updated 9/25/2012 10:50:22 AM ET 2012-09-25T14:50:22

POLITICS NATION
September 24, 2012

Guests: Joe Madison; Patricia Murphy; Michelle Cottle; Dana Milbank, Abby Huntsman, Erin McPike, Greg Cappelli


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

Tonight`s lead, the secrets of Mitt Romney. Governor Romney`s
released of his 2011 returns have only raised more questions and draw more
attention to his murky financials and now he`s got a Paul Ryan problem.
The 2010 remarks Paul Ryan made says that one of the main investments Mitt
Romney has is a way to, quote, "hide money."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We don`t want to
have a situation where we are penalizing businesses for keeping their
money, their capital, and their headquarters and their manufacturing
facilities in America. So rather then, than having Ireland and the Cayman
Islands be the haven for the capital formation, a place where you hide your
money, why don`t we make it America?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The place you hide money? You don`t believe your ears?
Let`s play it again, Sam.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: So rather then, than having Ireland and the Cayman Islands be
the haven for the capital formation, a place where you hide your money, the
place you hide your money, the place you hide your money -

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, even Paul Ryan, his own running mate, says using the
investment vehicles Romney uses is a way to hide his money, as in hide it
from tax laws.

Ryan`s comment shows exactly why this issue won`t go away for Romney.
The returns tell the tale of a man who`s made nearly a quarter of his
income last year from foreign investments. According to the tax policy
center analysis of the documents revealed that. They also expose his
hypocrisy.

In a new ad, Mr. Romney accuses the president of shipping jobs to
China. But he fails to mention that his own portfolio included investment
in a Chinese oil company. This is a candidate who`s paying an effective
tax rate of 14.1 percent, which is about half, half what the average worker
pays and yet, when asked if this is fair, here`s his response.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You paid 14 percent in federal taxes.
That`s the capital gains rate. This is fair to the guy, who makes $50,000,
and pay the higher rate than you do?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is a low rate and one of
the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has
already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: So you think it is fair?

ROMNEY: Yes, I think it`s a right way tone courage economic growth to
get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And that is plain as it can be paying less than a secretary
or a guy working on the line is fair. Investing in China helps create jobs
here. Stashing money in the Cayman Islands encourages growth in our
country? I don`t think so. And Mr. Romney`s problem is that neither does
his own running mate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: So then rather than having Ireland and the Cayman Islands be
the place you hide your money, the place you hide your money, the place you
hide your money --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s the essential Romney problem. Forty-three days from
Election Day and time is running out.

Joining me now is Dana Milbank, columnist for "the Washington Post"
and Michelle Cottle, Washington reporter for "the Daily Beast" and
"Newsweek."

First, thanks to you both for being here tonight.

MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK:
Thanks.

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Michelle, let me start with you. Governor Romney thinks
his tax rate is fair. How do you think that will play with voters?

COTTLE: Look, the only thing that people hate more than paying taxes
is the idea that someone is getting away with not paying their fair share
of taxes. This is exactly what his campaign was trying to avoid by not
releasing these return and now they are going to have to answer a great
deal of questions about not just anything that people find questionable,
but also about things that are perfectly legal but that people are going to
find distasteful.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, we just played obviously a tape of his running
mate, Paul Ryan, his running mate for vice president in a speech he made in
2010 specifically saying that the Cayman Island is where people go and hide
money, something that Mr. Romney does. How does Romney record sell out
when his own running mate has said that this is what people do?

MILBANK: In fairness to Mr. Romney, he also hides his money in other
places like the Bahamas and Switzerland, so that is one potential defense
he can make there.

You know, what seems to be the larger indictment here is not that
Romney is not paying his fair share but under our absurd tax code, that
that is what people consider to be fair. It`s not that as Michelle as
pointing out that is something illegal happened here. The scandal is what
is entirely illegal. In fact, if anything, it looks like he paid more
tacks than he had to so his real rate wouldn`t be 11 percent which is
probably what a rich guy like Mitt Romney would be paying. So, and then
you have him, you know, now on record defending the way --

SHARPTON: That`s the point, Dana. I don`t think any of us, certainly
I wasn`t saying that he was doing something that was illegal.

MILBANK: Exactly. Right.

