updated 9/20/2012 1:36:54 PM ET 2012-09-20T17:36:54

POLITICS NATION
September 19, 2012

Guests: Mudcat Saunders, Annie Lowrey, Erin McPike, Nina Turner


REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to
you for tuning in. We are live this evening from Washington.

Tonight`s lead, fallout. Look out below. More damage from Mitt
Romney`s hard-hearted words about the 47 percent of the country. One of
the GOP`s senators refusing to say if he still supports Romney`s candidacy.
Others running from reporters` questions. And party insiders openly asking
if the Romney/Ryan campaign is headed to quote "McCain/Palin territory."

Wow. And what has Mitt Romney been doing? He is digging in his
heels, that`s what. He is standing by his attack on the 47 percent of
Americans who don`t pay income tax that would expose in the secret video.

Today, while raising more big money in Atlanta, Mr. Romney dressed up
his comments about makers and takers with new language.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This is how America works.
It does not work by a government saying become dependent on government,
become dependent upon redistribution that will kill the American
entrepreneurship that`s listed our economy over the years.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is how America works? By vilifying half the country?
By insulting the elderly, the disabled, people in the military, those
struggling to make ends meet? And leave it to Paul Ryan to stand by what
Romney said, even if not how he said it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He was obviously
inarticulate in making this point and the point we`re trying to make here
is under the Obama economy, government dependency is up and economics of
that nation is up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You think governor Romney regrets saying
what he did?

RYAN: Oh, I think we have said it differently, that`s for sure. But
the point still stands.


(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The point still stands. Folks, let`s remember what this is
about, a secret tape that was never supposed to get out in which Romney
told donors paying $50,000 to be there what he really thinks about the
other half of Americans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon
government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government
has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled
to health care, to food, to housing, you name it but that`s entitlement.
And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this
president no matter what.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That was no gaffe. No slip of the tongue. This is what
they believe. Just listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: We risk hitting a tipping point in our society where we have
more takers than makers in society, where we will have turned our safety
net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lies to dependency and
complacency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Makers versus takers. This is now the dominant philosophy
of the GOP.

Now, George W. Bush ran in 2000 as a compassionate conservative, but
even paying lip service to that idea is out the window with these mean-
spirited tea party-flavored Republican men. Their extreme agenda is now
clear. You`re on your own. And if you need help, look somewhere else.

Remember some time ago when Romney said quote that "if voters want
more stuff from government, tell them to go vote for the other guy." More
free stuff? Remember how crowded the Republican debate actually cheered at
an idea of letting a person die if he doesn`t have health insurance?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. RON PAUL (R), TEXAS: That`s what freedom is all about taking
your own risk. This whole idea that you have to prepare to take care of
everybody --

(APPLAUSE)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL HEAD: But congressman, are you
saying that society should just let him die?

AUDIENCE: Yes. Yes!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Remember all the attacks on the poor and anyone who`s
trying to help them, like the president?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ll go to the
convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand
paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps. Obama is the best food
stamp president in American history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is ugly stuff. The secret Romney tapes have exposed
what he believes and revealed what`s at the core of today`s Republican
party.

Joining me now is Jared Bernstein, MSNBC contributor and the former
chief economist for vice president Joe Biden and Karen Finney, MSNBC
political analyst and former communications director for the Democratic
National Committee.

Karen, Romney`s sticking with this line. I mean, does it -- does he
not get what this country is all about? I mean, what is happening here?

KAREN FINNEY, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: What they are trying to do
clearly is spin it into what has been Republican dogma for some time,
right? This idea of what is the role of government that, you know,
Democrats think it is all about, you know, government doing everything
four, we have heard that line before.

But, if you think, there is an argument to be made that essentially
what he is saying is, there is goes exactly against our values as Americans
which is the idea, we are all in this together, I am my brother`s keeper
and the idea that you know what if you need a little bit of help, we are
going to give you a little bit of help and you`re going to do, you know,
your part as well.

What I find so interesting, and Jared and I we were talking about
this, in his mind, clearly, there are different classifications of people
who don`t pay taxes. Because remember, there are people who are wealthy at
the top who don`t pay tax. But they are makers.

