updated 9/7/2012 10:40:11 AM ET 2012-09-07T14:40:11

POLITICS NATION
September 6, 2012

Guest:


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

I`m live tonight at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.
And what a crowd we have. We`re just four hours away from President
Obama`s speech in this election suppressing the voters has become a key
part of the Republican strategy. And for almost 50 years this country has
had no greater champion of voting rights than the man speaking now at the
podium.

Voter ID, voter suppression is something that they have brought out in
many states this year. My concern is that a generation ago we fought with
the man that is speaking at the podium to get us the right to vote today in
this generation people like you and I have to fight to maintain the right
to vote.

This morning, Reverend Joe Lowery of One Generation and John Lewis of
another, Me of Another, stood together saying this vote should not be
compromised. And this election no matter who you`re supporting, no matter
who you`re voting for, this election cannot be the turning back of voting
rights. At the podium, let`s listen to congressman John Lewis of Georgia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

REP. JOHN LEWIS (D), GEORGIA: -- than we were in 1961. And in 2008
we showed the world the true promise of America when we elected president
Barack Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: A few years ago a man from Rock Hill inspired by President
Obama`s election decided to come forward. He came to my office in
Washington and said I am one of the people who beat you. I want to
apologize. Will you forgive me? I said I accept your apology. He started
crying. He gave me a hug. I hugged him back. And we both started crying.
This man and I don`t want to go back. We don`t want to go back.

(APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: Brothers and sisters, do you want to go back? Or do you want
to keep America moving forward? My dear friends, your vote is precious.
Almost sacred. It is the most powerful non-violent tool we have to create
a more perfect union.

(APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: Not too long ago people stood in unmovable lines. They had to
pass a so-called literacy test. Pay a poll tax. One occasion one was
asked to count the jelly beans in a jar all to keep them from casting their
ballot.

Today it is unbelievable that there are Republican officials trying to
stop some people from voting. They`re changing the exchange in the rules.
Cutting polling hours and in polling requirement to suppress the vote. The
Republican leader in the Pennsylvania house even bragged that his state`s
new voter ID law is going to allow governor Romney to win the state.
That`s not right. That`s not fair. And that is not just.

(APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: And similar things have been made in Ohio, Texas, Florida,
Wisconsin, Arizona, Georgia, and South Carolina. I`ve seen this before. I
lived this before. Too many people struggled, suffered, and died to make
it possible for every American to exercise their right to vote.

(APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: And we have come too far together to ever turn back. So
Democrats, we must not be silent. We must stand up, speak up, and speak
out.

(APPLAUSE)

LEWIS: We must march to the polls like never, ever before. We must
come together and exercise our sacred right. And together on November 6th,
we will re-elect the man who will lead America forward, President Barack
Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SHARPTON: That was congressman John Lewis. John Lewis, one of those
that led the march from Selma to Montgomery in `65 addressing this
convention tonight as those of us that are here now must deal with voter
suppression. Voter ID, we`ve been talking about it for weeks on this show.
Many of the civil rights groups are out here. We are now dealing with
this, the threat to our right to vote is real. And we`re not going to let
them turn back the clock as congressman Lewis said.

Joining me now is Alex Wagner host of "Now with Alex Wagner" here on
MSNBC and E.J. Dionne, columnist for the Washington Post and an MSNBC
contributor.

Thanks both for coming on tonight.

ALEX WAGNER, MSNBC HOST, NOW WITH ALEX WAGNER SHOW: Thanks for having
us, Rev.

E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, E.J. You were in the hall when congressman
John Lewis was speaking. And we could see from the shots some people in
the audience appeared moved. Some had tear-up. What was the reaction as
you got it on the floor?

DIONNE: Well, it was an overwhelming reaction. I mean, no one is
more qualified to make a moral case for equal voting rights than John
Lewis. This is a very brave and very good man. And I think people
regardless of their politics know that that`s true. And the room was
electrified because this is a very, very fundamental thing. We talk about
it a lot in political terms and how some of these laws might make it harder
for President Obama to win.