SHARPTON: I think that when he says it`s fair, when you look at the
fact, that he`s paying a lower rate than 60 percent of Americans and even
though his wealth makes him part of the 0.0025 percent s. It fair? It`s
legal but is it fair?

MILBANK: Exactly.

SHARPTON: And he`s advocating this.

MILBANK: Right. And that is sort of the definition of scandal in
Washington. It`s not what is illegal. It`s what is legal. Here is
something that is legal but patently unfair and that`s what riles voters.
They are not getting wild about did Mitt Romney make a few extra bucks from
the government there saying look, there is something fundamentally tilted
in favor of the wealthy here, he just happens to be an example of that.

SHARPTON: Now, Michelle, one of the other things is that based on all
of this, based on an obvious situation now between his vice presidential
candidate, those words in 2010, just two years ago, and his deeds, you then
also say, OK, what are your tax policies? If you think this is fair what
you`re paying but he won`t even be specific about his tax policies. Look
at what he said in a "60 Minutes" interview last night when he was asked
specifically what his tax policies would be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Well, that`s something that Congress and I will have to work
out together.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You`re asking the American people to hire
you as president of the United States. They say, here are some specifics.

ROMNEY: Well, I can tell them specifically what my policy looks like.

IDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: And the devil is in the details though. I
mean, what are we talking about? The mortgage deduction, the charitable
deduction?

ROMNEY: The devil is in the details, the angel is in the policy,
which is creating more jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The devil is in the detail, the angel is in the policy that
I won`t tell you until I get an offer. So, let me get this right? He has
a lower percentage of taxes than 60 percent of Americans. He is in the top
0.0025 percent of wealth in the country. And you just trust me on what my
policies are, but they are angelic. Don`t you feel comfortable with that,
Michelle?

COTTLE: Between now and Election Day, we`re going to see how many
ways there are for Mitt Romney to say, none of your business what I plan to
do. It will be a stretch but he`s going to have to come up with a lot of
different ways to say them.

SHARPTON: Now, I mean, it is amazing. But Dana, do you think that
with this little time left, what, nine days before the debate, can he sell
this to the public? Can he continue to go by or is this the reason his
campaign seems to be having, at least in the polls, a lot of problems?

MILBANK: I think that`s exactly the heart of it and that is - he has
not got specific about it. I mean, he tells us that he likes Snooki, then
he likes peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate milk. He likes George
Clooney movies, but he won`t tell us what he`s going to do in Afghanistan
and more relevant he won`t tell us what he`s going to do with his tax
policy.

I don`t see how you can get away with that and run a campaign. It
becomes about him. So, in the absence of having some sort of tax policy,
well, we make judgments based on what Mitt Romney does with his own taxes
and own investments. He comes out and criticizes investing in China within
a two-week period of him divesting of his own interest in China. So, that
is why the focus has been on his own investments and his own taxes because
he`s not giving us details about what he`s doing for the rest of us.

SHARPTON: And Michelle, even "Saturday Night Live" got in on it.
Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney on Friday, released his 2011 tax
returns which sure he paid a 14 percent tax rate so just a little less than
what restaurants add on for parties of six or more. The 14 percent tax
rate that Romney paid is less than the 20 percent paid by the average
American. How did he pay such a low rate? He claimed 47 percent of
American as dependents.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s a good line, Michelle.

COTTLE: It`s so easy to spoof because all of his gaffes and all of
his troubles have fed this single narrative which is that he`s this very
out of touch wealthy guy who can`t relate to the rest of America and
doesn`t even really understand how it operates. You know, the 47 percent
people went crazy with because it suggested a fundamental disconnect.

SHARPTON: All right. Dana Milbank and Michelle Cottle, thanks to
both of you for your time.

MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.

COTTLE: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: The Romney team arrives today in Ohio to fight for their
key state. Don`t worry, the Obama campaign was there to greet them.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I`m not fighting just
on behalf of workers or businesses or rich or poor, the one percent or the
99 percent, I`m fighting for American values. They belong to all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Plus, Ann Romney lashed out at Republicans slamming her
husband, you won`t believe what Paul Ryan is saying the day about them.
It`s getting ugly.