SHARPTON: Makers are loopholes and takers who may have ribbon vested
in their own Social Security. You`re just confused?

FINNEY: That`s right. That`s right.

SHARPTON: But before, Jared, I want you to clear that up -- the break
down for us the difference in the top and the bottom in terms of the --
those that don`t pay tax.

But, let me ask you, Karen, on the politics of it. There, we have
seen so far three senators, three, from Romney`s party who have kind of
distanced themselves in this 47 percent rhetoric.

Senator Dean Heller of Nevada quote, "I have a different view of the
world," he says.

Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, declining to say whether he
still supports Romney.

And Linda McMahon, Senate candidate in Connecticut, saying quote "I
disagree with governor Romney`s insinuation that 47 percent of Americans
believe they are victims."

So, he is even getting a little problem from some of the Republicans
that`s got to run in states that people would say wait a minute what are
you talking about?

FINNEY: Well, that`s right. At the top of the ticket, so Paul Ryan
has a liability because of his budget and thoughts on Medicare, right? And
now, you have got the guy who is supposed to coattails you are suppose
tonight able to ride potentially dragging down the ticket because again if
you are a Senate candidate, you are a house candidate, or any kind of
Republican candidate, you want to distance yourself from the remarks.

What I think, unfortunately, we see happening and we read about this.
Karl Rove is just going to pour a ton of money into the house race and
those Senate races to try blur those lines for people.

SHARPTON: Now, Jared, how do you grow an economy when you`re dealing
differently with what you call makers as opposed to takers? If we have a
makers/takers psychology, which is what Mr. Romney said. It was taped
secretly but he was talking to a public gathering, how do you greet
economy?

JARED BERNSTEIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I actually don`t think you do. I
mean, I think it this is not only divisive rhetoric that goes completely
against the kind of sentiments that I thought Karen was just expressing
well. But, it is actually very unhealthy for the economy, because there
are no makers and takers. Everybody is playing both sides of that coin
through both sides of their life. I think I heard today Mitt Romney`s
mother at one point benefited from welfare payments while they were
struggling. You have lots low income people earning some we called the
earned income tax credit. It is a great wage subsidy that helps low
earners do better. You have folks at the very top of the scale. It is a
corporation, it is a tax break and then creates a job a maker or a taker?
Of course, they are both. And they are neither.

It is a completely nonsensical division. And one thing we have in
this town where you happen to be sitting today called Washington is a level
of gridlock, of divisiveness, of argumentation, of an inability for people
to recognize that if you try to get away, if you try go this you`re on your
own route. All it leads to is exactly the kind of problems we have now but
far deeper.

SHARPTON: No. But, you have got to deal with the language of today,
if you`re rich and get business you can it is a subsidy. If you are poor,
you are better.

BERNSTEIN: That is a taker.

SHARPTON: But, Jared said that Mr. Romney`s mother had once received
assistance. And so, people will not think we are just, you know, some
liberals making accusations. Let show you a tape of Mitt Romney`s mother
talking about this. This is Mrs. Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: There are those who say that since he is
man of considerable means he really doesn`t care about people.

LENORE ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S MOTHER: You know, we have only owned our
home the last four years, he was a refugee from Mexico. He was on relief,
welfare relief for the first years of his life. But this great country
gave him opportunities.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now this is Mrs. Romney, the mother of Mitt Romney, talking
about her husband, who was Mitt`s father, who had only owned their home a
few years, who had to get some public assistance. What I mean, so anybody
would have wanted somebody to say that about their parents? How does he
think people feel about saying this about his parents today?

FINNEY: But here`s the problem. Mitt Romney is fortunate enough, he
didn`t live that reality. That was early -- clearly, that was earlier on
in his mother and father`s life. So Mitt Romney doesn`t -- that`s part of
the problem here. He has no idea how a majority of you Americans actually
live our lives, how our economy actually works and doesn`t work. Remember
says I don`t really care about the very poor. We have got, you know,
social safety net programs for them. They happen to be the same program he
is wants to cut, by the way. So basically their message to anybody not in
that top tax bracket is you`re a moocher. You are expecting something.

