updated 8/23/2012 10:40:41 AM ET 2012-08-23T14:40:41

POLITICS NATION
August 22, 2012

Guests: Patricia Murphy; Erin McPike; Jan Schakowsky, Karen Finney, Dana Milbank, Michael Grunwald

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

Tonight`s lead, run away Paul Ryan. The Republican presidential
campaign threatened again today to become entangled in the far right
abortion stance. Paul Ryan was forced to answer questions about these
policies, policies the Romney/Ryan ticket doesn`t want to talk about.

Today, congressman Todd Akin was back on TV apologizing for his
remarks on forced rape but refusing to do the disappearing act the
Republican party is so desperate for. We learned he will give into the
pressure by not attending the convention next week, but even if Akin is not
there, for Paul Ryan there`s no hiding his policy connections with Akin.
It only got worse when he talked to reporters.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: His statements were
outrageous, over the pale. I don`t know anybody that would agree with
that. Rape is rape period. End of story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You sponsored a legislation that has the
language forcible rape. What if forcible rape?

RYAN: Rape is rape period. End of story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So, that forcible rape language meant
nothing to you at the time?

RYAN: Rape is rape, and there`s no splitting heirs over rape.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Rape is rape, and there`s no splitting heirs over rape.
But that is no way Mister Ryan`s record shows. Last year he co-sponsored
the no taxpayer funding for abortion act. The original wording of that
bill said that an abortion could be paid for by federal dollars if the
pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the forced subject of an
act of forcible rape. Not just rape but forcible rape.

So there is a difference in this bill. Tape is not rape. In this
bizarre bill Ryan supported and who was Ryan`s co-sponsor on that bill?
None other than Todd Akin. They have stood shoulder to shoulder in their
fight against abortion for years. In fact, they`ve co-sponsored at least
eight anti-abortion bills together. They have worked together. They have
the same co-beliefs. But the past is now engulfing Paul Ryan. He no
longer is Mister Budget. He`s Mister No abortion. So he`s throwing Akin
under the bus.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You co-sponsored abortion-related
legislation with Congressman Akin.

RYAN: That bill passed by I think by 251 votes. It was bipartisan.
I think the HR3 is the one you talked about. I think we had 251 votes, 16
Democrats. I`m proud of my pro-life record.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: A bipartisan effort? Two hundred and thirty five
Republicans voted in favor of no taxpayer funding for abortion act, 16
Democrats supported it. Calling it bipartisan? At best that`s playing
fast and loose with the facts. And those Democrats who voted in favor
after the words "forcible rape" were taken out of the bill. Mister Ryan is
conflicted with the pride of his past decisions on abortion and his future
as Mitt Romney`s second in command.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Well, look, I`m proud of my pro-life record and I stand by my
pro-life in congress. It`s something I`m proud of, but Mitt Romney is the
top of the ticket. And Mitt Romney will be president, and he will set the
policy of the Romney administration.

Look I`m proud of my record. I don`t -- I`m proud of my record. Mitt
Romney is going to be the president. The president sets policy. His
policy is exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. I`m
comfortable with it because it`s a good step in the right direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s a good step in the right direction? Mister Ryan said
to one is more pro-life than him. There`s a deep division on this ticket,
but how much longer will Mister Ryan be able to run from his record?

Joining me now is Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from
Illinois, and a member of the pro-choice congress. And Krystal Ball co-
host of "the cycle" right here on MSNBC.

Thanks for being here tonight.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us.
REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Thank you.

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

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, actually Paul Ryan has a more anti-choice voting
record than according to the national right to life committee than Todd
Akin even has.

SHARPTON: Really?

SCHAKOWSKY: So every opportunity that he`s had -- yes, slightly
better from their point of view. He`s slightly more against women being
able to have an abortion. Of course, of the 38 anti-choice bills he`s co-
sponsored, several have no exception for rape or incest. And you`ve talked
about the forcible rape. He`s trying to run away from that saying rape is
rape, but he did want to make a distinction between forcible rape and un-
forcible -- what would that be?

SHARPTON: Right.

SCHAKOWSKY: Rape.

SHARPTON: Do you know what his score is from that group?

