updated 9/17/2012 12:06:56 PM ET 2012-09-17T16:06:56

POLITICS NATION
September 14, 2012

Guests: Frank Schaeffer, Ana-Marie Cox, Joe Madison


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

Tonight`s lead, four fallen American heroes return home. A
heartbreaking and solemn scene today at Andrews` air force base. Four
caskets draped with American flags came off the plane preparing for their
final resting place, the caskets carrying patriots are who lost their lives
in the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya this week.

President Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton honoring the
lives of ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone
Woods. The president talked about their great sacrifice and made it clear
they would never be forgotten.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Four Americans, four
patriots, they loved this country and they chose to serve it and served it
well. They had a mission and they believed in it. They knew the danger
and they accepted it. They didn`t simply embrace the American ideal, they
lived it. They embodied it. The courage, the hope, and, yes, the
idealism, that fundamental American belief that we can leave this world a
little better than before. That`s who they were and that`s who we are.
And if we want to truly honor their memory, it`s who we must always be.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We must believe as these men did that we can lead this
world a little better despite our grief.

Secretary of state Clinton made it clear our mission is to honor these
men and their legacy, united as Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HILLARY CLINTON, SECRETARY OF STATE: They help make the United States
the greatest force for peace, progress, and human dignity the world has
ever known. If the last few days teach us anything, let it be this, that
this work and the men and women who risk their lives to do it are at the
heart of what makes America great and good. So we will wipe away our
tears, stiffen our spines and face the future undaunted and we will do it
together, protecting and helping one another just like Sean, Tyrone, Glen,
and Chris always did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The secretary of state wants us to remember these American
heroes, as a country united, facing a future together. Its leadership and
strength we need at this time in our history.

Today, anti-American protests are spreading across the globe, through
Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. It is a tense scene across the region
and today we`re getting our first look at the scene of the attack inside
the U.S. consulate in Libya. Awful images of where the four Americans were
killed. Without question, the turmoil is that in that region is a major
issue in this country, a serious challenge that calls for all of us to be
sober and unified as Americans.

And that`s why the political gains that the Romney campaign pulled
this week were so off key and so wrong. They came before anyone knew the
facts, is now the least of it that we are now dealing with the acrimony
back and forward.

Because even today, Governor Romney repeated his ugly and fault claims
that President Obama sympathized with those that attacked our embassy. But
isn`t it just Romney, it`s the party he now leads, if that`s the right word
for it.

A conservative radio host received cheers for standing behind Romney`s
statements. Senator John McCain attacked the president, questioning his
leadership today. This is a stark contrast to what our president was doing
today and doing this week. He`s been trying to bring Americans together
and do his job as our commander in chief.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Even as voices of suspicion and mistrust seek to divide
countries and cultures from one another, the United States of America will
never retreat from the world. We will never stop working for the dignity
and freedom that every person deserves. Whatever their creed, whatever
their faith. That`s the essence of American leadership. That`s the spirit
that sets us apart from other nations. This was their work in Benghazi and
this is the work we will carry on.

Most of all, even in our grief, we will resolute for we are Americans
and we hold our head high knowing that because of these patriots, because
of you, this country that we love will always shine as a light onto the
world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Shine as a light onto the world. As I watched the
president and secretary of state today, I thought about leadership at its
best is when you can do what is right and strong for the people you lead
and not respond or be bathed into those that would belittle and in many
ways diminish the significance of what is before us. I think the president
and secretary of state showed leadership by staying above the politics no
matter how ugly and nasty and off key it was and putting their lives and
legacies of those four men and their families as the priority to the
American public.

Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC
news political analyst and Krystal Ball, co-host of "the Cycle" here on
MSNBC.

Let me thank of you for being here tonight.

ED RENDELL (D), FORMER GOVERNOR, PENNSYLVANIA: My pleasure.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Governor, this was a somber day and I, for the life of me,
I can`t express how important I think it important to the president and
secretary of state maintain that while even today there was no moratorium
on the political opposition trying to politicize this and demagogue it.

RENDELL: Well Rev., it won`t work because President Obama and
Secretary Clinton showed incredible grace under pressure, grace under fire.
Early on the night that it happened and Secretary Clinton said we must
remain clear eyed in our grief, and that got it right.