But the idea that on one day every two or four years, every person in
the country is absolutely equal whether you`re a homeless man or woman or
the richest person in the country, democracy means that every single
citizen ought to have equal access to the ballot box. And what`s wrong
with these laws is they clearly discriminate against particular groups of
Americans, particularly less privileged Americans.

And so, no matter where you stand on the election, you ought to be
opposed to this. And it`s very sad because if you go back almost 50 years,
there were a lot of Republicans who stood up very strongly for voting
rights and civil rights.

SHARPTON: Well, I certainly agree with that. And as you know, Alex,
we`ve been fighting this all over the country. Various groups. The
reaction to the crowd here right away was a huge applause. This is a real
issue and a real problem even beyond this election.

WAGNER: I mean, this is -- and John Lewis did a great and marvelous
and very necessary job of highlighting the fact this is a civil rights
issue.

DIONNE: That`s right.

WAGNER: And you know, we talk about budgets being moral documents.
You know what else is a moral document? A party platform. We just came
off of a convention in Tampa with a Republican party that has built into
its platform in no uncertain terms, discriminatory policies regarding voter
ID laws, discriminatory immigration laws, and has doubled down on that. We
now have a very sharp contrast in the Democratic Party which is these laws
are wrong, we don`t accept them. They are infringements on basic civil
rights.

SHARPTON: Right. And we have to fight. And I think people -- a lot
of people need to understand. I`ve tried to clarify on this about it on
this national network, too. We`re not talking about people not having ID.
We`re talking about why change the ID people have had. Same ID we`ve used
voting for Bush and Clinton and Reagan, why do we need a different ID now?
It`s not about not having ID. It`s about not having this new ID that
they`re requiring.

WAGNER: It is a systemic disfranchisement of minority voters. That
is all in this.

SHARPTON: And it`s a voting rights issue. And John Lewis is
certainly the one that was there two generations ago to lay it out tonight
was great.

Alex Wagner, E.J. Dionne, stay with me. We`ll talk about President
Clinton`s speech last night and look forward to President Obama`s speech
tonight after the break.

This is a special edition of "Politics Nation" live from the
Democratic convention in Charlotte.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: President Bill Clinton spoke to the nation last night. But
tonight is the night President Obama will come to the platform. Next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: In just a few hours, President Obama will speak to the
Democratic National Convention. Let me tell you, this crowd is ready to
roar when they hear their president later tonight. We saw him last night
moments after Bill Clinton`s speech that absolutely demolished the
Republicans unmasking their phony messages and their mean spirited
policies.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Are we where we
want to be today? No. Is the president satisfied? Of course not. But
are we better off than we were when he took office?

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course we are. It was an economy that was shedding
private sector jobs by the thousands. He stopped that. And then he led us
to 29 straight months of job growth. Romney/Ryan don`t want to talk about
that. They say that`s for a quiet room or something.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: The Romney plan fails the first test of fiscal
responsibility. The numbers just don`t add up. Republican economic
policies quadruple the national debt before I took office in the 12 years
before I took office. And doubled the debt in the eight years after I
left. We simply cannot afford to give the reins of government to someone
who will double down on trickle down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)


SHARPTON: Just like that. Clinton delivered crippling blows to the
Romney/Ryan argument. But he did it with a tone that even left the
secretary of state smiling some 10,000 miles away. He did it with a tone
that showed why he was the perfect surrogate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: I want to nominate a man who`s cool on the outside, but who
burns for America on the inside. By the way, after last night, I want a
man who had the good sense to marry Michelle Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: America wants a man like that too. And tonight they`ll get
him as he delivers his own pitch for a second term.

Back with me now is Alex Wagner host of "Now with Alex Wagner" here on
MSNBC and E.J. Dionne, columnist for the Washington Post and an MSNBC
contributor.

Thanks again for coming and staying with me tonight.

