updated 8/22/2012 11:04:18 AM ET 2012-08-22T15:04:18

POLITICS NATION
August 21, 2012

Guests: Alicia Menendez; Patricia Murphy; Laura Bassett; Louise Slaughter, Sherrod Brown, Bob Shrum, Patrick Murphy

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, HOST, POLITICS NATION: Thanks for joining in
tonight.

Tonight`s lead, the GOP`s extremism problem, Congressman Todd Akin
vows to stay in the Missouri senate race. And the Republican Party is in
full freak out mode. Despite a firestorm of criticism for his comments
about legitimate rape, Mr. Akin says he`s not getting out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. TODD AKIN (R), MISSOURI SENATORIAL CANDIDATE: We are going to
continue with this race for the U.S. Senate because we are going to
continue because I believe there`s a cause here and that there is a part of
the message that`s missing and a lot of people feel left out of the
parties.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Republicans are desperate for Akin to quit the race.
Senator Mitch McConnell said today Akin made a deeply offensive error and
said sorry is not sufficient. National Republican committee chair Reince
Priebus called Akin`s comments biologically stupid. And Maine senator
Olympia Snowe said Akin`s comments were repugnant and outland I shall.

Meanwhile, Karl Rove`s crossroads GPS PAC announced it would pull
millions of dollars in funding for Akin telling CBS news that the act
speaks for itself. And there were many other Republican voices who are now
calling for Akin to get out.

The reason, well, this isn`t really just about Todd Akin. It is about
these guys, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan who share extreme abortion views with
congressman Akin. Ryan and Akin co-sponsored legislation that limited what
could be considered rape. The no-taxpayer funding for abortion ad said
public funding could only be used for, quote, "forcible rape." And Ryan
also co-sponsored a bill that will force a woman to receive a forced
ultrasound before having an abortion. Akin was with them on that one, too.

And together, again, Akin and Ryan were co-sponsors of a personhood
amendment that would define life as starting at conception. That would ban
abortion in any circumstances even in rape and incest. It would ban some
forms of contraception and ban in vitro fertilization. Mr. Romney agrees
life starts at conception.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Would you have supported the
constitutional amendment that would have established the definition of life
of conception?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Absolutely. But it wasn`t until this afternoon that Romney
joined a chorus calling for Akin to get out of the race saying his fellow
Missourians urged him to step aside and I think he should accept their
counsel and exit the Cincinnati race.

And Paul Ryan`s spokesperson tells NBC News, the congressman agree was
the governor.

Yes. The congressman agrees with the governor even though mini pro
life policies the congressman agrees with congressman Akin. But we don`t
really want to talk about that. And that`s the GOP problem today. The
longer Akin stays in the race, the more the nation will learn about the far
right abortion views of Akin and his colleague, Paul Ryan.

Joining me now is Congresswoman Louise Slaughter, Democrat from New
York and co-chair of the congressional pro-choice caucus and Laura Basset,
a journalist who covers women`s issues for "the Huffington Post."

Thank you both for being on the show tonight.

LAURA BASSETT, JOURNALIST, HUFFINGTON POST: Happy to do it.

REP. LOUISE SLAUGHTER (D), NEW YORK: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, does Paul Ryan have a Todd Akin problem?

SLAUGHTER: He sure does. As a matter of fact the whole GOP in the
house has that problem. HR3 was passed with every single Republican voting
for it. That`s the bill that redefined rape.

SHARPTON: When you say redefined --

SLAUGHTER: And Paul Ryan was the original co-sponsor.

SHARPTON: When you say redefine rape that Paul Ryan and Akin both co-
sponsored, that`s when they said forced rape. So, explain to me what rape
is that is not forced?

SLAUGHTER: Reverend, I can`t fathom those minds. Obviously if there
is an oxymoron it is legitimate rape. I absolutely cannot tell you what
the thing about. But, can you believe that congressman Akin is on the
science committee?

SHARPTON: No. That I didn`t know.

Let me go to you, Laura. They are saying legitimate rape, they are
saying forced rape, I mean, it is -- total -- not only misconstruing of
what rape is, but is an insult to women who have already been traumatized
and victimized. It is somehow making the victims some kind of a -- I don`t
even know how you would describe it, it is the ultimate insult of women
particularly women that suffered this.