SCHAKOWSKY: Hundred percent.

SHARPTON: He`s rated 100 percent by that group?

SCHAKOWSKY: Yes. And he`s been -- this is his seventh term, so every
year, every session he`s had 100 percent voting record.

SHARPTON: Now Krystal, Akin doesn`t rate 100 percent, yet, he`s
become the new face of the extreme right on this. So if Mister Ryan is
outscoring him that says a whole lot about what he was trying to project
today on the airplane to reporters.

BALL: That`s exactly right. And I think what Paul Ryan is missing
here is while Todd Akin`s comments himself were offensive, it`s not his
crazy talk that I have as much of a problem as his crazy policies that are
the logical outgrowth of crazy talk. And on those policies as the
Congresswoman Schakowsky was just pointing out, Paul Ryan and the
Republican Party is just as part of the right and just as extreme as Todd
Akin.

And the things that is interesting, you played that clip several times
where Paul Ryan says he`s very proud of that record.

SHARPTON: Right.

BALL: So, what`s the message of American people are getting? On the
one hand, they`re seeing just how extreme and out of the mainstream Paul
Ryan`s record and his voting patterns are. On the other hand they see hi
parse words like any politician and willing to toss aside his allegedly
firmly held beliefs now that it`s politically inconvenient for him.

SHARPTON: So, when we look at this Paul Ryan, Congresswoman, we`re
looking at a man who has these great convictions, very passionate, but now
he seems toy playing political. He said in an interview last night he was
not trying to threaten access to birth control. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Nobody is proposing to deny birth control to anybody.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But when you look at his record, the record that he`s proud
of, he co-sponsored a personhood amendment last year. The sanctity of
human life that defines human life at the beginning of fertilizer. It
would ban abortion and some hormonal forms of contraception and would go as
far as to criminalize in vitro fertilization. So, I mean, he can`t have it
both ways, Congresswoman.

SCHAKOWSKY: Exactly. He has a record of saying that contraception
absolutely can be denied to some. When Obama care offered preventative
services including contraception, Paul Ryan was not in favor of requiring
all employers to provide contraception to their employees.

And that Paul Ryan is saying that he doesn`t think women are going to
fall for these side issues. Or that women are going to take the bait to
all the distractions that Barack Obama is trying to throw their way. I
think referring to these very issues that somehow now rape is really a side
issue, that access to contraception and even abortion is now a side issue.

SHARPTON: Now, Krystal, do you think that they thought this wouldn`t
come up during the election? I mean, they act surprised this has come up.

BALL: Well, I think they`ve been crossing their fingers hoping to not
have to talk about it, and that`s the thing here. For a while now the
right has been pretty successful about couching their position on abortion
on a woman`s right it to make her own decisions about her own body in this
sort of fluffy language about life.

Now there`s a real face. Now in this week we met rape victims. We
have seen their faces. We heard their stories, and that takes their very
aggressive, extreme, and callous policy to a whole different level in term
it is of the American people.

And I think the congresswoman is right here, too. When you have the
situation with Paul Ryan, and you`re looking at the totality of his record,
you cannot help but come to the conclusion that he is to the extreme right
and he`s now the central part of the Republican party ticket.

SHARPTON: Now, there seems to be --

SCHAKOWSKY: Let me just say --

SHARPTON: Yes, Congresswoman. Go ahead.

SCHAKOWSKY: I was just going to add that Paul Ryan is against title
ten. That is the family planning program. And that would allow women
access to contraception. And let`s remember that he and Mitt Romney are
for getting rid of planned parenthood, which also provides contraception
services. In fact, very little of their work is abortion.

SHARPTON: Now, talking about planned parenthood, let me go show you
this.

Ryan and the Republican party are trying to distance themselves, but
Akin all on the same page. Akin, the Romney/Ryan campaign, and the
Republican platform are all anti-abortion, though Romney has clarified that
he would allow for abortion in cases of rape and incest. But they all
stand behind personhood. They all want to defund planned parenthood and
they all oppose contraception coverage.