And first lady Michelle Obama`s speech out on the fight for voting
rights. You will want to hear this one.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the movement
of our era, protecting that fundamental right, not just for this election
but for the next generation and generations to come.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet?

Today our fans loved this photo of the president greeting this very
excited make-a-wish child in the oval office.

Kodi says, I love how our president takings the time to make a child
happy.

A lot of people are still talking about Mr. Romney`s comments,
dismissing the 47 percent of the country.

Dave says, Obama`s running for president of the United States while
Romney is running the divided states.

We have got more on that next. We want to hear what you think, too.
Head over to facebook and search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: When all else fails, get on the bus. Today, Paul Ryan
kicked off the Romney/Ryan three-day bus tour in the swing state of Ohio.
The campaign is trying to refocus the message. Yes for the 20th time. But
just take a look at that bus. Guess what greeted them when they got to
Ohio? Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney attacked 47 percent of Americans who pay no
income tax, including veterans, elderly, the disabled.

ROMNEY: My job is not to worry about those people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doesn`t Romney have to worry about everyone? Mitt
Romney paid just 14.1 percent in taxes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The latest Ohio polls show President Obama with a five-
point lead over Romney. No Republican has ever won the presidency without
winning Ohio. So Republicans are getting very nervous.

One week after this secret tape revealed, Mr. Romney`s calling half
the country freeloader, the Romney team is trying to retool and having been
given that huge political opening, the president continues to hammer away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We`ve always said in this campaign that change takes more than
one time. It takes more than one president, more than one party. It can`t
happen if you write off half the nation.

I`m not fighting to create Democratic jobs or Republican jobs. I`m
fighting to create American jobs. I`m not fighting for schools in red
states or schools in blue states. I`m fighting for improved schools in the
United States. I`m not fighting just on behalf of workers or businesses r
rich or poor, the one percent or 99 percent, I`m fighting for American
values. They belong to all of us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The Romney team leads more than a bus trip to turn this
campaign around.

Joining me now is Joe Madison, nationally syndicated radio host of
"Morning with Madison" and Patricia Murphy, editor of "Citizen Jane
Politics."

Thank you both for being here.

JOE MADISON, HOST, MORNINGS WITH MADISON: Thank you, Reverend.

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

SHARPTON: Patricia, hearing the president there, has Mr. Romney
served him an issue on a platter?

MURPHY: He has served the president a number of issues on a platter
but absolutely, it`s the economic issue that Romney has really handed over
to Barack Obama and this was an area that the Romney campaign really felt
like they were going to be strongest.

But, we have seen in Ohio, just like the rest of the country, ever
since the Democratic convention, President Obama has started to pull away
from Mitt Romney in Ohio and in the country. It was the bounce that he got
from the democratic convention and also really the bounce that he got from
the Democratic convention. And there was also really the bounce that he`s
been getting from these gaffes and they are just not just gaffes that are
random things that he shouldn`t have said, they are keyed up on the economy
and they are keyed up on fairness and those are the issues that the Obama
campaign wants to be playing on.

So every time that Mitt Romney says something like this, we are
starting to see the president pull away from him just slightly and now he
is starting to build up a pretty significant lead. That is why both of
these campaigns are going to be in Ohio this week. If you can move the
needle in Ohio, you are going to move the needle in the country.

SHARPTON: You know, Joe, when Patricia talks about the president
pulling away, let me show you something very interesting in polling.

Among white working class voters, in the south, Romney leads President
Obama by 40 points among might working class voters. In the west, he leads
the president by five points. In the northeast he leads the president in
that area by four points. But in the Midwest, Joe, President Obama leads
Romney among white working class voters by eight points. That is very
significant, don`t you think, Joe?

MADISON: You know, you are in Brooklyn and I`m in Dayton, Ohio. I
grew up in the Midwest. I went to school in the Midwest. I worked in
Detroit most of the early part of my adult life.

Remember, this is the Mitt Romney who said the automatic industry just
go bankrupt. Well, when you look outside of Detroit, of course, Michigan
but Ohio depends on those jobs. As a matter of fact, throughout the
Midwest, most of the jobs, whether it`s the automotive industry or not
directly, there are indirect jobs related. Glass, plastic, rubber, you
name it. Textiles, so that does not surprise me. Because I think what
white, working class, particularly men, understand, I would rather have a
black friend in the White House than a whiten enemy. And I have raised
that question with unions that I have spoke to.