This is a complicated world. Things happen for not one single reason.
It`s so complicated that it`s important to wait until all of the facts are
sorted out and that`s what secretary Clinton and President Obama have done.
I can think of no two cooler, smarter, more well-oriented and well-grounded
people to run our foreign affairs than the two of them. And when you
contrast it to the Romney campaign, which not only jumped the gun on 9/11,
but has made political statements in the midst of a growing and barging in
world crisis when it is important or the United States to speak with one
voice. But worst of all, the Romney campaign again, as they have in many
other instances, like with the welfare ad and Medicare story, they lined to
the American people.

Governor Romney made it sound like the original statement, which was
put out by the embassy, was a statement that was put out after the violence
that had occurred. In fact, it was a preemptive statement several hours
before the violence trying to calm the situation by saying that the United
States respects all religions, that we have Muslim Americans who we value
and cherish and that that film was important to all freedom loving and
decency loving people in the world.

That was a good and proper statement to get out there as a preemptive
strike. But governor Romney made it sound and Senator Portman was on TV
yesterday, they made it sound like that was our first response after the
violence had occurred. Of course it wasn`t. After the violence occurred,
Secretary Clinton and the president were strong in their condemnation,
strong in their clear thought that we would -- when we found the
appropriate people, we would take the appropriate action. So, again, it`s
their campaign, not only politicizing --

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

RENDELL: But lying about it.

SHARPTON: No. And Krystal that is what strikes me. It`s one thing
and in my opinion it`s very bad to disrespect, disregard the gravity of
this moment and the burgeoning crisis. It was another to lie.

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: But today on ABC today, while the bodies were coming back,
Mitt Romney was on and he refused to back down off his controversial
statement about the embassy in Cairo and he said, in fact, that the White
House agreed with him. Watch this. This is today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What I said was exactly the
same conclusion that the White House reached, which was that the statement
was inappropriate. That`s why they backed away from it as well.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: They didn`t say that it was showing
sympathy for the attackers.

ROMNEY: He will, I think the statement was inappropriate statement.
I think it was not directly applicable and appropriate for the setting. I
think it should have been taken down and apparently the White House felt
the same way.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So no regrets.

ROMNEY: Well, I indicated as the time continued to that what was said
at that time was not appropriate, that they continued to have that --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: What he said at that time was wrong. He said that they
were sympathizing with the attackers and there had been no attack yet. And
he refused today to back down and correct the fact that he said that they
were sympathizing well terrorists, Krystal.

BALL: That`s absolutely right. I mean, it`s one thing you could
almost forgive someone for making a mistake the first time out. But the
inability to come back and apologize and say we got it wrong and then put
out the proper statement and strike the proper tone is what has really been
lacking this week.

And I`ll say, before the crisis this week, there were a lot of
questions being raised to Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney about the details of
their economic plans, the fact that it didn`t add up, that they hadn`t told
the American people what they actual leap wanted to do with the economy.
And now I think what we`re seeing this week is that their foreign policy
also doesn`t add up.

They have a lot of tough talk. They like to pretend that they have,
you know, a tougher stance than the president and the world would be a
better place if they were in office. But, you ask them the details of that
policy, they can`t fill in the blanks. They don`t know where they are
headed in foreign policy and their tough talk, which we heard during the
Bush years, has caused a whole lot of trouble in the world.

So, I think the American people have seen, not only that he jump the
gun, not only was he unwilling and unable to correct that problem. But
when it comes down to it, he doesn`t know where he stands in the world and
there are no details there for the American people to grasp.

SHARPTON: Now, governor Rendell, we heard today from Richard
Williamson, one of Romney`s closest advisers on foreign policy, and he the
ambassador who served under George W. Bush. He really, really got ugly.
He said, and I`m quoting here, "there`s a pretty compelling story that you
had a president Romney, you`d be in a different situation. The president
can`t even keep track of who`s an ally or not. This is amateur hour. It`s
amateur hour."

John McCain also blamed this on the president`s leadership and blamed
the crisis in the Middle East on the president. Let me play this to you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: In the long term, everything is
unraveling in that part of the world because the United States is weak.
This president does not understand the importance of American leadership
and he continues to want to, in his own words, lead from behind.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at Williamson`s statement, governor, and
McCain`s, like the president in some way was weak and caused the kind of
attack and was able -- we`re weak and therefore people feel that they can
do things to us. But the fact is, Governor, there were 12 attacks under
George Bush, 12 embassy attacks during the presidency of George Bush, not
to mention 9/11 where they came into the country and attacked.