Alex, let me ask you right here this question. Just yesterday Romney
was out slamming President Obama for taking work out of the welfare bill.
Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There`s no question that
President Obama`s decision to say that we`re going to allow waivers or
excuses from work requirements in welfare was designed to shore up part of
his base that may not be inclined to go out and vote in the same kind of
energy and passion as they did four years ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, but President Clinton who signed the welfare act of
`96, he took that on as a ridiculous claim. He went right at it last
night. Listen to President Clinton.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: The claim that President Obama weakened welfare reforms work
requirement is just not true. But they keep on running ads claiming it.
You want to know why? Their campaign pollster said, we are not going to
let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers. Finally I can say that is
true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Alex, how important was it for President Clinton who signed
the welfare reform bill to deal with that issue last night?

WAGNER: Hugely important. Number one because this is a base -- this
is a lie that the Romney campaign has been furthering. There have been
many lies they`re furthering but specifically as it relates to welfare,
what President Obama has done is given states more power. He`s trying to
increase the work requirements by 20 percent. The actual policy is nothing
as the Romney campaign has characterized it.

But, the real issue here is this is the Romney/Ryan bid to get at blue
collar white working class voters. And there is a racial element to this.
It`s a very defensive, us versus them, strategy.

Bill Clinton is an incredible emissary there because he can speak to
that part of the electorate like no one else. Also, he is the guy the
reform welfare. He knows the topic. He knows the subject. And look,
nobody can explain policy like Bill Clinton.

SHARPTON: E.J. Bill Clinton being the one who signed it and can
speak to the white male vote that Mr. Romney is ahead with and clearly
trying to appeal to with this misinformation, how important was it for Bill
Clinton to deal with this directly and will this back the Romney campaign
up from these distorted ads?

DIONNE: Unfortunately, I don`t think it`ll back them off from the
ads. But it does make it more complicated because they`ve used Bill
Clinton in their own ads, which I think is a real mistake. Because now
Bill Clinton can say those ads you have me in just aren`t true. And
Clinton has the standing to say it as the author of welfare reform. It was
his signature of his 1992 campaign.

And as Alex said, he can talk to voters whom President Obama might not
be able to talk to so effectively. I mean, the other thing you`ve got to
say about Clinton is on issue after issue. He can take really complicated
things and without oversimplifying, simplify, make them understandable.
And he really was a professor last night about a really good and folksy
one.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you quickly, E.J. We`re running out of time.
First night, great speech by the first lady. Last night Bill Clinton.
What does the president have to do tonight?

DIONNE: First of all, I actually think it`s good for him because I
don`t think there`s anybody in the country more competitive than Barack
Obama. I think he`s got to do two things. He`s got to talk about what
he`s done, what worked and what needs to be done. But he`s got to be
really specific about the future because Romney left him a huge opening.

That speech that Romney gave was very thin on policy. Conservatives
themselves have said that. That gives the president a chance to say what`s
behind his slogan forward. It is a good slogan. He`s got to tell us what
to move forward to.

SHARPTON: Alex, what does he need to do to close this convention that
has been very inspiring and well done?

WAGNER: He does not need to speak to an empty chair. And he also --
I think he needs to get, as E.J. said, he needs to get specific about some
policy that he wants to enact whether that`s immigration reform, whether
that`s taking a series stab and energy reform whether that is tax reform or
whether that is campaign finance reform. I think America needs to hear the
president say this is what I`m going to do.

SHARPTON: Do you think that at the end of this convention, we saw a
little bump for the Republicans after their convention. If all goes well
tonight as it has gone the last two days, what kind of bump do you think
President Obama will get? E.J., Alex, real quick.

WAGNER: Well, I think the president`s going to come out really strong
tomorrow. More importantly the Democratic Party has masterfully explained
what it believes and what it believes about the American social impact and
that`s good for the country.

SHARPTON: Mr. E.J. Dionne?

DIONNE: Yes. I think Alex is right about the whole ticket. I think
it`s really hard to get a bounce these days because people don`t watch the
convention as much as they used to and partisan said to watch it. But this
is a convention that ought to produce a bounce. And so, we`re going to
test the theory of whether there is one anymore because I think each night
did something different for different groups of owners. And I presume the
president is going to be bouncing himself tonight.

