan is better. And there certainly are differences that
are real. The Democrats are going to try to pretend there are no
differences but there are some in the governor and Paul Ryan will define
those clearly over the next couple of days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Couple of days? Sorry, Governor. Governor Romney chose
this ticket. He owns it and now he`s got to run on it.

Joining me now is former governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland. He`s also
one of the co-chairs of the Obama re-election campaign and Joan Walsh,
editor-at-large, with salon.com and an MSNBC political analyst. She`s also
the author of a great new book coming out next week.

Thank you, both, for being here tonight.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thank you.

TED STRICKLAND (D), FORMER OHIO GOVERNOR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Governor Strickland, they are all over the place for
Medicare. What do you make of this chaos going on in the Romney camp?

STRICKLAND: Well, Reverend, Mitt Romney has said that if he were
president, he would sign the Ryan budget into law. That makes the Ryan
budget the Ryan-Romney budget. I don`t know how this candidate can
distance himself from the man he`s just so recently chosen to be his
running mate. And it is a devastating plan.

The catholic bishops said it was immortal and said that the Ryan
budget would hurt hungry children, poor families, and vulnerable citizens.
And so, they have to live with the decisions they have made and it is the
Romney-Ryan budget and I see no way that Mitt Romney can ever separate
himself from all of the terrible details that are in that budget.

SHARPTON: But Joan, let me see if I can help him out. Because this
very weekend, Joan, Romney`s campaign and the head of the Republican
National Committee were talking about how he would have signed the Ryan
budget into law. Let me show you this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ED GILLESPIE, SENIOR ADVISER TO MITT ROMNEY: As governor Romney`s
made clear, if the Romney -- sorry, if the Ryan budget had come to his desk
especially --

He would have signed it, of course. One of the reasons he chose Paul
Ryan was for Congressman Ryan`s willingness to put forward innovative
solutions in the budget.

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

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, you have Reince Priebus, Joan, saying he embraced the
budget. You have Gillespie saying he would have signed it. Now you`ve got
Sununu saying we will get back to you in a couple of days. I mean, are
they falling under pressure or do they think that we are less than
intelligent?

WALSH: I don`t know what they think. But they are obviously less
than intelligent, Reverend Al. This is ridiculous. We could spend this
entire show, I truly believe, you and I going through and finding places
Mitt Romney has praised that budget and especially once you are willing to
say yes, well, of course I would sign it, that`s your budget. Embrace it
and be proud of it.

I`m shocked at my capacity to be shocked because actually, I thought
that one good thing about the Ryan pick when I heard about it was wow, Mitt
Romney did something brave. He`s doubling down on this. Mitt Romney, the
man of mystery, who won`t fill in any details for us on any of his plans,
the man who wants us to talk about things in quiet rooms, he has pick ad
red blooded radical Republican who wants to slash - who wants to devastate,
get rid of Medicare, slash the budget for poor people, OK. He`s telling us
what he wants to be.

And it took hours for him to then flip and flop and back away from
this man that he embraced. I mean, what kind of courage is that? What
kind of leadership is that? It is really kind of stunning.

SHARPTON: Now, Governor Strickland, the Romney campaign came out
today with a new ad. Imagine trying to turn some of the tide that is
building against them on the Ryan budget. They came out with a new ad that
falsely attacks President Obama for gutting Medicare. Congressman Ryan was
asked about that today on FOX. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE ANCHOR: This ad suggests, I gather it is going to
be seen a lot of places, that you and governor Romney think that med care,
which has been a very difficult issue for Republicans for a very long time,
and polls suggest that people almost automatically think Republicans are
hostile to Medicare can be a winning issue for you how.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. Because
we are the ones that are offering a plan to save Medicare, to protect
Medicare, strengthen Medicare. We are the ones who are not raiding
Medicare to pay for Obama care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We are protecting Medicare, Governor Strickland. Now, the
GOP cares about Medicare. Under Ryan`s plan, Medicare would turn into a
voucher program. It would raise the age where you -- eligible to 67. And
seniors would pay $6400 more. I mean, I don`t understand how that
demonstrates that they want to save and care about Medicare.