BERNSTEIN: And by the way, this also applies to people who are
retirees. You know, amongst that 46 percent, you have a bunch of people
who are modest income, elderly folks on Social Security and Medicare. Now,
do you want those folk toes have to get back to work? Are they moochers?
Are they takers? Many of those people work third whole life.

SHARPTON: But - and I think that it shows the divisiveness you talked
about, Jared, because there was a time when you would talk about how you
can pull yourself up, as Mrs. Romney was talking about her husband,
explaining him running for office.

Now, you get beat down for it. Today, today, this day, the
Republicans in the Senate blocked a jobs bill for veterans. Look at this.
This bill, it would have provided a billion in funding. The jobs would
have involved tending federal lands and boll steering police and fire
departments. This he block it had today.

BERNSTEIN: To me, the whole thing is kicking out the ladders.

FINNEY: Right.

BERNSTEIN: Our society, our economy is partly build built on leaders.
We will help you put the ladder there you got to climb up. These people
want to kick out the ladders.

FINNEY: But you know, I think there is something else, Reverend, and
you know this as well as anybody. This language is about "you" people,
those people. It`s old, old language of long enough better than somebody.

SHARPTON: -- all of us in America.

FINNEY: That`s exactly right.

SHARPTON: Jared Bernstein and Karen Finney, thank you for your time
tonight.

Coming up, the real plan to redistribute wealth in America. How
Romney and Ryan literally want to take from the poor and give to the rich.

Plus, we`ve got ourselves another secret tape from a Republican. This
one`s from a top elections official vowing to suppress the vote long after
the 2012 election.

And a new report completely vindicates the attorney general in the so-
called fast and furious program. So, where`s the apology from the
Republicans? I`m looking at you, Congressman Issa.

This is "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Let me get this straight, going on food stamps because your
kids are hungry; that makes you a victim, but oil companies taking billion
a year, that`s cool? That`s wrong. And that`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHEN COLBERT, COMEDIAN: Finally, a candidate with the courage to
say half of all Americans are free loaders who believe they are entitled to
food. What do they think, food grows on trees? No. We, job creators know
there is no such thing as a free lunch. Lunch is $50,000 a plate. Folks
this is not a crisis for Romney. This is a triumph because Mitt nailed it.
Obama supporters are nothing but lazy parasites. Get a job!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mitt Romney`s secret videotapes get the late night laugh
treatment. Those traipse causing headaches for the Romney campaigns. But
then, may also hurt other Republicans running for office all over the
country.

Some candidates are trying to distance themselves from Romney. Others
are refusing to talk about it at all.

Joining me now, Democratic strategist Dave "Mudcat" Saunders, one of
the most colorful characters in politics today. He helped Virginia
Democrat Jim Webb defeat George Allen in the 2006 Senate race made famous
by Allen`s macaque comment. He also steered Mark Warner into the Virginia
governor`s mansion in 2001.

Now, Mudcat is setting his sights on ousting powerful house Republican
leader Eric Cantor. If he succeeds, it could be one of the biggest
political upsets of the year.

Mudcat, thanks for being here tonight.

MUDCAT SAUNDERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Rev, it`s wonderful being
with you.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you. How are these Romney tapes changing
the political conversation?

SAUNDERS: Well, you`ve been in campaigns before, Rev, and the one
thing you always want to establish is us versus them brand. And Mitt
Romney, one thing he has done is he has firmly branded himself as them.