BASSETT: Absolutely. And it reflects a fundamental distrust for
women. If you look at what he said, what he said had two components. The
first is that there are such thing as legitimate rape which means there is
such thing as illegitimate rape which is just one way of saying that women
who - there are some women who said there, they have been raped and they
are lying.

The other component of what he said is that women who have been raped
can`t become pregnant for some biological reason. And in saying this, as a
defense, for a policy that would -- that would oppose abortion in cases of
rape is basically saying if a woman goes into a abortion clinic and says
she`s been raped, and that she is pregnant as a result that she is lying.
This is -- this is -- basically saying women aren`t tells the truth when
they are have been raped and inconvenient - it is an inconvenient thing for
him to say but it is not an inconsistent thing for him to say in terms of
what the rest of the Republican party has said before and has codify flood
law.

SHARPTON: Well, Congresswoman, on that particular point, the --
platform committee of the Republican Party, took a vote in Tampa this month
approving anti-abortion language in the party platform. The platform will,
quote, "contain language endorsing a new constitutional amendment,
protecting human life. Language that`s silent on the question of whether
the party believes abortion should be allowed in cases of rape and incest."
So the party is big on this issue.

SLAUGHTER: Yes, they are. We voted on it 12 times in the House of
Representatives in this term. And I -- I will tell you that it is a part
of the war on women. They are trying to push us back to the 1950s. I
represent western New York where women`s rights movement began and we are
not going back.

SHARPTON: Well, let me go back to you, Laura. The -- sorry,
Republican national committee chair Reince Priebus was on this station,
MSNBC, this morning. He said the Republican Party is a pro-life party.
And even before this Akin controversy, the Obama campaign produced an ad
that really hit Ryan and Romney on women`s health and abortion. Listen to
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s made his choice. But what choices will
women be left with? Just like Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan would get rid of
Planned Parenthood funding. In Congress Ryan voted to ban all federal
funding for Planned Parenthood and allow employers to deny women access to
cancer screenings and birth control. And both Romney and Ryan back
proposals to outlaw abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, Laura, with the Akin controversy would all of this
coming up, will this become a major issue and decisive issue in this race,
the president and the vice president on one side of this discussion and
clearly the other side represented in the most extreme ways by Mr. Romney
and Ryan?

BASSETT: This section absolutely going to be a major influence in
this race. It is Romney`s personal nightmare because he and Ryan and the
Republicans have been trying to change the conversation from social issues,
so-called women`s issues, back to jobs, back to the economy. And this has
highlighted the fact that abortion is something that the GOP cares deeply
about.

We see from their platform today which is the same as their platform
in 2008 and in 2004 and it has a constitutional ban on abortion without an
exception for rape victim, exception for incest victims. This is a bedrock
of the Republican Party platform. And I think that Romney wanted to
distract voters from that and he no longer can.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, he has reason to distract him. If you look
at people on running on the extreme platforms they lost.

Christine O`Donnell tried to run for Delaware`s senate seat with firm
stances against abortion, homosexuality, and pre-marital sex, she lost.

And Sharron Angle tried to get the Nevada senate seat with the
campaign opposed abortion under any circumstances. She lost. Can Buck ran
for the Colorado senate seat opposing abortion and including the case -- in
the case of incest or rape and supported a state constitutional amendment
that gave rights to fetuses, he lost. Not a good track record for these
extreme views in -- when they face voters.

SLAUGHTER: I gave -- I believe that they are saying that the party is
pro-life is going to be very damaging to the party. Numerous Republicans,
large numbers of Republicans, that I know, are not. And Republican women
basically who started Planned Parenthood.

But while the Democrats in the house were trying very hard to get
middle-class tax cuts and to do bills that would create jobs, we voted over
and over again to repeal health care and these kinds of bills that redefine
rape of all things.

I can`t imagine any family in America that has any interest in
redefining rape. But they have a lot of interest in making sure that there
is going to be a job for themselves and for the children in the future.

We have to stop this nonsense. I want America to take a good look at
the people who serve in the Congress of the United States. This is not new
to me. I have been hearing the same thing. This notion that women can`t
get pregnant if they are raped. Well, that`s going to be news to about
39,000 women a year in the United States.