You have got to ask yourself that question. You must understand. You
really labor has a friend. Working people have a friend in the White
House. They do not have a friend with Mitt Romney.

SHARPTON: Well, Patricia, staying on that for a minute, also in the area
of health care, something that I think people are getting beyond a racial
divide because we all are concerned about our health and insurance.

Now, in the "60 Minutes" interview with Romney last night, he was
asked about the role e of government when people don`t have health
insurance. This is what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We do provide care for people who don`t have insurance,
people -- if someone has a heart attack, they don`t sit in their apartment
and die. We pick them up in an ambulance and take them to the hospital and
give them care.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, you put that together with what he said in 2007 and in
an interview with Glenn Beck, this is what he said then.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: When they show up at the hospital, they get care. They get
free care paid for by you and me. If that`s not socialism, I don`t know
what is.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So taking care of people is socialism. I mean, is this
also part of the problem with working class people that are now seeming to
go away from him?

MURPHY: Well, I think the reasons that that comment on "60 Minutes"
was so important, is because when Mitt Romney says that, he does not sound
like a man with a plan. That is not a plan to take care of people who are
uninsured, is just to send them to the emergency room.

That`s the problem right now and that is why states are going broke is
because it`s the most expensive way to take care of people and it`s also
just not a very compassionate way to take care of people. You let people
go to the emergency room, instead of just having a doctor`s visit when you
could take care of the situation well, well in advance.

And so, not only does it sound particularly in compassionate, it is
not a good way to plan to run the country. And health care -- Obama care,
listen, not very popular in Ohio. States in the Midwest. He ran into a
lot of problems there, getting a lot of push back when Mitt Romney though,
when he criticizes the president`s health care plan but doesn`t offer a
health care plan of his own, that`s when he continues to get into trouble.

So, we have heard a lot of criticism from Romney but not a plan of how
to solve the problem. And again, that was another example last night,
highlighting the problem, reinforcing the problem, but how are you going to
solve it? We have not heard that.

SHARPTON: But Joe, the last plan we knew coming Romney was Romney
care in Massachusetts and it wasn`t around emergency rooms then. So I
mean, what are we looking at here?

MADISON: Well, what we`re looking at our seniors who are getting
smart. One, I`m going to repeal Obama care. Well, OK. So he doesn`t say
what part. Is that the donut hole which means seniors are going to pay
thousands, you know, hundreds if not thousands of dollars more? What are
you going to do?

They say, well, 35 to 54, we will take care of these folks but, wait a
minute, if you are 35 and 54 and you are listening to me right now, the
chances are you have been paying into the fund that takes care of Medicare.
So what happens to that money?

You know, I`ve said it on my show today, seniors are not turkeys that
would vote for thanksgiving. They are not going to vote against their own
self-interest and the fact that he won`t come up with a plan. This is a
man who`s probably never been to an emergency room and doesn`t know what
it`s like to have to sit there sometimes for hours, hours in order for us a
Medical -- to get Medical attention and that`s what people are responding
to.

SHARPTON: Joe Madison, Patricia Murphy, thanks to both of you for
your time.

MURPHY: Thank you.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: More trouble in Romney land. Conservative critics didn`t
take the weekend off. First, Ann Romney came out swinging and today Paul
Ryan showed it`s getting to him.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. We are used to Paul Ryan launching some
pretty ridiculous attacks on President Obama. But, his latest one is
really out of this world. Ryan was in Florida this weekend blasting
President Obama over the space program.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: He has put in the space program on a path where we have
conceding our global position as the unequivocal leader in space. China
may someday be looking down on us from the moon. That`s unacceptable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s unacceptable. But wait, did I just hear Mr. Small
government say the president has cut something too much? And since when
does Paul Ryan care about the final frontier?

He voted against the last to NASA budgets in 2008 and 2010. And the
Romney campaign says quote, "a strong and successful NASA does not require
more funding." I guess he didn`t mention that to those voters in Florida
where many NASA jobs are.