You know, I couldn`t believe it. I knew that he was an elitist, but
Romney doesn`t have a whole lot of street smarts and people are talking
about this secret fundraiser and there was 150 people there with cell
phones. And where you and I come from, we call that, street smarts not to
say something so ridiculous in front of that many people.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it. Well, not only - you know, one of the
things he says, let me play this for you. One of the things he stayed in
that same speech a lot of people are not talking about is when he talked
about Latinos and his father. Let me play what he said there, because this
is very interesting, let put it that way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Had he been born to Mexican parent, I have a better shot of
winning this thing. But he was unfortunately born of Americans living in
Mexico and living for a number of years and I mean, I say that jokingly,
but it would be helpful to be Latino.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He said it jokingly would be helpful being Latino about his
father who lived in Mexico and his father was in Mexico because of his
father. I mean, what kind of playing on different -- I don`t know what he
means would have been more helpful to his father`s career to be Latino? I
know a lot of Latinos driving around in Arizona with his supporter Governor
Brewer`s laws that don`t think that it`s an advantage. But this us,
against them this playing on the divisions is a very disturbing pattern of
Mr. Romney`s.

SAUNDERS: Well, that`s who he is. I mean, in Virginia, we call it
the land of gentry. I mean, the statements like that don`t just offend
Latinos, they also offend everybody like where I`m from, the hill bully
nation, who have been looked down upon by what I call the land of gentry.

The one thing that`s driving me crazy through all of this is the talk
of redistribution of wealth and this fear mongering. I mean, you and I
both know, Rev, there`s been redistribution of wealth in this country. I
mean, since 1980, it`s been mammoth.

In 1980, one percent of the people had around seven percent of the
money and right now, one percent of the people have about 25 percent of the
money. And that`s the reason that Wayne Powell, I joined on with him to go
against the ringleader of this coin-operated government is because there
has been that redistribution of wealth. And we got to reverse it because
it`s all coming from middle class, hard-working and blue collar Americans.

SHARPTON: Now, Wayne Powell, your candidate, is running against Eric
Cantor and "Politico" reports house Republicans don`t even want to talk
about Romney tapes. Quote "majority leader Eric Cantor, who your client is
challenge, declined comment on Romney`s closed-door remarks as did house
and Senate GOP offices contacted by "Politico" on Tuesday." Your opponent
will not talk about this?

SAUNDERS: Well, you`ve got to remember, you can take Romney, and I
think this hasn`t really caught on. I think it is going to catch on in the
next 45 days and that is you can take Romney, Ryan or Cantor, they are not
really Republicans. They are corporatists is who these people are. They
have abandoned, you know, all forms of fiscal conservatism.

You know, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor beat on their chest about that
Ryan budget and how fiscally conservative it was. The truth is, it raised
the deficit, increased the national debt $3 trillion. I mean, let`s get a
hold on this thing.

And I mean, the political gamesmanship that`s going on now, I mean,
doing another repeal of Obama care, another vote, people that need to
understand, that costs the taxpayers millions and millions and millions of
dollars for him to do this, call it for a vote over and over again in the
name of fiscal conservatism. And you know, it`s a joke. These guys are
corporatists.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this. The Quinnipiac poll says with
"New York Times" and CBS, they polled the swing state of Virginia and it
says that President Obama is up four points, 50-46. What will that do to
politics in Virginia if the president holds that lead and wins Virginia as
he did in `08 and what does it do?

SAUNDERS: Well, history says as far as politics in Virginia, whoever
wins the presidential campaign, the next year, the opposite party, you know
wins the gubernatorial mansion. And you know, that`s what it says. But
the deal is, what it says for Virginia and this is what we are betting on
in the Cantor election. I mean, we are in a very red district, plus 12
districts, where Eric Cantor is not sitting very pretty.

We are betting. This is what we have got to bet on, you know, in the
presidential campaign that Virginia, instead of voting red or blue, they
will vote red, white and blue. And, you know, we have got a history of
doing it. I mean, in 2008, Barack Obama in this tough district we are in
got 46 percent of the vote. But at the same time, Mark Warner got 60
percent of the vote. And I think you`re going to see -- I think you`re
going to see the president continue to pull away because he has something
that Romney can never, never, ever, ever capture. That`s momentum. And he
is also likable.

There`s not a whole lot of difference between a third grade election
and a presidential election. People vote for people they like. And Romney
is just simply not likable.

SHARPTON: Well, Mudcat, I like that, not voting red or blue but red,
white and blue. It is a good sound bite to me.

Mudcat Saunders, thanks for your time tonight.