It is one of the most insane things I have ever heard in my life with
absolutely nothing to bear. I do not understand this moment. Why we have
not heard more from the Medical profession telling the country the nonsense
of that entire notion.

Don`t believe it is just Akin. Remember what I said when this bill
came to the floor every Republican in the house voted for it, even though I
know many of them, some of them that I have worked with there for many
years, did not believe that.

SHARPTON: Well Congresswoman, you are right. Every Republican,
including Paul Ryan, voted for that bill.

SLAUGHTER: Absolutely including Paul Ryan.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there.

SLAUGHTER: OK.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Louise Slaughter and Laura Bassett, thank you
both for your time tonight.

SLAUGHTER: Thank you.

BASSETT: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, big announcement by the White House today has
Joe Biden hitting the road again next week and Republicans won`t be happy.

And Paul Ryan`s Medicare plan is not going over well with the American
people. New numbers on that tonight. All that.

Plus, this gives new meaning to sit-in protests. We are hitting this
beach in our summer break.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Next week is the Republican convention. What are they
planning? A rollback on progress. Women`s rights? Check. Voting rights?
Check. Gay rights? Check. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Ladies and gentlemen, meet Kris Kobach. He`s the secretary
of state in Kansas. But he is better known as the author of the anti-
immigrant papers please book, a law in Arizona. And he practically
invented that self-deportation line that Romney loves.

And he`s also a Romney adviser. Or at least he likes to say he`s a
Romney adviser. The Romney camp clarified that back in April letting
everyone know Kobach was just a supporter before ultimately deciding to
call him an informal adviser.

But today, Kobach is not just advising Romney but the whole Republican
Party. He`s in Tampa helping the right GOP policy at the Republican
platform committee meeting. That committee is headed by Virginia governor
Bob McDonnell, better known as a guy who proposed forced ultrasounds on
women.

But, go back Kobach, he is the one giving headlines today. Here`s
what he said about gay people at the Republican national committee platform
meeting in Tampa.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRIS KOBACH, KANSAS SECRETARY OF STATE: Our government routinely
judges situations where you may regard self-people completely affecting
themselves like for examples the use of controlled substances. Like, for
example, polygamy that is voluntarily entered into. We condemn those
activities even though they are not hurting other people, at least
directly.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Romney, informal adviser, Kris Kobach comparing gays to
polygamy and drug abuse. And after this line the committee reaffirmed
their stance opposing gay marriage and rejected a motion to recognize civil
unions.

In their platform they made their voter suppression campaign formal
and adding pro-voter ID and proof of citizenship plans at Kobach`s behest.
And they adopt a ban on foreign law after he complained of the threat of
Shariah law polls this to America.

And we already told you about their wildish strict anti-abortion, no
exceptions policy. They are trying to roll back progress with women`s
rights, voting rights, and gay rights. This is the GOP platform. This is
your Republican product.

Joining me now is Alicia Menendez, "Huff Post live" host and producer,
and Patricia Murphy, editor of "Citizens Jane Politics."

Thank you both, for being on the show tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Alicia, what do you think about Kris Kobach and this GOP
platform?

ALICIA MENENDEZ, HOST, HUFFPOST LIVE: At least now we know who is
leading the GOP. You know, there was a lot of talk about whether or not
the anti-immigrant amendments were actually going to make it in even some
members of the GOP saying that they were too extreme, too far to the right,
and yet, most of them did, most notably in my opinion, the embracing of
Arizona-style laws important the nation. And then also, this -- this
specific plank in the platform that says that any university that offers
in-state tuition to undocumented students would then not be able to receive
federal funding. It is spiteful and wrong and can parade as many Latinos
as then want out GOP convention. But if they keep pushing policies that
are bad for the Hispanic community, they are not going to see those voters
in November.

SHARPTON: Patricia, what will this mean for Romney and Ryan in the
vote this November?

PATRICIA MURPHY, EDITOR, CITIZEN JANE POLITICS: I think that it means
that Mitt Romney has slicing and dicing to do. I think that this is what`s
happening behind the scenes with the Republican Party. I mean, it is on c-
span which I watched all day today. But, this is mostly done behind the
scenes.