STRICKLAND: Well, it is just -- I think dishonesty for them to say
what they are saying. The fact is that the Ryan plan would take money from
Medicare and give it to enable larger, ever larger tax breaks for really
wealthy individuals.

I think that this country knows who supports Medicare and that has
historically been the Democratic Party and continues to be this president
the s a strong defender of Medicare, and I fear that if Ryan and Romney
were to achieve office, that we would see the demise of Medicare.

A voucher that provides part of a cost is not -- is not what we need
and as you said, Ryan-Romney plan would probably add nearly or perhaps even
a little more than $6,000 a year to the average senior citizens` Medical
costs. We cannot have that.

And I understand why they are trying to run away from it because you
know, even the tea party folks, Reverend Al, like Medicare. They like --
they like Medicare. They like Social Security even the tea party folks.
So, they have a real problem right now.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, there`s been articles today how some of the
Republicans are kind of backing him up, moon walking away from this
selection of Paul Ryan. Let me show you some anonymous Republicans quoted
in different articles today.

One strategist writes. "The good news is that this ticket now has a
vision. The bad news is that vision is basically just a chart of numbers
used to justify policies that are extremely unpopular.

Another says very not helpful down ballot, very not.

And another says he just doesn`t seem like he can step into the job on
day one.

Doesn`t seem like the kind of guy that can answer that call at 3:00 in
the morning, Joan.

WALSH: No, I don`t think so, Reverend Al. I like the picture of them
moon walking back and forth. I`m going use that myself.

No. And I really appreciate Governor Strickland saying what he said
about Medicare. Let`s just get something straight. This is a show we deal
with truth and talk about history. If you make Medicare a voucher program,
if you privatize it, it is not Medicare anymore. Congress decided against
that in 1965. Lyndon Johnson did something different. So we are going
backwards and taking something away from seniors if we throw it out into
the private market. That isn`t Medicare.

SHARPTON: Governor Ted Strickland and Joan Walsh, thank you both, for
your time tonight.

WALSH: Thanks, Reverend Al.

STRICKLAND: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, conservatives say Paul Ryan`s a man of principle.
But we are learning it is all smoke and mirrors. Wait until you hear what
Ronald Reagan`s former budget director is saying today.

And they call him a big thinker with big ideas. Where are his ideas
really coming from? We go inside the big money behind Paul Ryan.

All that flu Chris Christie didn`t get picked for vice president but
he got his consolation prize today. Where is the GOP brand heading?

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Publicly Paul Ryan railed against a stimulus. But we are
learning a lot more about what he actually did. That story is next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are back with new questions about just how long the
right wing can keep calling Paul Ryan a man of principle. "The Boston
Globe" reports today that at the same time Paul Ryan was bashing the
president`s stimulus plan, claiming it wouldn`t create jobs, he was asking
for stimulus money, in his own state.

In 2009, he wrote four letters to the president`s energy secretary,
asking for stimulus funds for two Wisconsin groups. In the end, they wound
up with $20 million. I wonder what this guy would say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: We can do better than this. This bill, this economic stimulus
package, is unworthy of our new president`s signature. All, this temporary
booster shot stimulus didn`t work in the stimulus package so we don`t want
to go with ideas that have proven to fail. We want to go with ideas that
are proven to succeed.

The failed stimulus is unfortunately typical of Washington`s
destructive economic agenda. It filed create the jobs promised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Interesting. It turns out Paul Ryan didn`t agree with Paul
Ryan. What he said the stimulus would create jobs in Wisconsin. The thing
is that this game playing is nothing new for Ryan. His claim to right-wing
fame is his budget, the path to prosperity. And that, too, is all smoke
and mirrors.