So, you know, they are saying that George Bush was weak, I mean, this
is absolutely ludicrous to say that President Obama in some way is
responsible for the crime that led to the attacks when, in fact, their own
Republican president, his predecessor, there were 12 embassy attacks under
his presidency.

RENDELL: Well, sure there is. But, they are accusing a president who
took out Osama bin Laden, who has had more successful drone attacks than
ever in the country`s history, who has used the American armed forces to
essentially bring al-Qaeda to its knees? They are accusing him of being
weak in they are accusing the Obama administration of amateur hour?

Amateur hour is Mitt Romney going to Europe and sticking his foot in
his mouth three times in a row in three consecutive days. Amateur hour is
making a statement in the midst of the tragedy where four Americans were
killed that was factually incorrect and refusing to correct that line
later. Amateur hour is making shoot from the hip statements about foreign
affairs.

Look, foreign affairs are complicated. It`s difficult to sort out
what`s happening. We always must make sure that if we are going to be
strong, we are strong against the right people. And as secretary Clinton
said, no matter what the situation is, we must be clear eyed, we must wait
until we get all of the facts and then we act and act resolutely. And I
can guarantee the people watching us today and the American people, that
when the facts are in and we know who is responsible for this, the Obama
administration will help bring them to justice.

SHARPTON: Krystal Ball and Governor Ed Rendell, thank you for your
time tonight.

And don`t forget to catch Krystal on "the cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, these words actually came out of Governor Romney`s mouth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The challenge that I`ll have in the debate is that the
president tends to -- how shall I say it -- say things that aren`t true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Did he say that with a straight face?

And the birthers are still at it. First he sympathizes with
terrorists. And now an informal Romney adviser is taking birther
accusations so seriously that he might kick President Obama off the ballot.
Didn`t we already settle this?

And, we`ve got breaking news out of Wisconsin tonight. Huge news on
Scott Walker`s collective bargaining law.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Breaking news tonight.

A Wisconsin judge has struck down key parts of the anti-union law
spearheaded by Republican governor Scott Walker. The judge says the law
violates both the state and U.S. constitution and is null and void. The
Associated Press reports it`s not yet clear if the law immediately suspends
the law, but a Walker spokesperson says they will appeal.

John Nichols from "the Nation" magazine says the ruling will affect
tens of thousands of Wisconsinites. The stood collective bargaining rights
for most public workers sparked massive protest and a recall of Governor
Walker. This ruling comes after a lawsuit brought by teachers and city
workers in Milwaukee. It`s a big development and big rebuke to anti-union
forces in the GOP. We`ll be watching it closely and we will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: When I was growing up back in Brooklyn, I see kids get
called out for something they definitely did. And the only defense was to
turn around and accuse other folks of doing the exact same thing. That`s
what Mitt Romney`s doing right now. The man who`s running the most fact-
free campaign in modern history is now accusing President Obama of twisting
the truth.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The challenge that I`ll have in the debate is that the
president tends to, how shall I say it? Say things that aren`t true in
attacking his opponents. I`ve looked at prior debates and in that kind of
case it`s difficult to say, well, am I going to spend my time correcting
things that aren`t quite accurate or am I going to spend my time talking
about things that I want to talk about?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I can`t believe what I`m hearing. Romney has been
misleading by example this entire campaign. His own pollster said, quote
"we are not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers. And
now he`s accusing President Obama of not telling the truth? As Bill
Clinton said last week, it takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what
you did.

Joining me now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of the "Melissa Harris-
Perry show" here on MSNBC and E.J. Dionne, columnist for the "Washington
Post" an MSNBC contributor.

Thanks to both of you for being on the show tonight.

E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Melissa, hasn`t Romney`s fact-free approach have been a
huge fraud of the fumbles this on the Middle East attacks he has made?

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST, MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY SHOW: Well you
know, certainly there`s two pieces of it. One is sort of just the
inability of have a governing mindset right, which says when there is a
world crisis you pause first. You engage in finding out what the facts
even are. You remember that as Reagan said, the politics only go to the
water`s edge and then once we get to the edge of our country, we are all
Americans, right? So that`s part of it.

But then, the other part of it has been within the domestic politics
of the campaign, the willingness of both the Romney and Ryan candidacies to
simply distort to present their own records as something that is
inaccurate, something that isn`t true and then, consistently to distort
President Obama`s record.