What Romney wants to do though, is appeal to independent voters. He
is going to have to find a way to both keep the base of his party together
and make no mistake, this committee is the base of the base with the most
conservative of the conservative activists in the Republican Party, passing
the policy of the Republican party much of which he is not 100 percent in
line with. He needs to keep them with him and still win independent voters
in November. It will be a very, very difficult dance for him to do.

SHARPTON: Earlier today on this station, on MSNBC, the chairman
Reince Priebus of the Republican national committee went out of his way,
Alicia, to point out that Romney is not in lock step with this agenda.
Listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REINCE PRIEBUS, CHAIRMAN, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE: As far as the
-- you know, the details of some of the things like an exception for rape
or life of the mother, these are not uncommon differences that candidates
have and don`t share some of the detail on those exceptions. But this is
the platform of the Republican Party. It is not the platform of Mitt
Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It is not the platform of Mitt Romney. Platform of the
Republican Party. How does he sell that one, Alicia?

MENENDEZ: I am not sure how he sells that one. When you go to
Patricia`s point about how he has to simultaneously court his, you know,
the extremists of his own base and at the same time court independents. I
think he`s just trying to make it through this convention. Because once he
does that, his base votes for him, right? There is no way, they are so
upset about Barack Obama, they are coming out not to vote for Mitt Romney
but vote against Barack Obama.

The real question then becomes about the independents and there are so
many different pieces of this platform that independents will reject,
whether it be about a woman`s right to choose, whether it be some of the
anti-immigrant provisions that are in here and whether it be DOMA. This --
it will be really hard to sell.

SHARPTON: Patricia, let me ask you the same question. How does he
sell this? Not his platform, it is the Republican Party`s platform. But
he`s the Republican Party`s nominee and standing there.

MURPHY: Yes. I mean, that`s the $100 million question. He has to
spend about $100 million to thread that needle. I don`t know how he does
it, to be honest with you. And you look at really just who voted in the
last election. Majority of women were the -- voters in the last election.
How do you sell yourself to majority of women when you have language like
this about women`s right to choose, certainly a number of women are pro-
life.

But this platform that they have passed is as restrictive as it can
get, no exception for incest, no exception for the health of the mother.
No exception for rape and then it gets you into this rolling controversy
about what is rape? Most women think there is no debate to be had about
what is rape. But certainly, there are a lot of Republican activists that
think there is a conversation to be had.

So, I think Mitt Romney, good luck. I don`t know how he going to do
it. This makes his job a whole lot harder in November. It doesn`t mean it
is impossible. If he can get it back on the economy, I think he has a
place to go. But if he is going to get muddled up in these very, very
restrictive social issues I think he has a very high hurdle to clear in
November.

SHARPTON: Alicia, but also, he`s tried to diminish his ties with the
guy Kobach who is advising a lot of this platform trying to distance
himself. But that`s not what he said when Kobach first endorsed him. Look
at this. He said I`m so proud to earn Kris` support. Kris has been a true
leader on securing our borders ask in stopping the flow of illegal
immigration in this country.

MENENDEZ: This is dejavu all over again. This is what Mitt Romney
did to John McCain four years ago. HE is now doing it to himself in order
to win extremists in his own party during the primary he was willing to
talk so far to the right on immigration that he was out of step even with
mainstream Republicans. When you went into the 2008 general election, it
made McCain very -- much harder for him to win Hispanic voters. That`s
going play out again in 2012. This is something we have seen from Romney
before.

SHARPTON: Alicia Menendez and Patricia Murphy. Thanks to both of you
for your time tonight.

MENENDEZ: Thank you.

MURPHY: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the 93-year-old face of the fight for voter
rights has her ID but what about the others in Pennsylvania without voice?
Governor Corbett is not playing nice with the department of justice.

But first, the Romney team has been pretty quiet about their plan.
But President Obama is exposing them today in Ohio. Senator Brown joins us
on that up ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Today, the "Politics Nation" crowd is talking about President Obama`s
campaign trail message. And imagining what they said to the president if
they met him on street rope line.

Susan would tell him, quote, "I have your back."

Kenneth would say, quote, "take your gloves off."

Joseph would keep it cool, quote, "nice tie. Who`s your tailor?"

Melody would ask him keep fighting for all of us, especially the least
of us.