SAUNDERS: Rev, I love being on, I will come on any time you want.

SHARPTON: All right. I`m going to hold you to that.

Still ahead, the experts call it the greatest redistribution of wealth
from the poor to the rich in modern history. I call it the Romney/Ryan
plan. That`s ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. Mitt Romney`s comments about the 47 percent
are a hot topic on "Politics Nation" facebook page. Have you checked them
out yet?

Carol says I worked 39 years, I`m on Social Security now and I`m a
responsible person. How dare Romney say I`m a loser.

And Darryl says, we finally have proof of what the right-wing power
elite really thinks about us.

But, it wasn`t all Romney talk. Fans also loved this photo of
President Obama with Jay-Z and Beyonce at a fund-raiser last night.

Rosemary says it is a great picture of the talented people all making
a difference in this world.

And Jacqueline says, they are probably discussing their girls.

We want to know what you think, too. Go to facebook and search
"Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going
long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Forty seven
percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes
doesn`t connect. He`ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich.
I mean, that`s what they sell every four years and so my job is not to
worry about those people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": My job is not to worry
about those people. Imagine that line. Probably has Governor Romney now a
little worried about his job, or at least the job he`s running for. Ever
since that secret video surfaced, the Romney team has been scrambling to
change the conversation. They will do anything, even latch onto a 14-year-
old comment from President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I think the trick is figuring
out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence
facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in
redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody`s
got a shot.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Never mind that President Obama is talking about fairness.
Never mind that this clip is 14 years old. Mr. Romney found a new shiny
object, redistribution.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Just a tape came out a couple of days ago with the President
saying, yes, he believes in redistribution. I don`t.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Of course Mr. Romney doesn`t believe in redistribution,
except he does. When the money`s getting redistributed from the poor to
the rich, Romney`s plan would raise taxes on those making under 30 grand a
year. It would also raise taxes on the middle class. But millionaires,
they`d see a big old tax break of over $87,000. How`s that for not
believing in redistribution? Now, what about his running mate?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WI), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: President Obama said
that he believes in redistribution. Mitt Romney and I are not running to
redistribute the wealth. Mitt Romney and I are running to help Americans
create wealth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They are helping to create wealth for the wealthy. In
fact, experts say Ryan`s plan would quote, "likely produce the largest
redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S.
history." Huh? So, what their argument again?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Yes. He believes in redistribution. I don`t.

RYAN: Mitt Romney and I are not running to redistribute the wealth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Why are they selling themselves short? Of course they are
redistributing to the wealthy.

Joining me now is Annie Lowrey, economy reporter for "The New York
Times." And Erin McPike, reporter for Real Clear Politics. Thank you both
for being here this evening.

ANNIE LOWREY, "THE NEW YORK TIMES": Thank you.

AND ERIN MCPIKE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Annie, let me start with you. It is widely known the
republican plans redistributing to the wealthy.

LOWREY: So, yes. There`s this sort of two things to talk about here,
one are Mitt Romney`s spending plans, and there we know that he has a plan
that is going to cut programs that largely benefit the poor. And then
there`s the tax side. And the tax side, it`s a little bit unclear what`s
going to happen. There`s a tax policy center study which you`re siding.
Which shows that if he carry that his plan to reduce marginal tax rates as
much as he would like to, that might result in taxes going up in the middle
class and the poor.

And so, when you ask Romney advisers about this, they say that they`ve
made a promise that they won`t do that but it`s just not clear how they`re
going to make their tax math add up. And one possible way that it would
happen is that they would take away tax credits for middle class family,
effectively raise the burden, even though they promise that they wouldn`t
do that. But there is just a haze of uncertainty over Mitt Romney`s tax
plan.

SHARPTON: Haze of uncertainty. Erin, you know, under the Ryan
budget, Governor Romney would pay next to nothing in taxes. In fact, it`s
estimated that he`s paying effective tax rates of 0.82 percent. I mean is
that redistribution of wealth?

MCPIKE: I think the larger point is there is always redistribution of
wealth by paying any kind of taxes into the system. They support keeping
Medicare and that still redistributes money to some of the population. So,
if you don`t want to get rid of Medicare, there is still a redistribution
of wealth there.