So, it`s interesting, but then you have some - you know, at the end of
the day, Congresswoman, Ryan said several times today that he was proud of
his pro-life record, but when you look at the record, Mitt Romney`s record
on abortion has been all over the place. Let me show you this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will preserve and protect
a woman`s right to choose and am devoted and dedicated to honoring my word
in that regard.

I believe abortion should be safe and legal in this country.

I believe from a political perspective that life beginning at
conception.

I have always opposed abortion.

My presidency will be a pro-life presidency.

Let`s send this back to the states rather than having a federal
mandate through Roe V. Wade. I`m pro-life. That`s my view. I believe
there is a sanctity of human life.

I`m pro-life, but I believe there should be exceptions in the case of
rape and incest and when the life of the mother is at stake.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, it seems that he either evolved or flip-
flopped.

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, I think the message, though, to women ought to be
very, very clear. You certainly can`t rely on Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan
when it comes to women`s health care. I think that that party and now in
their platform and how about it when they say that Mitt Romney doesn`t
really support the platform position, which is no abortion without -- no
abortions with any exceptions, none. Rape, incest, life of the mother. So
I think they are a danger, both of them, and the party itself, are a danger
to women`s health.

BALL: And let`s be honest, too. I mean, the party, even not looking
at these issues, has an image problem just because it`s so male dominated.
So, when you add these positions, these anti-woman positions to the male
dominated problem, it`s no wonder why there is such a gender gap in favor
of Democrats and one that I think will only widen from here on out.

SHARPTON: We`re going to talk about that later in the show.

Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Krystal Ball, thanks for your time
tonight.

And catch Krystal on "the cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern right
here on MSNBC.

Coming up, we`re learning more about the extreme Republican platform.
Just what is the GOP planning to do to this country? And Paul Ryan keeps
blaming President Obama for being partisan. But tonight, the reporter with
the inside story on the blocking is with us. Sorry, guys. No hiding now.

And the king speaks. The secret long-lass tapes of Doctor Martin
Luther King Junior found in a dusty attic. We`ll play you his words here
tonight.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Today our facebook family was buzzing about Romney`s latest
distortions on Medicare.

Rita says, it`s so sad how they`re twisting things. Sorry, Romney, we
are paying attention.

Dale says the Romney plan is a very unfunny joke.

Larry reminds all seniors on Medicare to, quote, "read before you
vote."

We`ve got more details on Romney`s Medicare plan coming up later in
the show. But, we want to hear what you think. Head 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: Ladies and gentlemen the Republican report card is coming
and it`s not pretty. Remember this picture? There was Arizona governor,
Jan Brewer, pointing at the president back in January on the tarmac in
Arizona. They were at odds over Arizona`s controversial papers please
immigration law, and this snapshot really captured the rage coming from the
right.

Now the entire party is officially in lock step with Governor Brewer`s
state. They`ve adopted a radical immigration platform. It was pushed by
Kris Kobach, the author of the Arizona law and an advisor to Governor Mitt
Romney.

This is the GOP party. But here comes those grades I mentioned. A
new NBC poll shows Mister Romney`s negative rating is at an all-tie high
among Latinos, 48 percent, and he`s down with other voters. He`s only got
41 percent of the woman`s vote, and African-American voters? That`s not a
typo, people. He gets zero percent of the black vote, zero.

This is the costs of going hard to the right. This is the cost of
rolling back progress. This is the cost of extreme policies.

Joining me now is Patricia Murphy, editor of "Citizen Jane Politics"
and Erin McPike reporter for "Real Clear Politics."

Thank you both for being here.

ERIN MCPIKE, POLITICAL REPORTER, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Thank you.

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

SHARPTON: Patricia, the GOP platform is the most extreme ever. How
does governor Romney expect to handle this?

MURPHY: Well, I think we`re absolutely going to see a Republican
convention in primetime that looks almost nothing like the Republican
convention that got started already in this platform committee. The
platform committee is the most conservative of the conservative activists
within the Republican party. Somebody like Tony Perkins from the family
research council sits on that committee, casts those votes, convinces those
other members to come along with him and the family research council.

But when you - I guarantee when we get to the Republican convention
next week, we`re going to see a very diverse group of people in primetime.
We`re going to hear the governor taking a much softer tone on a lot of
these issues, where behind closed doors they really have been much, much
more restrictive.