We have got the president`s fighting words from the trail coming up
next.

But first, we want to hear what you think. Please head on over to
facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation
that keeps going long after the show ends.

We hope to see you there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Paul Ryan was supposed to
energize the republican base. Build excitement for the ticket. He has
done some of that but he`s done something else. He`s exposed the GOP`s
extreme vision of how it would run this country. You don`t need to look
any further than Congressman Ryan`s budget. It increases military spending
at a time when we spend more money on defense than the next 17 countries
combined.

It offers up trillions in tax cuts for the rich but no way to pay for
them. And because of this, because of this upside down priorities,
everything else suffers. Medicare as we know it gone. Trillions of
dollars to help low-income Americans, gone. Even basic parts of our social
compact like education suffer in this backwards math. And in Ohio today,
President Obama made that point.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We can`t afford to help the
next generation earn an education but we can afford massive new tax cuts
for millionaires and billionaires? Michelle and I are going to be able to
send Malia and Sasha to college. We don`t need an extra tax break. You
do.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

Their vision is wrong for moving America forward, it is not a vision
you`ve got to accept.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s a scary vision. It is no wonder Romney and Ryan
aren`t talking about that plan. It is no wonder they stopped talking about
talking about anything of substance. It is too tough to sell. So, instead
they are resorting to distortion, putting out false ads that claim
President is taking the work requirement out of welfare.

Let`s be honest. That strategy is not inspiring. And voters aren`t
inspired either. The new NBC poll shows that 54 percent of Americans say,
the Ryan pick has no effect on their vote. So much for the Ryan bounce.

Joining me now is Senator Sherrod Brown, democrat from Ohio. Senator,
thanks for coming on the show tonight.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be with you, Reverend Sharpton.
I`m sitting where you sat a week ago, and broadcasting in Cleveland.

SHARPTON: All right. Well, great. Now, let me ask you a question.
Is the Ryan/Romney budget plan, especially Medicare, a plus or a minus in
your state of Ohio?

BROWN: Of course, it is clearly a minus. The public is -- the public
understands that when you do more tax cuts for the rich and cuts to Pell
grants which -- or Stafford loans which hurt middle class college students,
working class college students, when you cut -- when you -- turn Medicare
into a voucher system, when you jeopardize Social Security, as Congressman
Ryan has wanted to do in the past, you clearly -- it is the kind of
economics we had during the Bush years that took us in the wrong direction.

And you are seeing that all of those money interests, all over the
country, coming after people, the -- drug companies, the insurance
companies, and the oil companies, the outside groups, and it is -- really
jeopardizes the direction of our country.

SHARPTON: Now, if you look -- listen to Romney and Ryan say they are
interested in a serious debate about all of this in the country, take a
listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Look, the voters of America
deserve an honest debates. That`s what Paul Ryan and I will give them.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are still waiting
for that adult conversation.

ROMNEY: This is a time to have a debate about the direction of the
country.

RYAN: We want this debate. We need this debate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, the record doesn`t seem like they are interested in
that. They want to reduce taxes for the wealthy but offer no way to pay
for them. They want to roll back regulation but they don`t say what
solutions they are putting in place. And they want to repeal health care
but give no idea on what they replace it with.

But what`s interesting is that your opponent, Josh Mandel has the
exact same fell stance. These are actual quotes from his Web site. He
says, quote, "Reduce capital gains and corporate taxes." But no way to pay
for them. He says, stop all new federal regulations, re-examine every
regulation. He says, repeal government-run health care. I mean, it is
almost carbon copy from your opponent to the Romney/Ryan propaganda, let`s
say, or their statements.

BROWN: Yes. It is the same all over the country. You know, they say
they want to debate but first of all, it is what we tried over the Bush
years when we got no real job growth in this country, no significant job
growth. They play a hole in the federal budget. They weaken regulation
which brought in Wall Street which brought on the terrible economic
collapse.

And they really don`t want to debate either Reverend Sharpton, when
you look at the way they are doing it. The -- huge amount of money that
the oil industry, that -- companies that outsource jobs to China, the Wall
Streeters spending in Ohio, for instance, or spending 15 -- they`ve already
spent -- in the end of next week, $15 million in attack ads against me and
just this state alone.