SHARPTON: Now, E.J., it`s not only limited to this week as Melissa
said, they distort the record. Let me play for you some information about
the president`s campaign that Mr. Romney has said in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m going to make this very clear. Unlike President Obama, I
will not raise taxes on the middle class of American.

The president is taking the work requirement out of welfare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boo.

ROMNEY: Yes.

He said, you know, if you had a business, you didn`t build it.
Someone else did that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So raise taxes on the middle class, taking the work
requirement out of welfare, you`ve got a business you didn`t build it, none
of which the president did or said, E.J.

DIONNE: Well, right. I think if you had a buzzer on this show you
could play it after every single one of those. You go back to this week,
at the very heart of Romney`s argument this week was this idea that the
administration apologized, apologized somehow on this terrible incident at
the embassy. They didn`t apologize for America. He didn`t.

If you go back to the statement they like to point to, it was actually
a statement where President Obama was saying to the Europeans, hey, wait a
minute, we make some mistakes but you guys can be reflective un-American.
So, he was actually challenging Europeans there.

And then, this whole issue just showed on welfare and the other
issues, those are flatly untrue. So I do -- I was as surprised as anyone
when Mitt Romney said what he said about the debates. And I can only think
that this is about working the rafts or working out some strategy if he
doesn`t manage to respond to attacks that turn out to be true.

SHARPTON: And you know, Melissa, it was interesting. The American
people already have shown their view in a CNN ORC poll, when the question
was raise, who is more honest and trustworthy, 53 percent said President
Obama, 39 percent say Mitt Romney. So, that`s a huge gap of Americans that
feel the president is more honest.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, right. And Romney knows that he`s going into
these three debates that are going to largely determine the election
season. He knows that he has never consistently led the president in
public opinion polls. He know that the new public opinions polls are
showing gaps in the president`s favor in all of the key swing states,
certainly enough for President Obama to win this election.

And so, what does he have to do? Well, you know as we might say in
among my friends, he`s got to throw shade, right? He has got to throw
shade like a big old beach umbrella and make it seem as though the words
that President Obama is going to say in these debates are suspect from the
beginning. He has to make Americans believe that this president is
inherently dishonest and therefore when he has trouble meeting sort of the
challenges that will emerged in the debates, he can say well, this guy just
is dishonest.

SHARPTON: Well, he`s going to have a problem with that, E.J., because
in a Pew research poll with "the Washington Post," 42 percent of words
chosen when people were surveyed about Romney were negative. Liar, out of
touch, arrogant, fake. These are words 42 percent of those surveyed
connected to or said about Mr. Romney. He`s got his work cut out for him
and only three debates.

DIONNE: Right. Well, I think what you`ve seen this week is Romney
being very aware, number one, that the election is not going his way.
President Obama got some kind of bounce out of these conventions and he`s
ahead in the key battleground states. So Romney knows that he needs to
shapes things up and that he has two weaknesses have been highlighted out
there. One is that the Americans, by substantial numbers, trust President
Obama more on foreign policy than they trust him. So he decided to take
this flyer, I think a reckless statement, on the Libyan tragedy and now the
Republicans came in for a lot of criticism from nonpartisan sources on the
lack of truth, let us say, of certain charges named at the Republican
convention.

And so his way to counter that is to come right out and say, well
actually, it`s President Obama who has the problem with truth. I think
what you`re seeing is a campaign that knows things are not going its way.
And so, they are hitting out hoping that they can change the direction of
the election.

SHARPTON: Yes. It`s called desperation. But you know, Melissa, when
whoever is elected president is also the commander in chief. And we
started the program tonight talking about the fact that you have four
Americans that died in the line of duty.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And you would think that the commander in chief, as he did,
and the secretary of state he appointed and who aspires to be that would
put everything aside to respect that because there is no more serious
obligation you have as commander in chief than to deal with someone under
your leadership that actually lost their lives.

HARRIS-PERRY: The distinction between President Obama, and I would
include secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration, and
Mitt Romney as a candidate and the Romney campaign, the distinction could
not have been made more stark and more clear than in this moment.

And you know, I think for me the thing that is most disappointing is
because of his reaction, because of his behavior towards the president, we
now are having a conversation about Mitt Romney. This is a serious issue
internationally.

SHARPTON: And it`s growing.

HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. This is what we need to be talking b
he`s distracting us.

SHARPTON: That`s exactly right.