But Mr. Ryan`s spaced out NASA comments are part of a paten of trying
to have it both ways. Remember, he claimed to be a deficit hawk except for
all the spending that he voted for. And he hated the stimulus, except when
he wanted stimulus money and he repeatedly slammed the sequester cuts in
the budget he voted for.

Mr. Ryan, we`ve got a problem. Did the Republicans think we wouldn`t
call him out on his latest out of this world hypocrisy? Nice try. But
we`ve got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, let`s see. The leaves are falling.
Temperatures are falling. Romney`s poll numbers are falling. It must be
autumn.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It might be funny but it`s true. It is autumn and Governor
Romney`s numbers are falling. Everywhere. On Medicare. The President
leads Mr. Romney by nine points. On foreign policy, nine points. On the
economy, more American are with President Obama. A five-point swing in the
last month. And President Obama`s up 45 points with Latino voters. He
holds a 19-point lead with women. He`s up by 15 points over Romney with
Catholic voters. The conservative pundits are in an uproar.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a nightmare of a campaign when he says he
has no need to turn this campaign around after disastrous week where you
see Ohio slipping away, Wisconsin slipping away, Iowa slipping away,
Michigan slipping away, that is a political concern.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This election is just about the last four years,
it`s a muddy verdict. Bush was president during financial meltdown, the
Obama team has turned that around pretty well. If they just go back to
reminding people for the 5,000th time that, guess what, the economy is not
great.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Their core problem was carefulness, inability to
focus on their own essential meaning and communicated to the American
people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Inability to communicate to the American people, a
nightmare campaign. Ann Romney took on the critics.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: Stop it. This is hard. You want to
try it, get in the ring. This is hard.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And now Paul Ryan is taking a swing. Quote, "I think
that`s just what conservatives do by nature. I think that`s just the
nature of conservative punditry, is to do that to kind of complain, about
any imperfection they might just see." This is not what the Romney team
was expecting to hear 43 days from the election. And it`s getting ugly.

Joining me now is Abby Huntsman, host and producer of HuffPost Live
and a daughter of former republican candidate Jon Huntsman. And Erin
McPike, political reporter for Real Clear Politics. Thank you both for
being here tonight.

Abby, let me start with you. You`re a republican. What`s your
response to the criticism of the Romney campaign?

ABBY HUNTSMAN, HUFFPOST LIVE: Look, he`s in a very tough position as
everyone says, he`s facts in. The party is very divided. We all know he`s
not winning on the electability factor, on the relate ability factor.
Where he does have some room to grow though is on the substance. I think
over the next five, six weeks. He`s going to have to win the substance
debate and that means he needs to win on the economy and national security.
The two pillars of the GOP is always has been and Right now he`s losing
both of those and that --

SHARPTON: But why do you think he`s losing? Why has he not been able
to make ground?

HUNTSMAN: Because he has no substance. There`s not a detailed plan.
I was just in the cab just recently and I was talking to the cab driver,
and I said, who are you voting for this time? And he said, I want to vote
for Romney. He`s resume is everything I want, he was a governor, he`s a
businessman. I don`t know what he`s going to do, though. He`s not offered
me an alternative plan that is better than the last four years.

SHARPTON: Erin?

ERIN MCPIKE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: The problem is though, is that in
certain states, voters are already voting. And I`ve talked with a lot of
Democrats today --

SHARPTON: With through early voting? Yes.

MCPIKE: Yes, through early voting and early voting starts in Ohio in
just six days. So, Romney doesn`t really have a lot of time to turn the
ship around. A lot of republican strategists, in fact, are concerned that
the bottom is falling out as some of the Senate races because too they
can`t count on Mitt Romney`s coat tails.

SHARPTON: Now, that is true. And let me go back to you in a minute,
Abby. He`s got some good advice or bad advice depending on how you look at
it from, of all people, Sarah Palin, who in an interview with the Weekly
Standard, she said, I`m quoting her, "With so much at stake in this
election, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan should go rogue and not hold back
from telling the American people the true state of our academy and national
security. Go rogue? Do you think that`s an answer?

HUNTSMAN: And then she gave a wink. You know, clearly that did not
work for her. But me, personally, I would love a little spontaneity with
Romney. Maybe going rogue could work. Do something to surprise us. As --
says, I think she`s always right on. She says, Romney needs to look in the
mirror, find his soul, I know it`s somewhere in there and show that to the
American people, do something that we`re not going to be surprised by.