We are asking people to come to my Web site, SherrodBrown.com to help
with us the citizens` movement to fight back, to sign up against Citizens
United and all this outside money and build that kind of citizens movement
to fight back because they say they want to debate. They want a one-way
debate where the oil companies and Wall Street and the drug companies can
wash across every -- every Congressional district and state in this country
with their propaganda and win the debate that way.

SHARPTON: Now, on that particular point, the fact of the matter is
besides President Obama, the GOP is focusing a lot of the secret money on
you. Outside groups spent $15.2 million to be exact. Including 2.6
million spent this month alone on the race against you, by Karl Rove`s
crossroads GPS and Koch Brothers. A lot of people -- lot of outside money
that don`t have to record who they are. Why are they talking to you so
heavily, Senator?

BROWN: Well, I know the Wall Street is going after me because I`m the
sponsor of the bill that would break up the largest six banks on Wall
Street. The banks that are too big to fail, too big to manage, too big to
regulate. I know that Chinese money and the big companies that outsource
don`t much like me because of my China currency bill which would level the
playing field and create real manufacturing jobs.

And I -- I know the oil companies don`t much like me and Exxon and the
Koch Brothers and I assume in the state against me because of my support of
legislation to take away the tax breaks and the oil industry gets. Again,
we need a citizens` movement to fight back. The only way we fight back
against this crowd is by, you know, coming to my Web site, SherrodBrown.com
and helping others fight back and a grassroots effort.

It is the only way in the end-to-end this kind of special interests,
trickle-down kind of government that this crowd wants to bring to our
nation`s capital.

SHARPTON: Well, between the Citizens United decision and money going
in states like they are going in yours, and would you have been dealing
with -- on the voter suppression, they are really trying to have an uneven
playing field. Citizens need to stand up for their rights.

And I think you have been on record of saying that clearly when you
look at Ohio, which -- Doug Preisse, the chairman of the Republican Party
in Franklin County was overseas, the city of Columbus saying, we shouldn`t
contort the voting process to accommodate the urban read African/American
voter turnout. Let`s be fair and reasonable. I mean, we see where the
agenda is in Ohio. And I`m glad you are there. Senator Sherrod Brown,
thank you for your time.

BROWN: Thank you for coming to Cleveland to speak out, too, Reverend
Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Thank you.

BROWN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Florida, Florida, Florida, Florida, is ground
zero in the Medicare fight and it could mean big problems for the Romney
team, and racing on garbage cans. It must be time for your summer break,
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We are back with a pause from the political battles of the
day. A time to rest. Relax and recharge. That`s right. It is time for
the POLITICS NATION summer break. And we start on the streets of Germany
where taking out the trash has never been more fun. Check this out. It is
the annual garbage can world cup. Look at this guy. The rabbit racer.
Nice costume. He is showing solid form as he nails that tough turn.

Not all of the daredevils. This guy needs to pick up the pace. And
number seven is all business. Careful around that bend. I hope the winner
doesn`t celebrate with too much trash talk. Hey, forget the Congressional
softball game. I want to see them riding cans next year.

We continue with some seriously freaked-out elephants. They are not
happy about those visitors in the car. So there goes the car in reverse.
But the elephants keep coming up and coming at their pursuit.

Folks, this footage might be shown as a motivational video at next
week`s GOP convention. And there`s no better place to end your summer
break than the beach. And this is something you don`t see every day. It
is bring your own toilet day in Australia. A protest to add public
bathrooms at this beach.

And they are taking time to check out the day`s headlines. They
should be watching POLITICS NATION. This guy even wore a scarf for the
occasion. I always say it is important to stand up for what you believe
in. These folks sat down for their cause instead. And that`s today`s
"Summer Break."

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Florida, Florida, Florida is ground zero in the Medicare
fight and it also happens to be the host of the republican convention next
week. And we learned today that vice President Biden will go to Tampa
Monday, the first day of the GOP convention. Florida, as always is a key
state and in Florida, Medicare is the key issue. Here`s NBC`s Chuck Todd
on that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHUCK TODD, NBC CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The President is able
to ride Medicare to Florida, look at this. His 237 goes to 266. Romney
can win everything else, North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, Iowa,
Colorado, Nevada, and look at that. He is too short. This is the power of
Medicare and the power of the state of Florida.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The power of Medicare. We know Paul Ryan`s budget ends
Medicare by turning it into a voucher programs. Americans don`t like this
idea. The new NBC poll shows 50 percent of voters agree with President
Obama, that vouchers are a bad idea. While only 34 percent agree with
Romney, and Ryan. That is a good idea. Something tells me, we will hear
Vice President Biden talk about that next week in Tampa.