SHARPTON: But isn`t his platform, his convention, I mean? He can
take whatever theatrics he wants. This is his convention. This is the
platform of his party that he`s now the head of.

MURPHY: It`s the platform of his party, but this is not a party that
is 100 percent behind Mitt Romney, and that`s why we saw Paul Ryan get the
nod to be the VP pick. Even somebody like Mitt Romney so conservative is
insufficiently conservative in a lot of areas.

So, but the problem for Mitt Romney is when he runs in November, he`s
not running alone. He is running on the Republican ticket. He`s going to
take all of this with him. Voters will take it into the voting booth. And
the question for him is going to be what do voters remember? He wants them
to remember what is in primetime. He doesn`t want them to really know
what`s happening behind closed doors.

SHARPTON: Well Erin, when you look at the brand, a new NBC News/"Wall
Street Journal" poll shows that 29 percent of registered voters have a very
negative impression of the GOP. How do you deal with this? It is very
negative.

MCPIKE: You`re right, but I would also say that Patricia is right. I
talked to a Republican party official today who is irritated at how much
coverage this meeting of the Republican platform committee has gotten this
week because they say, well, that`s just a piece of paper, and we`re really
not going to be adhering very closely to what the platform committee goes
with this week.

So, yes, they have a problem and they do have to repair the Republican
party brand. But Mitt Romney and how he introduces himself, which he`ll be
doing in a very personal way in primetime next week, is what they want
voters to remember coming out of the next week in convention.

SHARPTON: But Erin, part of the reason there was a lot of coverage on
the platform is how extreme this platform is, probably the most extreme
we`ve ever seen. Look at the platform. They want to replicate Arizona-
style immigration law, not allow for abortions in cases of rape or incest,
push for mandatory ultrasounds, they refuse to recognize same-sex marriage
or civil unions, and they want to push for more voter ID laws. An extreme
platform like that is going to get covered.

MCPIKE: No question about that. They don`t want that. The
Republicans who are running the Romney campaign know that that is something
that won`t do them any favors with women voters in swing states, with
Hispanic voters in swing states. The kinds of voters they need to win in
big numbers if Mitt Romney has a chance of beating President Obama in the
presidential election by winning some of those swing states. No question
it`s a problem for him. That`s why they want to talk about the economy and
not those issues.

SHARPTON: But Patricia, when you look at, for example, the GOP
immigration platform, they would build a border fence, ban in-state tuition
for undocumented students. They want a mandatory e-verify system which
makes it harder for people to find jobs. Go after sanctuary cities that
help undocumented immigrants. How do you advocate this policy on your
platform and then go in swing states or any state and appeal to Latino
voters?

MURPHY: You know, this is actually one area where Mitt Romney is as
conservative as the Republican platform committee. This is why he is the
Republican nominee. He wouldn`t have gotten out of the Republican primary
if he hadn`t embraced all of those positions.

So, this is the one area I think he`s going to have the hardest time
distancing himself from the man that he became in the primaries to the man
that he wants to be on Election Day. And you start talking about state-by-
state where this will get him in so much trouble. Florida, Nevada,
Colorado, New Mexico, 40 percent of the voters are Latinos. And you can
have a great economic policy, but if you tell me you want to have my
grandmother self-deport, that`s just not going to get you anywhere with
Latino voters. That`s why there`s a 40 percent deficit right now between
the president and Mitt Romney.

SHARPTON: Well Erin you covered Mitt Romney a lot during the
primaries. He was very extreme on immigration, notwithstanding the
platform now. He himself was very extreme. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So if you don`t deport them, how do you
send them home?

ROMNEY: Well, the answer is self-deportation, which is people decide
that they can do better by going home because they can`t find work here
because they don`t have legal documentation to allow them to work here.

I think you see a model here in Arizona. With regards to illegal
immigration, of course, we build a fence. And of course we do not give in-
state tuition credits to people that came here illegally. That only
attracts people that continue to come here and take advantage of America`s
great benefits.

If I were elected, and Congress would have passed the dream act, would
I veto it? And the answer is yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Veto the dream act, build a fence, Arizona law. He can`t
run away from that, Erin. It`s in the platform, and it came out of his
mouth before the platform.