SHARPTON: I mean, obviously, I`m not in the same party and
persuasion but your father took some very courageous stands, Afghanistan,
same-sex unions. I mean, do you think Romney has the ability to show that
kind of courage?

HUNTSMAN: Unfortunately, I think the debate right now would have
been very different when my dad was a nominee, but we`re not there, we`re
here. And, you know, like we said, there`s not very much time left. So, I
think after the debates, he will show a little more substance, he`ll show
his plan, a detailed plan -- still waiting for that.

SHARPTON: Erin, even Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, hero to the
right, expressed his concern about the Romney campaign on FOX News
yesterday. Let me show you this and get your reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I think you`ve got to get off the
hills and you got to get out and charge forward. I think Americans want a
fighter. He just needs more of an opportunity to get beyond some of this
side bar issues that I think are districting from the incredibly positive
plan he`s got to help the middle class, to help the working tax payers of
this country move forward and I want to see more passion. I want to see
fire in the belly. I want to see to move forward.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I want to see more passion, fire in the belly than new
republic rights, Romney`s chances are in jeopardy. I`m reading the quote
from them. The history of presidential elections suggests that a generic
incumbent president leading by four points with 49 percent of the vote in
late September probably has an 80 to 85 percent chance of victory.

MCPIKE: Yes. Look, this election was supposed to be a lot tougher
for President Obama than it was. But at this rate and the Electoral
College, it may just be that President Obama could win every single state
that he won in 2008 with the exception of Indiana. North Carolina is still
very much in play. It`s statistically tied in most polls. And Paul Ryan
and Michelle Obama were there campaigning just last week.

SHARPTON: Right.

MCPIKE: Marco Rubio will be campaigning on Mitt Romney`s -- next
week. So, it seems that all of these states are very much in play and
President Obama is leading in most of them.

HUNTSMAN: He`s been very lucky.

MCPIKE: He has. He is one of the luckiest politicians there is.
Yes.

SHARPTON: Well, but the President is holding a solid lead in key
swing states. Colorado, 50-45, Wisconsin, 50-45, Iowa, 50-42, Ohio, 50-43.

I mean, is it luck or is it that the President has been able to get
his message out there and Romney has no record to get out there, no plan to
have a record?

MCPIKE: Well, the Ohio case is very interesting because Ohio has
lost two electoral votes since the last election. There`s been a lot of
population loss. The demographic has not actually shifted in favor of the
Democrats. It`s not a bluer state than it was before. However, a lot of
that state does credit President Obama with turning that economy around.

SHARPTON: Right.

MCPIKE: So, he`s using that effective later.

HUNTSMAN: You also have to make a point that people don`t like
change, whether it`s a new job, going a new school. That`s why it`s always
difficult to go against the incumbent. If you`re not going to put a better
alternative plan out there which I don`t think Romney has done yet, it
makes it very challenging, people also vote on their emotions.

SHARPTON: But you also have and this affected your dad, Abby, a lot
of money out there now that we thought would make a difference.
Billionaire Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has donated a record amount to
try to influence this election. Politico reports that he is the first
person to spend $70 million to sway a presidential election. And his plans
to spend more, perhaps he`s much as $100 by Election Day. We thought with
all of this money behind Romney that would make more of a difference.

HUNTSMAN: And I still don`t think we should underestimate the power,
that is the Karl Rove machine and the money behind the Republican Party
right now. That being said, people will still be voting with their
emotions as I was saying before. That`s the number one reason people vote
for a candidate.

SHARPTON: Yes.

HUNTSMAN: If Romney does not connect with people emotionally, I don`t
think any amount of money would be able to save him.

SHARPTON: Well, Abby, I agree. I think people vote with their
emotions and their intellect. And if you`re not likeable to the emotions
and don`t have a plan for the intellect, I don`t know what you`ve got left.
Abby Huntsman Livingston and Erin McPike, thank you for your time tonight.

HUNTSMAN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: American jobs available right now. But companies are
having trouble filling them. Our education nation guests has a plan to fix
it.