SHARPTON: I think you`re probably right. And I think that they also
-- the country, it was good for the country to see that picture of Bill
Clinton and Barack Obama on stage together whatever differences they`ve
had, they put that aside for the future of this country to move forward.
And I think that you could not get a healthier picture for the party and
the country than the embracing of Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama
last night.

Alex Wagner and E.J. Dionne, thanks.

Up next, I`ll talk to the woman who stared down Rush Limbaugh and she
didn`t blink. Sandra Fluke joins me live fresh off her big speech right
here in Charlotte.

You`re watching a special edition of "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
We`re live from the Democratic convention.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: All right. We`re back with a special edition of "Politics
Nation." and we`re talking to the people. What was your favorite speech of
the convention?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not sure.

SHARPTON: You`re not sure. There were so many.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My favorite was Michelle Obama and I had two,
can I tell you two? The other was Bill Clinton.

SHARPTON: Bill Clinton and Michelle Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

SHARPTON: Where are you from?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m from Charlotte.

SHARPTON: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How you doing?

SHARPTON: Are you fired up and ready to go?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fired up and ready to go. I`m ready to go, Al. I
like that part of what you said - we got keep them straight.

SHARPTON: Tell me what you think is the most important thing. Have
you been watching the convention the whole time? What impressed you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Bill Clinton`s speech. It was amazing.

SHARPTON: Why was it amazing?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because he said the truth. And because it
touched the people.

SHARPTON: All right. How you doing? How much are you looking
forward to the president? What do you want to hear from the president
tonight?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want him to encourage everybody to get
out and vote and remind us he can`t do this alone. That we have to help
him. And get involved and everybody get registered to vote and get out and
vote.

SHARPTON: Do you think the president deserves four more years?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He asked me do I think the president deserves four
more years? Of course!

SHARPTON: Why do you think he deserves four more years?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think he has done a fantastic job as our
president. And I feel like that he`s just got us out of the ditch the
Republicans put us in. And it`s going to take at least four more years to
put it back on track.

SHARPTON: All right. All right. Are you better off today than you
were four years ago?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Why are you better off than four years ago?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because President Obama`s in office and it`s
going to get better.

SHARPTON: It is going to get better? Do you think if he gets back in
four more years he will be able to finish the job?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: All right. Are your neighbors and relatives fired up?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, they were fired up.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are fired up and ready to go. Get out and
vote. No matter what, vote.

SHARPTON: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is what democracy looks like. This is what
democracy looks like.

SHARPTON: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m from San Antonio and --

SHARPTON: How did you like Mayor Castro?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I was so proud of Mayor Castro. His fans need to
get on the Democratic Party and turn that state blue.

SHARPTON: All right.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

You`re a young voter. Are young people going to come out and vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, they are.

SHARPTON: Why are young people coming out and vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Obama all day.

SHARPTON: All day?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

SHARPTON: And let me look, you got on an Obama t-shirt. How old are
you?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m 17.

SHARPTON: You`re 17?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes.

SHARPTON: But you can vote next year. But you`re wearing and
advertising this year.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s important that other people go out and vote.
Even though we can`t vote we can still put our word and influence out
there.

SHARPTON: All right. You heard him. We young folks got to vote.

All right. I`m going to be right back. Stay tuned. POLITICS NATION,
we`re live with the people at the Democratic National Convention. How you
doing?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back live at the Democratic Convention in Charlotte,
North Carolina. Last night, the convention was all about celebrating the
people who have been bravely fighting the battles for women all year.
Adding her voice was Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown law student who famously
was attacked by Rush Limbaugh for standing up for women. Last night she
thanked the President for standing up for her.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SANDRA FLUKE, WOMEN`S RIGHTS ACTIVIST: An America in which our
President when he hears that a young woman has been verbally attacked
thinks of his daughters, not his delegates or his donors.