MCPIKE: And no question that we will be seeing some of the those
statements run in TV ads by the Obama campaign and the president`s allies
in some of the swing states later this fall after the conventions.

I would point out to you this. John McCain got 31 percent of the
Latino vote in 2008, and we know that the Romney campaign is shooting for
38 percent. But with statements like that, I don`t see how he can improve
upon John McCain`s numbers because, of course, in 2006 and 2007, John
McCain was on the front lines of arguing for comprehensive immigration
reform and the extremists in his party said no, you can`t do that.

SHARPTON: No, he argued for immigration reform and got 31 percent,
and we just saw what Mister Romney proposes and he wants 38 percent?

OK. Patricia Murphy and Erin McPike, thank you for your time tonight.

Inside the secret GOP plan it to block the Obama agenda. We had the
reporter with the details.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Republicans have been obsessed with the bogus line that the
President doesn`t think business owners built their businesses themselves.
What the President said is that successful businesses got some help along
the way. But the GOP has been trying to distort that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you have a business and
you started it, you did build it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The Washington crowd picked up the attack.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: He thinks if you run
a small business, you didn`t build it. The government did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And Romney`s right hand man is hammering the point on the
campaign trail.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RYAN PAUL (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you have a small
business, you did build that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yep, Republicans love the "We built this" argument so much
they`re dedicating a whole night to the theme at this republican convention
next week. Poor Republicans, they can`t even get an insult right. The
convention will be held at the Tampa Bay Times forum.

And look, right on the arena`s Web site, it`s described as a publicly
owned forum. That`s because the stadium costs $139 million to build, and
taxpayers helped pay for more than half of it. The forums also got more
than $32 million in sales, tax rebates over the years.

So, how did this great stadium get built? With lots of government and
taxpayer help. So, have fun next week with your big "We built it" theme
night, but we know you`re just building hi hypocrisy. Did they think we
wouldn`t call them out for it? Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Next Monday 50,000 people including Governor Mitt Romney
will head to Tampa for the Republican National Convention. And they might
have a visitor. Tropical storm Isaac is churning in the Atlantic. It`s
expected to become a hurricane tomorrow, and it`s on track to hit Florida
just as the RNC kicks off.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If there is a major storm, whether it`s a
hurricane, a tropical depression, anything like that, there are plans in
place.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, the GOP has plans to deal with this storm, but they
don`t have plans to deal with Medicare. In fact, their proposal on the
issue is so toxic that they`re distorting President Obama`s record on the
issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: I could go chapter and verse, but I won`t bore you or upset
you. But there`s one thing that he did. He took $716 billion from the
Medicare program, which is there for senior citizens, took it and spent it
on Obamacare.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Congressman Ryan doesn`t want to bore or upset you. That`s
why he neglected to tell you that President Obama didn`t take money from
seniors. How about that? I guess he didn`t want to bore you with these
facts either. Under Governor Romney`s plan, Medicare would go broke by
2016.

That`s four years from now. It would force current seniors to pay
more for health care. One long-time economist even is quoted saying that
it`s both puzzling and bogus at the same time. No wonder Congressman Ryan
said this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: I could go chapter and verse, but I won`t bore you or upset
you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I don`t know about you, but I get upset when the facts get
left out of the conversation.

Joining me now is Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst and former
communications director for the Democratic National Committee, and Dana
Milbank, columnist for "The Washington Post."

Thank you both for joining me this evening.

DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Good evening, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Dana, what`s the play for Republicans? Why even talk
about Medicare given the fact that it`s a losing issue for them?

MILBANK: Well, the question Reverend is how much of a losing issue
it is. So, this is an area where they expect to be at a disadvantage, and
this is sort of inoculation. If you get out there and make an attack, even
if it is as in this case a completely false attack, the other side is
responding to it or complaining about it as opposed to making the attack
themselves.

Really the best defense is a good offense in this case. So it
actually makes them a logical sense to be doing that, and certainly they`d
rather be talking about this than Todd Akin and a whole lot of other things
going on out there. But they`re not trying to play to win on this issue,
though Paul Ryan says they are. They`re trying to just minimize the
disadvantage they`re going to have on this issue.