And First Lady Michelle Obama takes on the fight for your voting
rights in a passionate speech you`ll want to see.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. It`s part of NBC`s
education nation this week. There`s a great deal of attention on the
challenges facing our schools. When it comes to American education grade,
we are fairly. Fifteen-year-olds ranked 17th in Science around, 25th in
Math, 14th in reading. Our young people are entering the workforce
unprepared to get a good job. And those jobs are out there. And we`ve
talked about it on this show before.

There are job openings in America but 51 percent more than half of
American companies can`t fill those positions because our workers don`t
have the skills they need to do them. That`s 3.5 million jobs left
unfulfilled. It`s an issue that`s not getting enough attention in this
election and it`s an important one. Regardless of what party you belong
to, education is vital to the health of our nation and it`s everyone`s job
to make it a priority.

Joining me now is Greg Cappelli, CEO of the Apollo Group owner and
operator of the University of Phoenix, the nation`s largest accredited for
profit college and a sponsor of education nation. Thank you for coming on
the show tonight.

GREG CAPPELLI, CEO, APOLLO GROUP: Thank you Reverend, for having me
here.

SHARPTON: Now, Greg. One of reasons we`re having you on the show is
you wrote a report focusing on these problems on the skills gap.

CAPPELLI: Yes.

SHARPTON: What did you find out?

CAPPELLI: Well, what we did was we went off the business leaders
around the country to talk to them about, why do we have this issue with
three-and-a-half, some estimates as high as 3.75 million jobs in this
country that aren`t being filled when you`ve got over eight percent
unemployment. And what you begin to realize is that out of the 132 million
people on the labor force, over 80 million don`t have a bachelor`s degree
and they don`t all need one but they have to have the skills applicable to
do the jobs of today.

When I sat down and talked with various companies, whether it`s an
AT&T or Verizon or others, you realize that jobs have evolved in this
country. These are not people that are just climbing up a poll in your
backyard anymore fixing wires. They are coming into your homes, they`re
setting up networks. It`s customer service that they`re --

SHARPTON: Who did you interview for your report?

CAPPELLI: A number of different city -- actually, a fair number of
CEOs and we put a handful, ranks from Jeff Joerres, the CEO of Manpower to
the CEO of Martha Stewart Living to CEOs of Private Equity firms. It was a
wide range and we put a handful of examples in this report.

SHARPTON: Now, one of the CEOs that you interviewed that gave a
perspective says that quote, "Today, our higher education system fails to
help people develop skills. I think it is astounding how little investment
we make in different skills."

CAPPELLI: Yes.

SHARPTON: And I think that was from Marsha Silverman of Ogilvy. The
thing that struck me about this statement -- you know that I`m very much
supportive of Teachers Unions, I`m supportive of a lot of what is going on.
But I`m also very troubled that we`re not giving to people that I care
about in communities that need skills. And I think this is what you are
addressing. How do we deal with -- the two where we don`t dislodge
concerns for workers rights, teachers and others, but at the same time
address the skills problem that not only the private sector have but people
in communities need those jobs and those skills to get those jobs?

CAPPELLI: Absolutely. And we all need to pull together to do that.
Here`s the key. We`ve left millions and millions -- tens and millions of
Americans behind. So, if you look at the cross-section of America today,
there`s many in this country that still thinks that little Johnny march is
off to school and roots on a football team for four years. Here`s the
reality. And you know this, you`ve been out talking to people all around
America.

Over 70 percent of people don`t have that opportunity. They have
families, jobs, they might be in their 30s or 40s. Life got in the way
along the journey and you have to make education applicable to them today.
That`s the majority of Americans. That`s what we`ve been focused on for 40
years. We need educational institutions as a country to come together and
to bring education to the people to do the jobs of today. We`ll close that
gap if we do this.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, a lot of it is also spending. When you look
at the household spending on education, Asian countries spent 15 percent on
the household income on supplemental education, things like tutoring. U.S.
only spent two percent.

CAPPELLI: Correct. Yes. And that`s an issue today. When you can
look at whether it`s South Korea, our various countries in Asia or other
areas of the world. Look at what is happening in Brazil. Looks what`s
happening in India. You know, countries are starting to spend more of
their income, their household family income on education. Let me give you
an interesting statistic.

SHARPTON: All right.