Don`t take it from me. Take it from Ronald Reagan`s form budget
director, David Stockman, who calls it a, quote, "fairy-tale budge the plan
in a scathing op-ed piece today." Quote, "Mr. Ryan`s plan is devoid of
credible math or hard policy choices. Folks, this is the reality of Ryan.
The math doesn`t add up. And he wants us to pay the price.

Joining me now is Bryan Bender, "Boston Globe`s" staff reporter who
work order the article about Paul Ryan`s stimulus funds and Nia-Malika
Henderson, national political reporter fir "the Washington Post."

Thank you for joining me tonight.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: It`s
great to be here.
BRYAN BENDER, STAFF REPORTER, THE BOSTON GLOBE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Let me go to you first, Bryan. Can you explain this?
Publicly Ryan is against the stimulus, right?

BENDER: Yes. Publicly while the bill was being debated in January,
in February of 2009, soon after President Obama took office, he basically
said that this was wrong-headed. This was bad policy. This would not help
the economy who would just put the country further into debt.

SHARPTON: And then at the same time now, your paper would -- with an
article you helped work on, reveals four letters that he wrote to get
stimulus money into people in his own state.

BENDER: Right. Later that year, the fall of 2009, he writes four
letters to secretary Chiu, the energy secretary, advocating for at least
two energy conservation groups in Wisconsin; both in Madison, Wisconsin.
And not only does he advocate for them to get grant money under the
stimulus bill but he goes a step further in his letters, he sort of extols
the work they are doing, that they are going to reduce the lights on
greenhouse gasses and also uses the phraseology that in the one case, it
will creator retain 7,600 jobs.

SHARPTON: Let me put that letter up because it is not only -- people
can say well, as soon as we are through, looking out for his constituency
but in the letter he says, and I`m reading from the letter, the funds
would, quote, "stimulate the local economy by creating new jobs." The jobs
he said that would not happen. And altogether, they would create all
retain approximately 7,600 new jobs. That`s the exact opposite of what he
said the stimulus plan would do.

BENDER: Right, exactly. But you know, I think you can look at that
in two ways. One, you can say he`s hypocritical. He says one thing but
does another. But I think others might look at it and as you were alluding
to earlier that perhaps he`s not the purest fiscal conservative that
everybody thinks he is or the way he wants to make it sound. You can argue
that in this case he lost the battle over the stimulus but he was pragmatic
about it and figured the government money is there. Obviously, he`s got to
get re-elected. He wouldn`t be a seventh term congressman if he is not
trying to get some of that money for his --

SHARPTON: You are right, Bryan. Looking at it would ways, he might
be a hypocrite, may be practical in terms of getting money important a
state. But in terms of saying the stimulus won`t create jobs turn around
and say they will create 7,600 jobs, you can look at that two ways, either
he is a hypocrite or he is a hypocrite.

Nia-Malika, let me ask you this. When you look at the fact that now
President Reagan`s former budget director, in an op-ed today in "the New
York Times," really rips the Ryan plan apart. He calls it a fairy tale and
empty conservative sermon. He says Ryan has a fetish for cutting tax owes
super wealthy, is devoid of math or hard policy choices, and would do
nothing to reverse economic decline. I mean, this is Ronald Reagan`s
budget director, David stockman.

HENDERSON: That`s right, really a tough editorial out today from "The
New York Times." And in some ways, I mean, I think a larger question best
a larger question Republicans are having about Paul Ryan in general. About
the fact that now Mitt Romney is going to be tied to this budget. The
problem with staying in Washington so long, he has been in Washington since
1998, is that he has a paper trail, and as your previous guest, where he
talking about the stimulus program, they are going to pick over his record.
Some of the votes he`s taken for instance on TARP, voting for TARP, voting
for the auto bailout, voting for unfunded war so that this idea that he is
such a bold choice, I think, is really going to start to really be examined
over these next days, not only by Republicans but also Democrats.

SHARPTON: Now, Bryan, let me get back to you for a minute. In your
article today, you also write about earmarks Paul Ryan got. Quote from the
article, "in addition to appeals for stimulus funds, Ryan also received
congressional approval for $5.4 million in earmarks in 2008. Earmarks,
millions of dollars, for a deficit hawk?