SHARPTON: Right. But Annie, even with the fact that in the larger
picture that Erin talks about, there is always a redistribution of wealth.
It seems that there is a one-sided slant on this plan on how to
redistribute wealth in terms of Ryan and his presidential candidate, Mr.
Romney, because 62 percent of Ryan`s cuts come from low-income programs.
Eight hundred and ten billion cut from Medicaid, 134 billion cut from food
stamps, another $166 billion from Pell grants. It looks like the cuts are
all on the middle class and lower class Americans.

LOWREY: Yes. Absolutely. You know, explicitly both Governor Romney
and Congressman Ryan`s plans cut what is called in Washington, the
nondefense discretionary budget. A lot of the programs that you`re talking
about. They are also talking about cuts to programs like Medicaid, which
is health care for a lot of poor families and a lot of poor kids. So we
are pretty sure that that would happen. You know, we have these proposals
and it`s true that those cuts would be made and the question is on the tax
side how the burden would fall.

And there again, there is a little bit of -- we don`t have a ton of
clarity about it. We do know that for instance, Governor Romney wants to
protect the tax breaks for savings and investment and those tend to benefit
upper income taxpayers. So, we pressed Governor Romney for more details
but we don`t have them.

SHARPTON: So, we don`t have clarity on some of the things about the
middle class and the lower class but we are clear he wants to save things
like taxes with savings and things that tend to go to the wealthy, because
people tend to save that have money. People that don`t have money tend to
not have nothing to save.

LOWREY: Sure. Yes. You know, things like the carried interest
loophole that we have heard about. Governor Romney has largely said that
he wants to preserve those, those preferential tax rates for investment.
And yes, again that is going to help mostly folks who are higher income,
whereas in the low-income side, it`s not clear, he said that he wants to
clear a lot of the deductions and credits from the tax code but hasn`t been
specific.

And a lot of those deduction and credits are there to help working
families and lower income people. So again, we really don`t know and
that`s why he has opened himself up to a lot of criticism that his plan
would end up cutting taxes on the wealthy and increasing them on middle and
lower income households.

SHARPTON: Now, Erin, I recalled you covered the Romney campaign a lot
through the spring and the summer and Romney and Ryan keep saying, they
closed loopholes in the tax code. Annie just mentioned tax code but they
just won`t tell us which ones. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVID GREGORY, NBC HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": Give me an example of a
loophole that you will close.

ROMNEY: Well, I can tell that you people at the high end, high-income
taxpayers are going to have fewer deductions and exemptions.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Don`t viewers have a right to know
which loopholes you`re going to go after?

RYAN: So Mitt Romney and I, based on our experience, think the best
way to do this is to show the framework, show the outlines of these plans
and then to work with Congress to do this.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Tax loopholes. Is there a reason you guys aren`t
naming specific tax loopholes?

RYAN: Yes, because we want to get it done.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, am I missing something, because from what I`m seeing,
they will not give specifics, so we don`t know what they`re talking about,
other than we know that they are talking about they are going to give a
break to those that are wealthy, where it`s coming from, how it`s going to
happen, we don`t know and we know they are going to cut the safety net.
We know that. How do they run on this, Erin?

MCPIKE: Well, just on Monday morning, the Romney campaign held a
conference call with reporters and said that this week, they would get more
specific, or this is now the phase of the campaign where they will start to
lay out these specifics. One of the very first questions from a reporter
on that conference call is, will you tell us which of the tax loopholes you
want to close? And the campaign advisers that were on that call said,
well, we will talk about that later.

One thing I would say is this is going to come up in the debates, in
the general election debates, with President Obama and Mitt Romney, at that
point, probably will have to give some greater specifics because President
Obama certainly won`t let him get away with it. It was a tactic he was
able to use effectively in the primary and not specify which loopholes he
would close but he will most certainly have to be more specific in those
general election debates.

SHARPTON: So, but they said, and among the conference call with
reporters, that this week, being we are at Wednesday evening of this week,
they were going to get more specific.