Joining me now is Bob Shrum, democratic strategist who ran Senator
Kennedy`s campaign against Romney back in 1994. And Patrick Murphy,
democratic house candidate from Florida who is running against republican
Congressman Allen West. Thank you both for joining me.

PATRICK MURPHY (D-FL), CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS: Thank you, Reverend.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here.

SHARPTON: Bob, Joe Biden is heading to Florida next week. What do
you make of this aggressive strategy?

SHRUM: Oh, I think it is, look -- they have been aggressive all
along. I don`t want to give myself credit but a month ago, I wrote in the
Daily Beast that Romney had lost the summer and Obama had won the summer.
They won it by being aggressive and destroyed, they destroyed the central
rationale of the Romney candidacy, that he`s a business guy who can create
jobs.

Now they are going to move on to Medicare and the Ryan nomination
gives them a huge opening to talk about that. And I think what you are
going to see from Vice President Biden, who, by the way, is a big asset in
Florida. You know, the Republicans last week had this fake campaign to try
to say that the President wanted to replace him which is totally untrue.

He is a big asset in Florida and Pennsylvania which also is a very
large -- population. He`s going to talk about the two big lies they are
telling. One, that their Medicare plan doesn`t affect people over 55. It
does in a whole series of profound ways. And number two, that the
President cuts $7816 billion from Medicare benefits. He didn`t. He cut
underperforming hospitals and insurance companies.

SHARPTON: Now, Patrick Murphy, when we raise on the poll who would do
a better job dealing with issues of concern to seniors, President Obama was
ahead 46 percent to Mitt Romney`s 34. Most voters, including Republicans
say, Medicare is extremely or very important on how they are vote for
president. Eighty percent Democrats, 74 percent Independents, 61 percent
Republicans. How do you view this particularly in Florida where you are
running for Congress?

MURPHY: Well, it is a huge issue. No question about it. I walk
around and meet seniors on a day-to-day basis and they are scared. And not
only they are scared about Medicare, but they feel that Social Security is
next for them. You know, Allen West and Paul Ryan, they have devise the
plan here that is balancing the budget, you know, his new budget, on the
backs of seniors, on veterans, on children, and the middle class. And it
is not right and they are scared.

SHARPTON: Now, you put out your first ad against Mr. West and you
really dealt with Medicare in that first ad and West is one of the extreme
right wing when he was in Congress, let me show you that ad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: It is kind of amazing what comes out of Allen West`s
mouth.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Do you support Medicare the way it is now, then
kiss the United States of America good-bye.

ANNOUNCER: But even worse is how he voted. To end Medicare as we
know it, twice.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, you`re -- campaign, that`s an effective ad in a
district with a lot of seniors. And I might add Paul Ryan and Allen West
voted a lot alike in the Congress.

SHRUM: Yes. Listen, that`s a great ad, whoever did it. I think
Patrick is doing a public service by running against Allen West who is a
disgrace to the Congress of the United States. Not just because of
Medicare but because of almost everything else he does and says. And
third, you know what amazes me? The Republicans wanted to run on the
economy. They ended up running on first Bain and now they are running on
Medicare.

SHARPTON: Yes.

SHRUM: They are running on wanting to destroy Medicare, they opened
this whole debate up. Look, Romney endorsed the Ryan plan. But when he
picked Ryan, he married the Ryan plan.

SHARPTON: Right. Now, Patrick, Medicare beneficiaries in Florida,
there is nearly 3.4 million Medicare beneficiaries in Florida. And with
states -- with high senior citizen populations, Florida has the most with
17.3 percent. This is not only where you are running, this is where the
Republicans are having their convention. Seems kind of contradictory,
doesn`t it?