BENDER: Well, you know, the earmark game, as you well know, has been
playing in this a long time. I think what people are looking at and
questioning is that the Republican Congress in recent years has performed
earmarks, saying, they are not going to do them anymore. But clearly,
right before they decided to do that, they were knee-deep in them and I
think Paul Ryan as the budget committee chairman had a lot of clout. He
could get some of these things insert flood these appropriations bills and
he did that.

But I think the deeper question that you got at you mentioned, is I
think people will question - and there is reason to question whether or not
his arguments now that the stimulus and this government investment in
trying to help the economy didn`t work, perhaps it did work or, you know,
perhaps it is -- really something that we are going to have to look into
because he claims it didn`t work at all. But clearly, back in his district
people that got some of this money by all accounts say did work.

SHARPTON: Now Nia, before I let you go, the right wing calls him a
deficit hawk as I just said. But let`s look at the record.

Deficit hawk, he devoted for Bush tax cuts, adding $1.7 trillion to
the deficit in the Bush years. He voted to extend the cuts and adding
another $620 billion to the deficit. He voted for TARP, $224 billion hit.
He authorized military force in Iraq, $853 billion. Medicare, part D,
another $180 billion. Altogether, more than $5 trillion added to the
deficit because of policies Ryan supported and voted for.

How was that for a deficit hawk, Nia-Malika Henderson?

HENDERSON: Well, you certainly will see Democrats bring this up and
essentially frame Paul Ryan as part of the problem. Someone that voted for
bills and plans that got news the fiscal mess here we are into right now.
Certainly won`t set well with the tea party either when they look at these
votes.

But I think again, I think that mostly Paul Ryan is going to be a boon
to this campaign in terms of enthusiasm among conservatives, among tea
party folks, and I think the real question still has to be whether or not
he is a force multiplier in terms of independents and in terms of Latino
and that`s still an open question.

SHARPTON: All right. Brian Bender and Nia-Malika Henderson, thank
you for your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

BENDER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Romney`s VP pick is more than happy to cozy up
to the richest right wingers around.

Plus, Olympics champ Gabby Douglas gets motherly advice from the first
lady, Michelle Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GABBY DOUGLAS, TEAM USA ATHLETE: After the competition, I splurged on
egg McMuffin at McDonald`s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Egg McMuffin.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes, Gabby, we
don`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It is all ahead in tonight`s summer break.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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Keith says, quote, "this is not just suppression of the vote. It is
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We want to hear what you think, too. Head over to facebook and search
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(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION." Every day we are
learning more about the GOP`s vice presidential pick. People say, he`s a
nice guy. He`s a family man. He has nice hair. But he`s also known as an
intellectual. He`s a big thinker with big ideas. Take a look.

His famous budget makes deep cuts to the social safety net. His tax
cuts favor the rich. He wants to limit government. He`s against
regulation. He gives subsidies to big oil. He is a denier of climate
science. So, where do all these big ideas come from? They stem from some
of the most powerful and wealthiest right wingers in America. All those
big ideas, Mr. Ryan champions just so happen to be the causes of the
billionaire Koch Brothers, the Tea Party billionaires who bankroll
Americans for prosperity.

And it is no coincidence, he`s kept very close ties to them. They are
loyal to each other. Ryan is one of them. He appears at their rallies and
their town hall meetings. The truth is, Paul Ryan`s big ideas are backed
up by big money. Now they have their own guy in the race. But what does
it mean for the rest of America?

Joining me now is Congressman Keith Ellison, democrat from Minnesota.
And Patricia Murphy, editor of Citizen Jane Politics. Thank you both for
joining me tonight.

REP. KEITH ELLISON (D), MINNESOTA: Thank you, Al.

PATRICIA MURPHY, EDITOR, CITIZEN JANE POLITICS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me start with you. We are learning when
you -- we are learning that when you get Paul Ryan, you are also getting a
financially backed Koch Brothers agenda. Let me put it that way. You have
worked with him a while. What can you tell us --

ELLISON: Yes.