LOWREY: They -- they did say that, of course, these videos that have
come out in the last couple of days has taken the campaign off track.

SHARPTON: Well, they could turn the page talking about videos and
talk about specifics if they would get specifics. Annie Lowery and Erin
McPike, thank you both for coming on the show tonight.

MCPIKE: Thank you.

LOWREY: Thanks so much.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, what is it about Republicans and these secret
tapes? We found another one featuring a GOP official vowing to suppress
the vote long after the 2012 election.

Plus, a new report clears the attorney general in the fast and furious
program. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a new secret tape exposes the GOP plan to
block the vote long after the 2012 election. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the yet another republican caught on yet,
another secret tape exposing (video gap). Ohio Secretary of State Jon
Husted has been a pivotal figure in GOP efforts to limit voting rights. To
actually make it so fewer people can vote. Now, he is setting his sights
on the future. Husted was caught on tape at a Tea Party meeting this week
saying Ohio needs harsher voter ID laws on the books, even after this
year`s election.

JON HUSTED (R), OHIO SECRETARY OF STATE: I was listening to a show
one night where they talked about these onerous rules, this onerous photo
ID rules and onerous rules in Ohio on photo ID. Well, the photo ID law in
Ohio is not onerous. As a matter of fact, I suspect the general assembly
will take up a more strict version of what we have after what we have been
through in this election process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He suspects Republicans will try to pass voter ID laws?
Well, I suspect, it will target democratic voters, especially after hearing
about how they are going to make voter ID laws even more tough.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There are literally 12 different forms of ID.
People can produce to legally vote but yet we had some people come into our
precinct who either didn`t or couldn`t or didn`t want to produce one of
those 12 forms.

HUSTED: We need to streamline that, because it`s really hard for a
poll worker to know exactly what they are supposed to be checking and I`m
quite confident the legislature`s going to take that issue up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They need to streamline forms of ID. Streamline? We know
what that means, it`s code word for voter suppression. These are just the
latest dirty tricks to fall out of Husted sleeves. He is already attacking
church organize souls to the polls days in Ohio. Days that historically
get black voters to the voting booth. And he`s fighting to punish voters
for poll workers mistakes. He`s even fired two elections officials who
backed more voter access to the polls. Make no mistake, Husted was stopped
at nothing to restrict voting rights in November. But he is already laying
the groundwork to disenfranchise voters for years to come.

Joining me now is Nina Turner, a democratic state senator from Ohio
and a vocal opponent of Husted`s push for voter ID Laws. State Senator
Turner, first, thanks for being here tonight.

STATE SEN. NINA TURNER (D), OHIO: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: What`s your reaction to these new recordings?

TURNER: Well, Rev, you hit the nail on the head, streamline is just a
euphemism for voter suppression and again, voter suppression by any other
name is still voter suppression. Rev, I would like to say that I`m
shocked, it`s sad day in the state of Ohio and in this nation that we have
republican leaders, especially the chief elections officers, using his
political clout to suppress the vote. You know, my grandmother used to
say, you can put truth in the river five days after a lie but truth going
to catch up and Rev, the truth is catching up with the Republicans this
day.

SHARPTON: Your grandmother must have knew my mother, she used to say
the same thing. But you know what is interesting to me? Let me run this
scenario to you about Mr. Husted. The Cleveland plain dealer called Husted
quote, "A rising GOP star," last week and wrote, "It`s no secret that
Republicans are grooming him as a gubernatorial candidate if only he can
avoid a major hiccup allowing the way."

Interesting. But then when you look just last year, Husted was
opposed to voter ID laws that he is supporting at the Tea Party conference
this week. Just last June, he -- same guy, that we caught on these tapes,
"I would rather have no bill than one with a rigid photo identification
provision that does little to protect against fraud and excludes legally
registered voters` ballots from counting."

So is this just politics? He has gone from opposing rigid law through
now he is championing them. Is he playing to the far right to get a
nomination for governor of Ohio?