SHARPTON: But Karen, when you look at the NBC poll, NBC/"Wall Street
Journal" poll, it shows that Americans basically agree with the President
on Medicare. Fifty percent of voters agree with President Obama that
vouchers are a bad idea, only 34 percent agree with Romney/Ryan that
vouchers are a good idea.

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: But remember in the
presentation that Politico ran last week that we got from the republican
campaign committee that showed the strategy that they are advising people
to take us, again try to use Obamacare as the boogie man, if you will,
against the plans around Medicare, and that`s part of the way they`re
trying to, Dana was just saying, kind of reduce that trust deficit that
they have when it comes to Medicare.

And clearly, I mean, just the very sentence of saying, $716 billion
from, you know, Obamacare is taking that from Medicare, I mean, that`s just
a flat-out lie, because the next part that they don`t tell you is, he`s
taking that money in savings to then put it back into the program to reduce
costs, increase efficiencies and make the program solvent for a longer
period of time. But they don`t tell you that piece.

SHARPTON: -- From waste and fraud.

FINNEY: That`s right. And they don`t tell you that piece. And
that`s part of why, as you pointed out in the opening, the numbers don`t
add up, because now Mitt Romney is saying, I`m going to put that $716 back
in, but not being honest about what that $716 billion really is in the
first place.

SHARPTON: But Dana, isn`t it risky to play with something as serious
and sensitive to Medicare when you look at most voters, including
Republicans, by the way. They say Medicare is extremely or very important
in how they will vote for president. Eighty percent of Democrats, 74
percent of independents, 61 percent of Republicans say that it is extremely
or very important to them. Wouldn`t you assume, then, that they`re really
going to look into the truth of this issue?

MILBANK: Well, they better hope they don`t. Because, you know, the
kicker here, Reverend, is in Paul Ryan`s own budget. He would take out
that same money he`s saying that the Obama administration is proposing to
rob from Medicare. He would just use it for other purposes, and at the
same time, he`s decimating Medicaid, which would put a lot of people now in
nursing homes basically out on the street unless there was something there
to take its place.

So, the front that`s being put up here is saying, OK, we won`t change
Medicare for people who are 55 or older, but in a whole bunch of ways,
Medicare is going to be changed if this plan comes through.

SHARPTON: Right.

MILBANK: And as you just pointed out a moment ago, even current
beneficiaries will be paying hundreds of dollars more under this plan.

SHARPTON: Right.

MILBANK: That`s a very difficult position to be in, so you would see
why it`s important to get out there and sort of muddy the waters and make
the subject about Obamacare.

FINNEY: But, you know, Reverend.

SHARPTON: But Karen -- go ahead.

FINNEY: Think about what they`re saying. They`re saying, we`re going
to not change the program now. So we`re going to keep the inefficiencies
in, we`re going to keep overpayments to insurance companies, and we`re
going to keep your costs high because, again, part of what Obamacare was
trying to do is lower costs.

So, that`s what they`re saying. That`s the bargain when they say,
they`re not going to change anything. And then they say, but ten years
from now, that is when we really going to, you know, improve the program.
I mean, on the face of it, that doesn`t make sense.

SHARPTON: Well, not only that, but you said about they`re throwing a
line, that is not true. We`re trying to get to punch in the line. It
seems like they`ve also done that on the whole question of welfare. The AP
has a piece out today that talks about Governor Romney`s dishonest attacks
against the President on welfare.

It says and I`m quoting the article, "The welfare tax could open
Romney up to criticism that he is injecting race into the campaign and is
seeking to boost support among White, working class voters by charging the
nation`s first black president is offering a free pass to recipients of a
program stereo typically associated with poor African-Americans. And
Romney runs the risk of denting his credibility with voters by peddling an
argument that has been widely debunked."

FINNEY: Well, he`s clearly trying to -- I mean, there`s an effort
there. Whether they`re aware of it or not, if they`re not aware of it,
that shows a lack of understanding of our country and the diversity of our
country. And if they are aware of it, then shame on them. But just sort
of, again, this is this dog whistle politics in trying to play into this
idea of, you know, people who get welfare are lazy and, you know, sort of
all of those stereotypes.