SHARPTON: About his ties to big money?

ELLISON: Well, he`s received over -- the Koch Industries PAC has
given him over $100,000. The biggest industry energy PAC to him. He
attends their biannual little meeting that they have which is a closed-door
sort of thing. And as a matter of fact, his voting record reflects those
sorts of priorities. Like he`s -- leading advocate of the keystone and is
-- as you said, he`s -- not an advocate of dealing with renewable energy.

And at the end of the day, this is why I`m glad that Paul Ryan`s on
the ticket because we have clear choices. We have a person who is Koch
Brothers back and who is -- bad on renewable energy. Who is all for fossil
fuels. Gets tons of money from them. Is a devotee of Ayn Rand. And
Americans will have a good opportunity to make a clear choice.

SHARPTON: Now, when we look at the fact that the Koch Brothers are
going to spend Patricia, $200 million in this campaign, $65,000 already to
Paul Ryan, I mean, he is definitely one that is receiving a lot of support
from them and all of his policies, and major things that he stood on that I
just outlined, are absolutely in line with the plans, policies, and things
advocated by the Koch Brothers.

MURPHY: Yes. Paul Ryan really has bubbled up from this conservative
fabric. He was in Washington 15 years ago for a lot of this really
conservative budget constraining ideas came from and he really has come out
of that fabric, the Koch Brothers are right in line with that. Paul Ryan`s
ideas are so popular with large ticket republican donors. Those same
donors have been a little bit on the sidelines for Mitt Romney, they have
not always felt like Mitt Romney was intellectually one of them.

They know that Paul Ryan is one of them. And also not just large
donors, when you put Paul Ryan on the ticket, you will going to get a huge,
huge swath of small dollar donors on the -- conservative side, people
coming up through freedom works, through Tea Party organizations, who
really again were not that excited about Mitt Romney but the Ryan budget is
something that attracts all of these groups. It is going to be a huge,
huge piece of the fund-raising going forward and without Paul Ryan on that
ticket, you really weren`t going to get that kind of enthusiasm from
Republicans.

SHARPTON: Congressman Ellison, you mentioned that he is an admirer of
Ayn Rand. Let me play this for you from 2005, Mr. Ryan himself.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The reason I got involved
in public service by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person,
it would be Ayn Rand. You can`t find another thinker or writer who did a
better job of describing and laying out the moral case for capitalism than
Ayn Rand.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Ayn Rand Congressman, from my reading, was the
ultimate, you know, hard-liner person of, you know, do it all yourself
charity is not something to deal with. I mean, Ayn Rand is clearly not the
kind of person you would think of as one that talks about helping to lift
up a country and lift up those in need.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ELLISON: Well, Ayn Rand would probably argue that it was wrong to
lift up people in need because people who were innately endowed with
greatness will rise to the top and people who are not, they are just going
to fall to the bottom and it is sort of an extreme social Darwinistic
philosophy. In fact, her books, Paul Ryan is reported to have required
that his interns read "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" for people
who work at his office.

So, he clearly has lined himself with her economic philosophy.
Essentially is selfishness raised to a political philosophy. Greed raised
to political philosophy. To justify these tax cuts for the rich and tax
increases for the rest of us.

SHARPTON: Now, when you also go from his philosophical grounding in
terms of Ayn Rand and that whole philosophy that she espouses to follow in
the money, Patricia, look at the fact that the Dodd money groups are
outspending Super PACs in this race. I`m talking about 501 C-4. So far
this year, political parties have spent $22.5 million. Super PACs have
spent $55.7 million. But 501 C-4 has spent even more. Over $70 million.

And Karl Rove`s group, GPS crossroads, and Koch Brothers, Americans
for prosperity have spent the most. Nearly $60 million combined. So we
are seeing a whole lot of money that we don`t know where -- who the donors
are. That are really the majority of where the money is coming from in
this election.