TURNER: Rev, what a difference a year make. Absolutely he is. These
laws that they want to enact, there is no proof these laws do anything to
deal with in-person voter fraud. As a matter of fact, in 2010, there was
one instance, Rev, out of three -- out of roughly three million votes cast,
of in-person voter fraud. That is 00000025.00000025 percent. People see
report more UFO sightings than they do in-person voter fraud.

Reverend, they are pulling out all the stops to suppress the vote to
confuse. They do not care how they win this vote. They are rigging the
election and it is absolutely a shame that they are doing this in Ohio, but
we are not going to stand for it, Reverend. But you have been here several
times and you know that there are fighters on the ground in the state of
Ohio. The Democrats will continue to stand up and champion voting rights
in this state.

SHARPTON: And when they are limited early voting, the fact is that
early voting has proven to work in the state of Ohio especially after
having some very contentious results a couple of elections cycles ago.
Now, they want to pull back on it when it effectively worked in counties
that needed this, particularly for people that work?

TURNER: And Rev, let us not forget that Secretary Husted then was in
support of the turnaround that the state did from the debacle of 2004 to
ensure that folks have more access to the ballot. But again, it`s funny
what 2008 will do to have Republicans reverse course and try to steal this
election. It makes no sense, Rev. And for people who are homeless or
elderly folks who may live in a nursing home, you know, people may think
it`s easy to have access to these IDs, but it is not.

And until you are one of those who are in the greatest need, we are
turning our backs, Reverend, this country, on poor folks, on people of
color, on working class folks, all under the guise of voter protection.
But Reverend, it is nothing but straight-up, pure, unadulterated voter
suppression, but we are going to continue to fight. We must not relent on
this.

SHARPTON: Ohio state Senator Nina Turner, thank you for your time
tonight.

TURNER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Let me say that one of the things this country does all
over the world is preach democracy. And here at home, whether we are
talking about limiting early voting, whether we are talking about strict,
rigid voter ID laws, not the ID that we`ve always use but new laws all of a
sudden that are unnecessary and stop people from voting, whether we are
talking about ending Sunday voting that has worked, how do we preach to the
world something that we are trying to limit at home?

We need to look in the mirror and pledge to keep democracy at home.
It makes the country great. We will be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Big news out of the Justice Department today, the DOJ`s
inspector general has issued a new report finding no evidence that Attorney
General Eric Holder knew about operation Fast and Furious before 2011. The
report also found no cover-up, though two senior officials did leave the
agency today because of their involvement in the program. Fourteen face
disciplinary reviews.

The gun walking program began under President Bush to track the flow
of weapons to mention can drug cartels. But Republicans repeatedly blamed
Holder for the death of a border patrol agent that happened before his
knowledge of the program. It is a point the Attorney General explained
time and time again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: When you became
attorney general in 2009, were you aware that ATF had this long history of
gun walking in its Phoenix office?

ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: No, I didn`t become aware of gun
walking at all until the beginning of 2011.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Despite Holder`s testimony, Republicans have leveled a
barrage of disrespectful attacks against him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. ANN MARIE BUERKLE (R), NEW YORK: How many more border patrol
agents could have had to die as a part of operation Fast and Furious for
you to take responsibility?

REP. TIM WALBERG (R), MICHIGAN: You`re well known in this town for
not reading memos. What does that say about your leadership and
management?

REP. RAUL LABRADOR (R), IDAHO: You either lied or you were grossly
incompetent in your actions.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: You can`t play liar`s poker when
you`re looking for who killed somebody, when you`re looking into this kind
of a crime. Lying to Congress is a crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Remember these Republicans held the Attorney General of the
United States in contempt because of their false allegations. It is the
first time that ever happened to a sitting cabinet member. So, don`t
forget their names, Anna Marie Buerkle, Tim Wahlberg, Raul Labrador and
their ringleader, Darrell Issa.

These lawmakers need to answer for their words and their actions
against the Attorney General. This is serious, someone lost their lives,
there are people facing discipline but if the evidence don`t lead to who
you want it to, politics should not try to act like something`s there that
is not. Because this is too serious to place setups. Let`s have evidence
and facts guide our judicial system.

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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