E.J. Dionne, Melissa Harris-Perry, thanks to both of you for your
time.

And be sure to watch Melissa Harris-Perry on Saturdays and Sundays at
10:00 a.m. right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, a Romney adviser goes birther. You won`t believe what he`s
trying to do in Kansas.

And Paul Ryan trying to hide his true values. But the truth came out
today and he didn`t have to talk.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Mitt Romney and the birther movement, they are back, it`s
ugly and it`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, conservatives gathered in Washington for the annual
values voter summit where they reaffirm their traditional values and toss
red meat out to their base. And the big headliner today, none other than
the GOP vice presidential nominee, Paul Ryan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAUL RYAN (R), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It has a nice ring. For
everyone who loves this country.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Listen to those cheers. The crowd loves him. He`s their
guy but that genius smile doesn`t tell the full story of Paul Ryan or his
extreme policies on social issues, or the company he keeps. He was joined
on that stage today by Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul, Steve King, Tony
Perkins, a celebration of right-wing views out of the mainstream. Anti-
women, anti-immigrant, anti-gay.

While Paul Ryan tried to underplay his extreme social views today, key
allies of his and Governor Romney in the swing state of Virginia, removing
to restrict the woman`s right to choose. The state up held regulations
that could force many women`s health clinics to shut their doors. These
are the real values he stands for. Just because he didn`t say it, doesn`t
mean he doesn`t believe it. Watch what they do, not just what they say.

Joining me now is Frank Schaeffer, columnist for "The Huffington Post"
and author of "Crazy for God" and Ana-Marie Cox, Washington correspondent
for "The Guardian." Thanks for joining me.

ANA-MARIE COX, CORRESPONDENT, "THE GUARDIAN": Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ana Marie, let me start with you. Paul Ryan is hiding his
views it seems. You know, he didn`t go into a lot of detail today but
clearly being at this conference stating the views of his, let`s say, the
crowd of speakers that were with him, and what he`s advocated before
clearly is a very open confirmation of some of the most conservative social
views on the political landscape today.

COX: It`s true. Paul Ryan is actually pretty far off of the
mainstream when it comes to his social views and at least we know that
about him, I have to say. Like that`s something in the past he`s actually
been pretty open about it, vocal about, and I`m sure that the reason why
Paul Ryan was in front of that crowd today is because the Romney campaign
is quite sure that he will get a welcome embrace.

The question here, though, is why -- Paul Ryan accept, because they
know that Christian right likes Paul Ryan. They know that in general, they
don`t like Romney. But they are supposed to be pivoting to, you know,
independent voters right now. They are supposed to be pivoting to
mainstream voters whose issues are not the same issues, that the value
voters want to talk about and want to cheer about. To me this is almost
campaign malpractice, to put your main surrogate, the Vice President in
front of the crowd that is -- who`s values are so far divergent from
mainstream America.

SHARPTON: Well, let me go to you in a minute, Frank. Frank, if today
he talked about, you know, big government. He talked about things that you
may go to independent voters but he was talking at this kind of conference
and these are the kinds of things not only they believe but let`s look at
what he has said and what he believes in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Planned Parenthood, I`m just not for federal planning of
abortions.

I supported the Wisconsin amendment to define marriage between a man
and a woman. The Dream Act as noble as some of those ideas are, it`s kind
of two wrongs trying to make a right. It`s really not about contraception.
It`s about violating our first amendment rights to religious freedom of
conscience. It`s mandating that everybody pay for everyone else`s free
birth control and contraception.

"Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell," I -- to the issue but I just don`t think in
the middle of combat that that was going to work and that was --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Frank, you come from the evangelical community. You
know that right-wing community. Why is Paul Ryan hiding? Why wasn`t he
talking all of this today?

FRANK SCHAEFFER, COLUMNIST, "THE HUFFINGTON POST": Well, you know,
the Romney campaign is playing a double game but they seem to have
forgotten they live in a media age with folks like you around who actually
play back their words to them a few minutes after they say them. So, they
have a kind of a political amnesia when it suits them. You know, let me
say just something very clearly, as someone who is a Christian, there is a
big difference between the God nuts that have taking over the Republican
Party and now are running the show, and mainstream religious America.

There are a lot of progressive religious people out there. There is a
movie opening this week nationwide called hell bound which looks into the
God nuts and their views of the laws. And so, the paradigm you have to
understand is the far Christian right divides the whole world into lost and
save, real Americans like us and everybody else. And they apply this to
politics.