(CHEERING)

And then instead of trying to silence her, you invite me here.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But on the heels of her speech, conservatives are showing
they haven`t learned a thing. Their tweets were disgraceful. Michelle
Malkin wrote me, me, me, me, me, me. Free, free, free, free. BC evil GOP.

Todd Kincannon tweeted, "Sandra Fluke, I am woman hear me whine."

And Ann Coulter added, "Sandra wants taxpayers to pay for her tanning
appointments."

Fighting for women`s rights is whining? Health care is no more
important than getting a tan? The right`s words are hateful and their
ideas are wrong. They just don`t get it.

Joining me now live from inside the convention hall is Sandra Fluke.
Thanks for being here, Miss Fluke. Let me ask you. We talked earlier
today, but are you surprised by the right wing`s reaction to your speech
last night?

FLUKE: You know, it`s unfortunate. I would hope that we would do
better than this in our political discourse in this country, but, you know,
if you`re not being attacked for something, if you`re not being criticized
then you`re not standing up for anything. And in my life, I stand up for
what I believe in. So, I`m not going to focus on them. I`m going to focus
on re-electing this President.

SHARPTON: Well, you brought up Governor Romney`s silence in the face
of the attacks of your character last night. Watch this part of your
speech.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FLUKE: Your new president could be a man who stands by when a public
figure tries to silence a private citizen with hateful slurs.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

A man who won`t stand up to those slurs or to any of the extreme
bigoted voices in his own party.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, do you think, Sandra, that voters will distinguish
Romney/Ryan from the other voices on the right or do you think they will
not make that distinction?

FLUKE: Well, what I think is important is that what we`ve seen from
Mr. Romney is that he`s not able or not willing to stand up to those voices
on the right. We`ve repeatedly seen decisions throughout his campaign that
he is beholden to or in lock step with the most extreme voices in his
party. And that is not leadership. And that is not what we need from a
president.

SHARPTON: Now, the Romney/Ryan ticket has anti-women policies when it
comes to reproductive rights they support a person hood law that would ban
all abortions.

FLUKE: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And that would also ban most birth control. And they`d
defund Planned Parenthood.

FLUKE: That`s right. And that person hood bill which Mr. Ryan
cosponsored, it would also criminalize many aspects of in vitro
fertilization. And what I think it`s really important that everyone shares
with the folks that they talk to is that when we`re talking about defunding
Planned Parenthood, we`re talking about cutting funds for breast cancer
screenings, for cervical cancer screenings, for prenatal care. Because the
federal government only funds very limited abortions in the case of rape or
incest or the life of a mother. So those federal government funds that are
being cut are for women`s health care in a whole host of areas.

SHARPTON: Now, Ryan has been trying to back track on his position
that his authoring and cosponsoring legislation. Do you think he`s
succeeding or do you think people understand his record as far as women`s
issues are concerned?

FLUKE: Well, a wise woman, Lilly Ledbetter, actually told me that
it`s not important what you hear from a politician when they`re under
political fire, when they`re being criticized. It`s important what`s in
their record. So, Mr. Ryan cannot run from his record.

SHARPTON: Wow! Talking about records, women at the DNC made a strong
case to re-elect President Obama. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: President Obama
understands women. He trusts women. And on every single issue that
matters to us, he stands with women.

NANCY KEENAN, PRESIDENT, NARAL PRO-CHOICE AMERICA: We cannot trust
Mitt Romney to respect our rights.

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: He believes that women are more than
capable of making our own choices about our bodies and our health care.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

That`s what my husband stands for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Do you think the case was strong enough for women voters on
behalf of the President, Sandra?

FLUKE: You know, the President makes it easy to make a case to women
voters for him. Because he`s been a consistent champion of the issues that
we care about. And that`s what Cecile laid out, what`s Nancy Keenan talked
about, the case that I tried to make. And it`s just so fabulous to see
women responding to him this way.

SHARPTON: Well, and you make it easy for all us to stand with a young
courageous woman like you.