CAPPELLI: From 1870 or `80 to 1950, we added a year of education to
an American`s life every decade. Do you know what has happened from 1980
on? We`ve stagnated. And in some cases, we`re going backwards. That`s
why we led the world in education. That`s why we had such great success
and growth in this country. Now, if you look at some of the other
countries in the world. Whether it`s China, or India, or Brazil, or
others, they are making the investments, they`re spending on education.

Whether it`s key problem, but I`m focused on the post secondary, and
look at what`s happening with their economies, they`re growing and they`re
flourishing, I think it`s led by education. We need to get refocused and
get these 80 million Americans some type of education. Again, it doesn`t
all have to be the post secondary level. But we`ve got to give them
vocational education, we`ve got to give them hope along the way and we can
do that for various different mechanisms.

SHARPTON: You mentioned post secondary. When you, the University of
Phoenix got started, a lot of criticisms from some circles. And some
battles back and forwards. But the fact is, there are people that you are
servicing that no one could question that a lot of people never serviced.
I mean, people that were not coming right out of school, going to college
the first time. Reaching people that a lot of people have marginalized
discarded that have to be served.

CAPPELLI: That`s what`s going to change the GDP of this country.
It`s estimated that we lose 400 to $700 billion a year in GDP because we`ve
left that segment behind. The founder of the University of Phoenix, you
know, the founder was a teacher at a school in California. A college
school. And basically had friends of his coming and saying, hey, you know,
we`re line workers, we need school, but we can`t get an opportunity, can
you start a night school. Then he started online and he started e-books.
We have to continue to enervate to adopt learning, through social
networking, using technology to reach people and have it apply to them to
get the jobs and to serve these jobs today so that we can close the gap in
this country.

SHARPTON: Greg Cappelli, it`s a conversation we`ll keep having. I
promise you. We need to really get into this. Thank you for your time
tonight.

CAPPELLI: Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s all. In many ways, Election Day starts right now.
Americans have already voting. The L.A. Times reports over 45 million
Americans are expected to vote before Election Day. A record for early
turnout. By the end of next weekend, 30 states will already be choosing
their next president. And as the early votes roll in, the coordinated
right-wing voter suppression effort is ramping up. First Lady Michelle
Obama spoke directly to the importance of the right for all to vote during
an impassioned speech of the Congressional Black Caucus on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: That fundamental promise that we all
get a say in our democracy. No matter who we are or where we are from or
what we look like or who we love, so we cannot let anyone discourage us
from casting our ballots. We cannot let anyone make us feel unwelcome in
the voting booth. It is up to us to make sure that in every election,
every voice heard and every voices counted. That means making sure our
laws preserve that right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Every voices heard. The First Lady went on to call for the
movement of our era. I couldn`t agree more. We have come too far as a
nation to turn back now. We must protect everyone`s right to vote, whether
they vote our way or not. Everyone must have their right protected and
everyone must be able to vote. That`s what makes the United States what it
is. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: On this day 55 years ago, President Dwight E. Eisenhower
used the fall force of the federal government to protect the civil rights
of those in this country. In September 1957, nine black students were to
attend central high school in Little Rock, Arkansas, as part of a federally
mandated desegregation effort. But there was fierce push back from local
citizens, more than 1,000 people protested the enrollment outside Central
High and Governor Orville Faubus ordered the Arkansas national guard to
block the students from entering the school.

So, on September 24th, President Eisenhower sent the 101st airborne
division to Arkansas to protect the Little Rock Nine and to assure their
right to attend class. Those heroic nine students fought hard to keep that
right. Melba Patillo (ph) had acid thrown in her eyes. She fought off
girls trying to burn her alive in the bathroom. Elizabeth Eckward (ph) was
spat on by older women during the protest. All nine were subjected to
insults and slurs. Menijine Brown (ph) said, the national media attention
might have saved their lives.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The presence of the reporters was probably kept
her from being brutalized more than she was. Because they`re filming it.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (INAUDIBLE) Because the media saw it, it can`t be
denied.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Don`t forget, it was a strong national government that
stood up against states rights and assured those nine students an
education. But let us not also forget it was a republican president that
did it. Because at the end of the day, we`re best not when we go by party
but when we choose right over wrong. That`s what we must do today.

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

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

,