MURPHY: That`s right. And really one thing you did mention, Sheldon
Adelson, and Paul Ryan is scheduled to be meeting with Sheldon Adelson
tonight in Las Vegas. So, this is going to be a huge, huge, piece of the
republican ticket`s strategy going forward and no matter really almost no
matter how much money Democrats raise, they are never going to be able to
outraise the Republicans and the Republicans are getting these in 10, 20,
and $30 million increments. It is a very unlevel playing field but it`s a
piece of the republican strategy.

The Supreme Court opened the flood gates to that kind of money. It is
going to dramatically alter the way this race turns out. Will it determine
it? Nobody knows. But it is going to give the Republicans a gigantic
advantage. And Paul Ryan really is a very powerful fund-raiser for those
very large donors who want to see budgets like the one that Paul Ryan`s put
forward.

SHARPTON: I might note just a point of information, Patricia, that
Paul Ryan is attending his first fund-raiser since being announces vice
president at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas where Mr. Adelson, Sheldon
Adelson, maybe donors expected but the press is being band, they will not
be allowed to get the photo. Congressman Keith Allison and Patricia
Murphy, thanks for your time.

MURPHY: Thank you so much.

ELLISON: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Governor Christie, that is Chris Christie of New
Jersey of course gets a prime speaking spot at the republican convention.
America, meet the friendly face of the GOP. And Ohio will be key in this
election. But voting rights are under assault here. We can`t let it
happen.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are back with a pause from the political battles of the
day. A time to relax. Rest and recharge. That`s right. It is time for
the POLITICS NATION summer break. We start with a trip to summer school.
It is just an ordinary lecture when who, did you see that? Out of nowhere,
that cat fell right out of the ceiling.

He takes his remaining eight lives and goes for a victory lap around
the classroom. And from cats to late night. Last night on "The Tonight
Show," first lady Michelle Obama was joined by Olympics star Gabby Douglas.
The gold medalist might have shared one too many details about her post-
game celebration in London.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAY LENO, HOST: You win. How did you celebrate? What did you do?

GABBY DOUGLAS, OLYMPICS GOLD MEDALIST: After the competition, I
splurged on an Egg McMuffin.

LENO: Egg McMuffin?

(LAUGHTER)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Gabby, don`t encourage it. I`m sure
it was a whole wheat egg McMuffin.

LENO: On a whole wheat bun. OK.

DOUGLAS: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Even gold medallists should remember the first lady is a
tough judge when it comes to junk food. And that`s today`s summer break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are back on POLITICS NATION with New Jersey Governor
Chris Christie going prime time. Today, we learned Christie will give the
keynote speech at the republican convention later this month. His brash,
tough talking take no prisoner style will be featured for the world to see.
And despite being one of the first major republican figures to publicly
endorse Romney, he wasn`t picked to be Romney`s vice president.

"The New York Times" reported weeks ago his brashness blundered hope
to run with Romney but get ready for some bluntness in prime time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: You know, what? First off, it
is none of your business. I don`t ask you where you send your kids to
school. Don`t bother me where I send mine.

Did I stay on topic? Are you stupid? On topic. On topic. Next
question. Thank you all very much. And I`m sorry for the idiot over
there. Let me tell you something. After you graduate from Wall Street,
you should talk to yourself like that in the courtroom, your rear end will
going to get thrown in jail, idiot.

Hey, man. I`m governor. Could you just shut up for a second? You
know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, Mr. Romney went for Paul Ryan instead of Chris
Christie. But was it the right decision? Joining me now is Steve
Kornacki, a co-host of The Cycle right here on MSNBC. He is also writing
today for salon.com about the choice Mitt Romney didn`t make. Steve,
thanks for being here tonight.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: So, Chris Christie gets the consolation prize. I mean,
what do you make of the pick for keynote speaker?

KORNACKI: Yes, you know, I wasn`t taking him too seriously as a vice
presidential prospect all along because of that brashness and because, you
know, sort of a sense that the Romney campaign didn`t necessarily see him
as a team player. He is a guy who`s made comments even while campaigning
for Romney about how, you know, maybe he wouldn`t mind running for
president himself in 2016. You know, comment that Congress suggestion he
thinks the 2016 nomination will be open.