FLUKE: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Sandra, thank you for your time.

FLUKE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, I`ll talk to two of the most important -- in
America about what it takes to mobilize the base and what really matters in
this election. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Up next, a sneak preview at President Obama`s remarks
tonight. He calls the election quote, the clearest choice of any time in a
generation. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re getting our first look at what President Obama`s
going to say in his speech tonight. The campaign just released excerpts
and he`s going to lay out some very specific goals. His plan would reduce
the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next decade. It would create
one million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016. And it would train
two million workers for real jobs at community colleges. That`s what the
President will outline tonight for the American people.

Joining me now is Randi Weingarten, president of the American
Federation of Teachers. And George Gresham, president of the 1199SEIU, the
largest health care workers union in the country. And he`s the largest
local in the world.

GEORGE GRESHAM, PRESIDENT, 1199SEIU: All right.

SHARPTON: Thank you both for joining me. Randi, what do you think
about those goals from the President?

RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Look,
it`s great that the President is taking as Michelle Obama said on Monday,
his values and translating it into action. And the only reason he can do
that is because he spent the last four years with all of us creating a
foundation from what was the worst recession since the great depression.

SHARPTON: George, he says -- let me read one of the excerpts. He
says, "I won`t pretend I`m offering a quick or easy path. I never have.
You didn`t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to
tell you the truth. And the truth is it will take more than a few years
for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades."

GRESHAM: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Is America ready for straight talk, George?

GRESHAM: I absolutely think we are. I think the President is saying
that we didn`t get into this overnight. We`re not going to get into it
overnight. But he has a plan to get us out of it. The difference in what
the President is proposing and what Mitt Romney has not yet spoken on what
he`s going to do is tremendous. The President stands up for the working
people. Mitt Romney stands up for the one percent. It is as clear as
that.

SHARPTON: He also gives this challenge. He says, and I`m reading an
excerpt. "But know this America, our problems can be solved. Our
challenges can be met. The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a
better place. And I`m asking you to choose that future." Is that the tone
we need to have set for people leaving this convention and go out into the
fields to do the work?

WEINGARTEN: Absolutely -- well, absolutely. You`re hearing it from
the people. Because we know -- we know that when we are all part of shared
opportunity, we are part of shared prosperity. It is not enough that some
people have made more money in the last few years than ever before. What
we need to do is recreate an enduring middle class for all the people who
live and work in America.

(CHEERING)

We need -- this is -- we are about -- our party is about all, not
about some. Our party is about us doing it together. Not about people
being on their own. Our party is to take individual action, individual
entrepreneurship and make it about shared opportunity and prosperity.

(CHEERING)

SHARPTON: George, what will it take, what must be done to assure
victory for the President in November?

GRESHAM: Well, you know what? It`s good for us to get excited about
speeches. It`s good for us to get happy about the chance that we have a
real alternative. But we got to do the work. When we leave here, we got
to get out and we got to get those and say there`s no difference. We have
to explain to them in a way that they understand. They must be out of
their mind to think that we can win this election without them. We need to
participate.

Sisters and brothers all around the country, working people. If you
really care about the difference, don`t just talk the talk. You got to get
out and walk the walk. You got to do the vote. You got to vote. You got
to make sure you tell your neighbors to vote. Tell your church to vote.
Tell your schools to vote. And if your children are old enough, tell them
to vote. That`s going to be the difference between today and now.

(CHEERING)

SHARPTON: Randi, you have the American Federation of Teachers. If
you look at the Ryan budget on education, you cut the education program by
18 percent. Program like Pell grants and Head Start. If Romney and Ryan
win, what will that do to education in this country?

WEINGARTEN: It will hugely hurt the kids that need the investment the
most. What we know is that when we give kids particularly poor kids and
one out of four kids in the United States of America are poor. When we
give them an early start, when we give them pre-k education, we level the
playing field for them. We make it -- there`s proof about this. Everybody
knows this. So when Ryan and Romney say they are cutting them out, what
they`re really saying is that only some kids, not all kids, should get a
chance for success.