But again, not being dishonest about the fact that it would be up to
the governor and Republican as well democratic governors ask for this
flexibility in terms of how they administer their programs. These are
supposed to be the smaller government guys that want more control at the
state level.

SHARPTON: Well, Karen Finney and Dana Milbank, thanks for your time
tonight.

MILBANK: Thanks, reverend.

FINNEY: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a new book highlights the GOP`s secret plan to
block President Obama, and we`ve got the reporter with the details.

Plus, newly discovered tapes of Martin Luther King, Jr., they are
giving us a new chance to hear history in the making. We`ll hear from the
civil rights hero in his own words. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the pause from the political battles of the
day. A time to rest, relax, and recharge. That`s right. It`s time for
the POLITICS NATION summer break.

We start with Wi-Fi donkeys. Yes, you heard me right. These donkeys
in Israel are connected. Thirty donkeys at a park are now roaming Wi-Fi
hotspots. The Wi-Fi router hangs around the donkeys` necks. Think these
tourists are commenting on the POLITICS NATION Facebook page? Donkeys on
the cutting edge.

Now, that`s a good sign for Democrats. Next is our summer break
athlete of the day. What`s that? It`s the smallest bicycle I`ve ever
seen. Can he ride that thing?

Yes, there he goes. Keep pedaling. Good thing he`s got a helmet.
It`s quite a fall from all the way up there. He knows about compact cars,
but that`s a tiny way to get around.

Finally to the most hip street in town. Watch this traffic officer do
his thing in a crowded intersection in the Philippines. He`s got all the
moves, the strut, the shake, the shimmy. You know, President Obama is here
in New York tonight. We could use this guy to keep rush hour grooving.
And that`s today`s summer break.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. Have you heard Paul Ryan`s new talking point
trying to blame President Obama for the political gridlock in Washington?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: President Obama came in and said, we`re not red states. We`re
not blue states. We`re just the United States. We`re going to put aside
childish things. This is the third president I have served with, and I
have never seen such bitter, partisan rhetoric like the kind we have today.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s a great story. Blame the partisanship on the
president. If only it were true. The reality is Republicans in Congress
decided to block the President since inauguration day, and now a new book
sheds light on how far Republicans would go just to see this President
fail.

Here`s what Joe Biden said in the book about his attempts to find GOP
votes for the President`s first big bill, the stimulus. Quote, "I spoke to
seven different republican senators who said, Joe, I`m not going to be able
to help you on anything." Biden recalls his informants said, "McConnell
had demanded unified resistance. The way it was characterized to me was,
for the next two years, we can`t let you succeed in anything that`s out to
get it to coming back."

A party determined to block President Obama`s success and America`s
success as well.

Well, joining me now is a reporter with the scoop, Michael Grunwald,
senior correspondent for "Time" magazine. He`s the author of the new book,
"The New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era."

Michael, thanks for coming on the show tonight. You really detail
obstructionism that the Republicans were determined to block the President
from day one. You really lay it out in this book.

MICHAEL GRUNWALD, AUTHOR, "THE NEW NEW DEAL": Thank you very much,
Reverend Al. I mean, it is true. I have some of the first reporting on
the secret meetings that Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell are holding with
their members. As you remember, after Obama was elected, he was at 70
percent in the polls.

SHARPTON: Right.

GRUNWALD: Republicans brunt. People were saying that if it was dog
food, it would be, you know, they`d have to recall it from the shelves.
Everybody thought Republicans would have to cooperative with him. It was
an economic emergency. You know, the economy was falling off a cliff. But
they had these meetings where they said, no. Our way back is to fight.

And then, if in two years, everything is rosy, we`re all going to get
re-elected. Because when things are good, people get reelected. But if
things are still struggling because the economy is in such rough shape
losing nine percent of GDP in the fourth quarter, then hey, that`s our
ticket back to power. And I even interviewed one Obama aide who at the
time was having a little relationship with a republican Senate staffer.

SHARPTON: Right.

GRUNWALD: And he said, hey, so what`s our deal? Where`s the deal
going to be on the stimulus? And she told him in bed, she said, baby,
there is to deal.