Therefore, president there will not be President Romney. So, I didn`t
think he was really on the radar but the Ryan pick really caught me off
guard because, you know, he wasn`t really on a radar to many people until
the very end of the process. And I think by picking Ryan, you know, Romney
really made the statement that he was looking for something bold and I
would just say, if you are looking for something bold, you know, the
politics for the Ryan pick are very problematic.

It certainly a bold pick but we are seeing now all of the problems
that come with it, about how this entire sort of campaign now is all about
Medicare, it`s all about cuts to the budget, it`s all about things
Republicans don`t want to be talking about. If you still want to go to the
bold route, you could have go with Christie and I think you wouldn`t be
talking about Medicare cuts necessarily. You wouldn`t be talking about a
really kind of radical federal budget plan. You know, you would have a
whole other set of complications to deal with. But I think in terms of the
general election, Chris Christie would be less problematic for Romney than
Ryan.

SHARPTON: Well, he also has favorability, 37 percent favorability as
opposed to Ryan`s 27 percent. But something you wrote that caught my eye
was not only his brashness and bluntness but the fact that they didn`t know
if he was a real team player when he even once won`t the air saying that
Romney should release his taxes. Maybe some of this hurt him more than
even his brashness with the Romney crowd.

KORNACKI: Yes, I know, I mean, the taxes was huge. Because this is
the second tax drama we are going through for Mitt Romney. There`s one
back in January when he was saying he wasn`t going to release anything at
least for a few months. The pressure started building. And Christie went
on the "Today" show and said, yes, he should release something. And then
Romney had really no choice at that point but to come out with, you know, a
year and an estimate which he`s done so far.

So, yes. You run the risk of that repeating itself or something, like
that repeating itself if he is your VP candidate. You know, there`s also -
- there`s story a few weeks -- few months ago where the Romney people
basically let it be known to the press that they didn`t appreciate that
when they did joint event with Christie, Christie kind of took his time
showing up, showing up late. Sort of, you know, the implication being felt
he was conducting himself in almost like a -- carry himself like a regal
manner. When you see --

SHARPTON: He is a busy man. He`s a busy man, Steve. Give him a
break. He is busy. But let me ask you this. What`s the politics of
behind the Christie keynote? Isn`t that they are helping to promote him
for the future or is it just a cancellation since he came out early for
Romney, they want to give him something since they didn`t put him on the
ticket?

KORNACKI: You know, I think it`s real simple. They`re giving the
party base and they`re giving the delegates all exactly what they want.
You know, Chris Christie, sort of rhetorically the break out star of the
last few years of the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: Yes.

KORNACKI: So, they got to do it.

SHARPTON: Steve Kornacki, thanks for your time tonight.

KORNACKI: Sure.

SHARPTON: And catch Steve on "The Cycle," 3:00 p.m. weekdays right
here on MSNBC. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, I`m here in Ohio where voting rights are
under assault. It is a critical swing state and the stakes are high.
Voter suppression is a way to rig the system and the right knows it. They
are acting on it here in Ohio. In 2004, long lines kept nearly 130,000
Ohioans from casting a ballot on Election Day. Clearly it was a broken
system. So, the state added 35 days of early voting before the 2008
election.

Sounds like a good idea, right? But since 2008, Republicans have
passed laws restricted early voting all over again. And now thanks in part
to the republican secretary of state, democratic leading counties are
shrinking early voting hours while republican leaning counties are
extending them. It is brazen, it`s unfair and it`s wrong. It is time to
educate all voters so that they know we won`t stand for it.

Joining me now is former Governor Ted Strickland, democrat from Ohio.
He`s also one of the co-chairs of the Obama re-election campaign. Governor
Strickland, first of all, thanks for being here tonight.

GOV. TED STRICKLAND (D), OHIO: Reverend Al, it is always good to be
with you.