GRESHAM: That`s right.

WEINGARTEN: And what President Clinton said yesterday in supporting
the nomination of the re-election of Barack Obama, he said that our country
succeeds when we are about all children. When we are about all workers.
We see that when we say let`s make sure that all kids get a great shot.
That`s what created a great middle class. And that`s what we have to do in
terms of the day-to-day work we do with the American voters. Isn`t it
better to spend some money to ensure that all kids get a decent pre-k, get
a shot at college, than spend four or five or ten times as much on prison?

SHARPTON: George, how do we deal with some that are not to the level
of enthusiasm that we want. We`re looking at the polls, it says, 62
percent of registered Republicans are extremely or very enthusiastic to
vote. Only 56 percent of Democrats. How do we raise that?

GRESHAM: Yes. We have to leave here. One, I think it begins with
the President`s speech this evening. I think that people will get excited
about that. People will understand at that point what the difference is.
But we have to talk to people. We have to get them excited about the
choices they have or they don`t have. Rev, if these people don`t get out
and vote, their children, the people that they care about the most, the
reason we all work, will not have a future in this country. If you can`t
get excited about your children and your future, then you might as well die
right now because you`re dead. We need it right now.

WEINGARTEN: I think we have to -- look. People are very anxious in
our country because we faced the worst recession since the great depression
and not everybody has come back. The rich have come back. But not
everyone has come back. And we need to actually as teachers, as hospital
workers, as reverends, if we really believe this about having a better
country, we need to make sure we talk to the American people about what
happened before and what the President has done thus far and will do.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s what it`s going to be. Wherever you work,
wherever you live, wherever you play, we need everyone`s hands on deck.
Get -- daddy and everybody. We got to vote.

Randi Weingarten, George Gresham, thank you for your time tonight.
We`ll be right back with my parting thoughts from this convention. Just
about three hours from President Obama`s big speech to the country. You`re
watching POLITICS NATION live from Charlotte here on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re just moments away from MSNBC`s special coverage of
the Democratic Convention. In just about three hours away from President
Obama taking that stage, the main event. But already this has been a great
convention for the Democratic Party and for progressive policy. What a
contrast to last week`s republican costume party where they dressed up and
pretended to be reasonable, pretended to be caring and competent.

But they hardly mentioned policy or Afghanistan or Mitt Romney for
that matter. Here in Charlotte, there is a wonderful energy. You can see
it in the smiles on people`s faces. You can feel the energy of the crowd,
their passion, their enthusiasm, their commitment to win this election.
And you can hear it in the voices of the speakers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We in our diversity and our differences are all in
this together. When I say we, I`m not talking about anything except all of
America.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It`s time for Democrats to grow a backbone and
stand up for what we believe.

ELIZABETH WARREN (D), U.S. SENATE CANDIDATE: Corporations are not
people. People have hearts. They have kids. They get jobs. They get
sick. They cry. They dance. They live. They love. And they die. And
that matters.

(CHEERING)

OBAMA: We must once again come together and stand together for the
man we can trust to keep moving this great country forward. My husband,
our President, Barack Obama.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Keep this great country moving forward. That`s what this
election is all about. Soon it will be the President`s turn to make his
case to get rehired. As I`ve said many times on this show, it`s not even a
close call. Of course he should be rehired. Romney and wrong way Ryan?
No. I don`t think so. So, it`s to the President tonight to remind voters
that only together we can change America for the better.

He`s done it before, and I know he can do it again. And then it will
be to all of us to get involved, put our shoulders to the wheel, and work
hard every day until Election Day. I`m ready to work. Are you?

(CROWD YELLING YES)

We`re ready to make America work. Are you? I hope our friends down
in Tampa look at Charlotte. This is what America looks like.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

SHARPTON: Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. MSNBC`s special
coverage of the Democratic National Convention starts now.

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY
BE UPDATED.
END

Transcription Copyright 2012 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of
litigation.>

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,