SHARPTON: Wow. What was amazing to me is the people you got to go on
record. For example, here`s democrat Congressman Dave Obey`s account of
trying to work with this republican counterpart Jerry Lewis on stimulus.
And he says to him, quoting from the book, "Jerry`s response was, I`m
sorry, but leadership tell us we can`t play. What they tell us right from
the get-go was, it doesn`t matter what the hell you do, we ain`t going to
help you. We`re going to stand on the sidelines and complain." That`s on
the record.

GRUNWALD: Hey, and it`s not just Democrats saying it on the record.
I quote republican senators like Senator George Voinovich saying that if
Obama was for it, we had to be against it. Mike Castle of Delaware saying
that, you know, from beginning the caucus decided that we couldn`t give
Obama a bipartisan victory. You know, this was really the -- it was the
strategy from day one.

Remember, in 2008, every republican and democratic presidential
candidate was for a stimulus package. Mitt Romney was for the largest
stimulus package.

SHARPTON: Right.

GRUNWALD: Even in 2009 in January, they all voted for a $715 billion
stimulus that was very similar to Obama`s. It was never entirely clear
how, you know, Obama`s $787 billion stimulus was tyrannical socialism but
$715 billion was good public policy. They just realized that their ticket
back to power was no. It`s a big government mess. They`ve been very
relentless with it.

SHARPTON: Well, Michael, if you look at Paul Ryan and how he`s been
bashing the stimulus plan since even before he was the running mate, look
at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: We learned that much of this stimulus, which was neither
targeted timely or temporary, in fact, it was just a down payment on
government programs.

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 have proven to succeed.

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

SHARPTON: But you in the book actually have charts showing what
happened with the stimulus, and is there any merit to what Ryan is saying?

GRUNWALD: No. Absolutely not. The stimulus was actually this untold
success. Pretty much everything that America knows about it is wrong. You
know, the first quarter after the stimulus passed was the biggest
improvement in jobs in 30 years.

SHARPTON: The first quarter was what?

GRUNWALD: It was the biggest improvement in jobs in 30 years.
Remember --

SHARPTON: Wow. In 30 years?

GRUNWALD: We lost 800,000 jobs in January of 2009 before Obama took
over. Right afterwards, you had this incredible improvement. Still bad,
but amazing improvement.

Meanwhile, the rest of the stimulus was really the purest distillation
what Obama meant by change. Clean energy, health information technology,
education reforms, middle class tax cuts for 95 percent of the country.

You know, the biggest investment in infrastructure since Eisenhower.
The biggest investment in research ever. There really is this sort of
untold story that Republicans like Paul Ryan who had always supported
stimulus in the past have been able to spin and the credulous media has
pretty much gone along with it.

SHARPTON: Well, Michael, we`re out of time. Thanks for coming. But
people can get the book and read it for themselves. Get this book and it
breaks it down. Michael, thank you for your time. Good luck on the book.
The book is "The New New Deal," and it`s an important book for you to have.
We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight finding history. In Chattanooga, Tennessee
they just discover a long lost interview with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
from 1960. On the tape he describes what made the civil rights movement so
unique.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., JANUARY, 1929-APRIL, 1968: The thing
that impresses me about the movement is the fact that they have followed
means that grow out of the highest tradition of nonviolence and peaceful
methods. And I think this is the thing that makes this movement unique and
makes it one of the most significant developments in the whole racial
struggle.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Dr. King also predicted what the history books would say
about the movement.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KING: I am convinced that when the history books are written in the
future years, historians will have to record this movement as one of the
greatest epics of our heritage. I think the movement represents struggle
on the highest level of dignity and discipline.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He knew that history would record what the movement did.
This was before the voting rights act five years after this tape. Before
he won the Nobel Prize four years after, before any of the "Time" magazine
man the year. He knew history would record what was done at a decisive
time. We should use the discovery of this tape to discover in us what are
we going to do at this point in history?

None of us will be Dr. King, but all of us will be recorded in
history. We will recorded for what we do or what we don`t do. History has
taken attendance. Will you mark present or marked missing in action?

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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