So, when Ryan gets in front of them, he talks in coded messages that
says, hey listen, guys, wink, wink, nod, nod, I can`t say this stuff right
now to you because it will get our campaign in trouble. But, you know, I`m
on your side, and of course, it all falls apart when you play it back
because you can`t get away with two-timing these issues.

SHARPTON: And I think it`s important, Frank, we`ve point out that
it`s not that Christians and our ministers don`t have firm beliefs, but we
also have tolerance in what they are doing is intolerant and hateful in
many ways.

SCHAEFFER: Well, Ryan has turned the Christian message on its head.
His truth says, Ayn Rand, and he believes in a scorched earth policy where
people who don`t make it economically are the dirt under your finger nails
and you basically just have to put up with them because you need drones and
laborers and that`s Ayn Rand`s view of the world. And that the rich are
somehow superheroes like him who are supposed to be worship.

But you know, his pretty boy, boy scout all-American rubric (ph) is
going to fall apart here because when his base, these Christian
conservatives really look at what he believes about Ayn Rand who is a
Christ hater and an anti-Christian person to their core, or when they look
at Mitt Romney and realize his lack of patriotism and being willing to feed
the flames of worldwide revolt against the United States interests because
of this stupid 14-minute clip that got put on YouTube, you know, these guys
are playing a very dirty game.

Romney is a liar and believes nothing and if I could put it this way,
he believes nothing and his running mate believes too many things. Ayn
Rand, Jesus, you know, scorched-earth economic policies, he`s the real
thing. We have a weird combo here.

SHARPTON: Now, Ana Marie, one of the things that was interesting
today is Mr. Ryan`s backers. While he didn`t say much about his own social
conservative policies, check out, look at this. Check out the wall behind
Ryan. Those names behind him, the backers of the conference, the American
Family Association, they oppose same-sex marriage, anti-Muslim and preaches
religious intolerance and promotes ex-guy therapy to cure homosexuality.

Then there`s Jerry Falwell`s Liberty University which is not employed
teachers or accepts students who are homosexual. The Liberty Counsel
supports "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell," is against same-sex marriage, civil
unions and adoptions by homosexuals and, of course, the host of the summit,
the Family Research Council. They oppose and lobby against LGBT rights,
abortion, divorce, and embryonic stem cell research. So, you know, if you
just look at the picture, it`s worth a thousand definitions of the
companies and sponsors that he was speaking for.

COX: It`s true. The values that the value voters stand for are not
the values that most Christians probably would like to preach, nor most
Americans. I mean, this is a very small sliver, not just of evangelicals
Christians but also of, you know, and not just the American population but
also Republicans. You know, most Republicans, as study shows or I should
say, surveys show us, are not that intolerant about guy marriage, are not
that intolerant about "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell," have very much more generous
attitudes about welfare than the voters or the values voters that at this
conference here.

It is really a mystery to me why the Romney campaign continues to
pander to them. I know that Paul Ryan was speaking in code and did not
talk about his own extreme values so much when he talked today but he is
implicitly supporting them. Not just implicitly, those images that you
show, show that they`re explicit, and I don`t see again, there`s something
confusing to me, just on political level, when you`re winning issues, the
economy. When your winning issue is getting back to business, getting
people back to work, why do you throw light on these divisive issues that
most Americans are willing to live and let live as long as you let them do
what they want to do which is work, which is supposedly what Romney is
going to give them.

SHARPTON: Frank Schaeffer and Ana Marie Cox, thank you both for your
time.

SCHAEFFER: Thank you.

COX: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Romney and the birthers. Shocking but happening
now. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Birthers in Kansas are talking about kicking President
Obama off the ballot. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Birthers in Kansas are talking about kicking President
Obama off the ballot. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: President Obama has been a target of vicious right-wing
smears since before he was and elected and now we`re seeing all of those
smears come back again. Right now, Republicans in Kansas are actually
considering throwing President Obama off the ballot because birthers think
he wasn`t born in America. A state panel says, they will make a final
decision on Monday. A panel that was led by Secretary of State Kris Kobach
and informal adviser to the Romney campaign.

Last night, Kobach refused to tell talking points memo whether he
believes the president is a U.S. citizen. Now think about, that the man in
charge of elections in one of the 50 United States is refusing to say
whether he thinks our president is an American. Outrageous stuff and
that`s just the political climate we`re in right now.