SHARPTON: Now, I must say there`s blatant suppression going on
through the states. Tell our viewers what is happening here in the
important state of Ohio.

STRICKLAND: Well, a couple of things. First of all, they are trying
to restrict voting during the last three days, leading up to the Election
Day. And that`s a critical weekend period of time when a lot of votes are
cast. Four years ago over 100,000 votes were cast during that weekend
period. And so the Obama campaign joining with the Ohio Democratic Party
is bringing suit to try to make sure that there is consistency there
because the federal law says that the military and their families can vote
during that period of time.

We just want everyone to be able to vote during that period of time.
Certainly including our military but we want all voters to be able to vote
during that weekend before November the 6th. The other issue that you
mentioned is an inconsistency. Some of the democratic counties will have
fewer hours for early voting than some of the counties that typically vote
for the Republicans. And the secretary of state can correct that problem
by making sure that there is uniformity across Ohio so that all voters will
have equal access in terms of voting hours and voting times to cast their
votes.

SHARPTON: Now let me explain to people around the country each
election district has four commissioners, four on the election commission,
two Democrats, two Republicans.

STRICKLAND: That`s right.

SHARPTON: The Secretary of State breaks the tie.

STRICKLAND: That`s right.

SHARPTON: If the secretary of state is voting with the Republicans
and voting -- Republicans districts and not democratic districts,
Republicans get the extra time and the Democrats don`t. When challenged
about it, the secretary of state spoke out yesterday saying that well, "I
may -- and emphasize is on may, establish through directive uniform hours
of operation throughout the state." What do you mean you may practice
democracy, Governor?

STRICKLAND: Well, you know, it is going to take public pressure,
Reverend Al to solve this problem. And I think that as more and more
Ohioans and people across the country as far as that`s concerned, become
aware of this inconsistency and this lack of uniformity, and the fact that
it is putting democrat voting counties like our large counties, Cuyahoga
County, where Cleveland is located, Lucas where -- Toledo, and so on and so
forth, these large counties which typically vote for the Democrats, under
the current situation will have fewer hours to cast the votes than the
counties that typically vote for the Republicans. And the secretary of
state and I would call upon John Houston tonight to make this a uniform
system across all of Ohio`s 88 counties, so that we have fairness in this
election.

SHARPTON: This is blatant. When you look at the fact on August 2nd,
letter to Franklin County officials, Husted said and I`m quoting the
letter, "Local boards are operating under tight budget constraints on a
day-to-day basis under their normal business hours." Well, if their budget
constraints, are the budget constraints only in democratic districts,
Governor?

STRICKLAND: Well, Reverend Al, Ed Fitzgerald who`s the county
executive in Cuyahoga County has said very publicly, in fact, I think at a
press conference, even today, that Cuyahoga County has budgeted for these
extra hours, that that is not a problem in his county. And so, I don`t
think that that`s an argument that holds water. I think it is more of an
excuse and what we need is uniformity and the secretary of state has a
responsibility under the law, I believe, to make sure that all voters in
Ohio are treated equally. Regardless of what county they come from.

SHARPTON: Absolutely. Governor Ted Strickland, thank you for your
time tonight.

STRICKLAND: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: I`m in Ohio tonight as they are cutting back on early
voting days. As they are using other measures that will make it difficult
for people to vote. Voter ID. We have been to Florida. We have been to
Georgia, we have been all over since the march in Alabama and we`ve raised
this on this show. And I don`t care if you`re republican, democrat,
independent, or undecided. We must protect the right to vote. It is about
what this country stands for. How do we preach to the world democracy?

How do we look at the world and say, have a vote and choose your
leaders and then come home and use every scheme we can to undermine people
from voting, suppress voting, and to go backwards and retreat on those
things that brought more voters out? This country`s better than that. We
are better than that. We are not going to stop until we protect
everybody`s vote and everybody`s franchise. This is something that we
should not tolerate in 2012. That`s from Ohio to all over the country.

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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