MURPHY: It certainly does. And -- what is scary is the fact that
they are lying. You know, Allen West put an ad out saying that I`m
supporting a plan that is cutting Medicare by $700 billion. That`s not the
fact. It is scary what they are able to get away with. You know,
PolitiFact came out and said that`s an absolute lie. So, we have to get
the facts straight and we`ve got to hold them accountable for their words.

SHARPTON: Well, let me hold you right there, Patrick. The facts are,
you said that you are not supporting a plan that takes $700 million out of
Medicare. This is what they charged President Obama with. Explain to us
what the $700 billion that the President has proposed cutting and I think,
you know, Bob just referred to it and with the Ryan plan does with the $700
billion.

MURPHY: Well, Allen West -- not only Allen West say that, he -- you
know, supports the Ryan plan. He voted for it twice. And went on to say
that suicide to oppose it. What -- you know, the affordable care act does
is adds life to Medicare, it added at least eight years of life to it. So,
this is something that we have to get behind and of course, some things
that we need to improve. But this strengthens Medicare as we know it and
we`ve got to get behind it.

SHARPTON: Bob?

SHRUM: Didn`t cut one dollar in Medicare benefits.

SHARPTON: The President.

SHRUM: They did not cut one dollar in Medicare benefits. They did
cut underperforming hospitals and they set tougher standards for insurance
companies and that for example is how they saved the money. Third, they
use the money partly to close the doughnut hole so that seniors are no
longer responsible for 100 percent of their drug costs between
approximately $2500 and $6800. You know what Romney/Ryan does? It repeals
that and seniors have to go back to paying for all those prescription
drugs. Today`s seniors, not tomorrow`s seniors.

SHARPTON: Will it work though? Will this appeal work?

SHRUM: No. Because, listen, seniors are pretty smart. They don`t
want anybody monkeying with Medicare, number one. And the Ryan plan --
throws it out the window. Number two, the Republicans are telling a lie.
Look, the whole Romney campaign has been one long march of lying. That
this lying is transparent, the President is going to be out there. He`s
going to call them on it. Biden is going to call them on it. I think they
are in deep trouble.

SHARPTON: Patrick, the President is fighting back against these
Medicare attacks. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: They are just throwing everything they can at the wall to see
if it sticks. Their latest approach is to try to challenge me on Medicare.
Governor Romney wants to turn Medicare into the voucher system.

(crowd) No!

Congressman Ryan wants to turn Medicare into a voucher system.

(crowd) No!

I, on the other hand have strengthened Medicare. Their plan makes
seniors pay more, so they can give another tax cut to millionaires and
billionaires.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

He`s fighting back getting the record straight. Bob Shrum, thank you
for being here tonight.

SHRUM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Patrick Murphy, good luck to you.

SHRUM: Go out and win that race.

MURPHY: Thank you. We`re going to win it. Thank you all very much.

SHARPTON: All right. Coming up, pop quiz. What do Florida,
Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania have in common? The fight for our voting
rights continues, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the fight for our voting rights with 77
days to go. The right-wing voter suppression machine is working overtime.

Today in Wisconsin, the Attorney General again asked the state Supreme
Court to reinstate a restrictive voter ID law. Two laws of course have
declared the law unconstitutional saying, it could block more than 300,000
Wisconsin voters. One judge`s opinion wrote, quote, "If a government that
undermines the very foundation of its existence, the people`s inherent,
pre-constitutional right to vote, imperils its legitimacy."

Meantime, in Pennsylvania, where voter ID laws could disenfranchise up
1.5 million democratic leaning voters, the Governor is accusing the
Department of Justice of playing politics on voter ID laws. And in
Florida, a state senator wants Governor Rick Scott to block a law that cuts
early voting for 12 to eight days. Last week, a federal court said it
would unfairly affect black voters in five counties.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STATE SEN. ARTHENIA JOYNER (D), FLORIDA: No stifle, step on, kick
people to the curb because they -- historically have a propensity to vote
democratic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Today, Governor Scott threatened to remove a county
election supervisor who plans to stick with the 12-day voting period. We
are there working overtime. That means citizens that believe in voting
rights, that believe in fairness, that believe in this country, we have to
vote and we have to fight over time. It is not the fight we thought we
would have to do in 2012 but it is the fight we must do. We must protect
with this country stands for. One vote, one person. That`s America.

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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