Joining me now is Joe Madison, nationally syndicated radio host of
"Mornings with Madison." Joe, thanks for being here.

JOE MADISON, HOST, "MORNINGS WITH MADISON": Thank you, I guess. This
is crazy.

SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you, is there any coincident that this
birther stuff is coming back as this campaign heats up?

MADISON: No. And I think it`s a sign of desperation. That`s number
one. Number two, Mitt Romney`s father, where was he born? Mitt Romney`s
father was born in Mexico, if I`m not mistaken. This is a sign of
desperation and also remember yesterday, Limbaugh suggested that al Qaeda,
in essence, gave bin Laden over to.

SHARPTON: Yes. To make him look good.

MADISON: .to make Obama look good. So, this is an act of desperation.

SHARPTON: And the insult of that joke is not only an insult to the
President, it`s an insult to the SEALs and the military men that went in
and risk their lives to get bin Laden. But nothing matters when they want
to cascade this President. But let me tell you what is frightening is
sticking with some people in October of 2008, 16 percent of Republicans
believe that President Obama was a Muslim.

In July of this year, it is doubled. Thirty percent of Republicans
believed that. I mean, this is incredible. Not that there`s anything
wrong with being a Muslim but this propaganda of making him other than
American and something else, they`ve actually doubled in the amount of
Republicans that believed this.

MADISON: And you see him and his family go to church on Easter Sunday
here on Washington, D.C., on Christmas. They worship and AME churches that
you`ve preached at and I`ve been to. This is just, again, an attempt to
make him something than American and other. And it`s not going to work.
So, here`s the deal. Come the presidential debate, someone has to look
Mitt Romney in the eye Reverend Sharpton, and say, do you believe that the
President of the United States is a U.S. citizen and once Mitt Romney
answers that, that puts the rest of his supporters who believe this
foolishness to bed.

SHARPTON: Well, let`s see if that happens. But it`s not only there
on the Romney national campaign level, and don`t forget this guy Kobach
who is the secretary of state in Kansas was a major part of the GOP
platform-forming committee and had a lot to do with their convention. But
let`s go to a state level where a flyer showing North Carolina Supreme
Court Justice Paul Newby speaking at Asheville`s Tea Party event tomorrow
night. That`s the flyer.

Now, his extreme hopes, the Asheville Tea Party, compared President
Obama to Hitler, supports states rights and nullification and claims that
70 socialists in Congress. This is who our Supreme Court justice of North
Carolina is speaking for tomorrow night.

MADISON: He`s just a re-birth of what we used to experience in the
civil rights movement. This is what they accuse King, Abernathy, they`ve
accused you of it, they`ve accused me of it. As if we need Hitler or
socialists to tell us the problems that we are facing in this country.
This is just instead of Jim Crow, it`s sophisticated cousin James Crow
Esquire.

SHARPTON: Right. Joe Madison, thanks for being on our show tonight.
Have a great weekend.

MADISON: You do the same, Reverend.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: I want to close tonight by going back to June of last year.
Where New York State lawmakers were engage in a fierce debate over
legalizing gay marriage. Eventually, history was made when four republican
lawmakers cross the aisle to stand-up for equal rights.

Senator Stephen Saland, Roy McDonald, Mark Grisanti and James Alesi.
But as New Yorker celebrated, Republicans were quick to pushback.
Conservatives vowed to kick these men out of office. And for the last 15
months, there`s been a vicious campaign to kick them out of office. They
became targets of horrific anti-gay malice, so extreme we can`t even show
them.

Last night, the intense fight came to an end when New York finally
held the state primaries and the results are promising. Mark Grisanti won
his primary by a wide margin. Stephen Saland leads by 42 votes and Roy
McDonald trails his opponent by just 138 votes. Those races will be
decided by absentee ballots. James Alesi isn`t seeking re-election.

No matter the final outcomes, the results show progresses happening,
and attitudes are changing. Now, I may not agree with everything these
state senators believe in but they stood up to their party and voted their
conscience. This week Roy McDonald said, quote, "I`m in the party of
Abraham Lincoln, I`m very proud of that. It`s everybody`s included and I
feel that`s very important."

I remember Mrs. Coretta Scott came once said to me, inner peace is
found when you do what is right, not do what you just think is popular.
Real leaders don`t follow the polls, real leaders change the polls and mold
public opinion.

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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