updated 9/26/2012 11:30:43 AM ET 2012-09-26T15:30:43

POLITICS NATION
September 25, 2012

Guests: Tad Devine; Mudcat Saunders, Richard Wolffe, Frank Schaeffer, Jim Clyburn


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

I`m live in Columbia, South Carolina. Part of our continuing fight
against Republican efforts to suppress the vote. Today is national voter
registration day and we will be talking about that later.

But we begin with tonight`s lead. It`s the policy, stupid. More
evidence the Romney campaign is in deep trouble, support sagging in poll
after poll. Reports of turmoil inside the campaign. The candidate
continuing to commit gaffes. But today Mitt Romney put a brave face on all
that and after Bill Clinton introduced him at an event, today he actually
cracked a pretty funny joke.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If there`s one thing we
have learned in this election season, by the way, it is that a few words
from Bill Clinton can do a man a lot of good. All I got to do now is wait
a couple days for that bounce to happen, so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes. Hey, what about my Clinton bounce? Yes, I don`t
think that`s going to happen, governor. Here`s what President Clinton said
today about your tax plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We know what
Governor Romney says, which is that his proposal for dealing with the debt
is first to make it bigger by adopting another round of tax cuts, but he
says he can do that without raising taxes on the middle class. I`m not
sure that`s possible. But he wants to defer until after the election
saying what the specifics are. I think that ought to be a little bit of a
red flag.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There are red flags all over Governor Romney`s policies.
Red flags for middle class voters. Red flags on Medicare. Red flags on
the handling of the economy. And all of that is adding up.

Just take Ohio, where Governor Romney and Congressman Ryan, his
running mate, are campaigning today. A Republican has never won the White
House without winning Ohio. But here is their problem. They`re losing it
by eight points. And not only that, they trail President Obama by seven
points among Ohio voters on the economy.

The problem isn`t just Mr. Romney`s indifference to 47 percent of the
country, it`s his policies for everyone like his trickle down ideas, or his
laughable tax rate that he thinks is fair. Voters don`t care for these
policies and neither does their president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Governor Romney on "60
Minutes "was asked, does he think it`s fair that he pays a lower tax rate
than somebody who`s making $50,000 a year. And he said yes. I think it`s
fair and I also think that`s the way you get economic growth. The notion
being that if people at the top have more income, they will invest and they
will create jobs. I`ve just got a different vision about how we grow an
economy. I think, Barbara, you grow an economy from the middle out, not
from the top down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That middle out policy is already working. Today we
learned that home price jumped to their highest level in more than two
years. Consumer confidence is at its highest point in seven months because
of optimism about the job market.

Voters see this, but the GOP doesn`t. Republicans just love to talk a
lot about how our president doesn`t understand America. But they are the
ones who don`t understand America, not if these are the policies they are
running on.

Joining me is Steve Kornacki, co-host of "the Cycle" here on MSNBC,
and Democratic strategist, Muscat Saunders. He is currently advising Wayne
Powell, the Democrat who attempting to unseat house republican leader Eric
Cantor.

Thank you both, for coming on the show tonight.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Sure.

MUDCAT SAUNDERS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Great being here.

SHARPTON: Good to see you, Mudcat.

Steve, let me start with you. Romney`s clearly not the best
candidate, but aren`t his policies, or lack of policies, isn`t that what
really is dragging him down?

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, I think he`s constrained by two forces here.
When you look at the question of policy specificity.

The first is sort of where his party is on an array of issues. The
Republican Party sort of, the base of the Republican Party, and when you
look at one of the demands of its candidates right now is particularly far
to the right. And the gap between where the Republican Party is and where
the average general election swing voters is, I think is wider than usual
this year. So, on any given issue, if Romney really expresses the base`s
message there is going to be a bigger gap than usual between where he is
and where the rest of the public is.

But, the other issue when you start talking about taxes and he starts
talking about economic policy really boils down to this. The more specific
Romney gets, the more it will enable Democrats to make the case that Romney
represents no change from the last Republican to be president. Such a big
--

SHARPTON: But, I think that`s where we are starting to see the
problem, because if he gets specific, he reminds every one of the Bush era
that many Americans feel led us into this problem. If he doesn`t get
specific, then he gains no traction and if he gets specific, Mudcat, the
right wing and the far right he`s trying to placate starts examining it to
see if it is what they want. So he is between a right hard rock and a
right hard place.

Look at the fact even in Florida. He is losing by four points. It`s
not just Ohio. In Florida, Romney`s down four points. How narrow is
Romney`s path to victory at this point, Mudcat? You you`re a political
strategist. How narrow is that path to victory?

SAUNDERS: I think it -- I think it`s very narrow at this point. But
I think, you were talking about trickledown economics. You know, everybody
I know doesn`t believe now that water runs uphill. And to say that money
runs downhill to me is just as preposterous.

But, I think the main problem that the Republicans have is they`re
stale. If you look at what they are talking about at this campaign, it`s
the same thing they were talking about when you have water introduced
politics in 1980. They have not changed anything. I mean, they are going
to the wedges, whether it be God, guns, gays, however.

And you know, all they want to talk about is taxes and all they want
to talk about is how bad the government is. And I voted for Ronald Reagan
in 1980. I do have a disclaimer. I was drunk that day.

(LAUGHTER)

SAUNDERS: But he made -- you know, Ronald Reagan, one thing he did
was he made people distrust their government. And really a lot of people
hate their government. Because of --

SHARPTON: Now, Mudcat, let me ask you a question. Let me ask you a
question. I didn`t want to cut you off. But I have to get to you because
I don`t want to run out of time on you and Steve. I`ve been waiting all
day because I knew you were coming on.

I`ve looked at the polls and I understand group after group the
president`s establishing a commanding lead. Latinos, He is up 45 points.
He leads women by 19 points. Catholics by 15 points. All of them I could
understand given the policy positions of this campaign.

But here`s one that is right down your alley to explain to me. Romney
is losing the NASCAR base, the NASCAR base. Obama leads Romney 49-42 among
NASCAR enthusiasts, according to the new Zogby (ph) poll. Can you explain
that, Mudcat?

SAUNDERS: Because Thurston Howell doesn`t drive a car. It`s that
simple. NASCAR is a very down home sport. Elitism is not tolerated. And,
you know, its roots go to rural America and rural America -- look where I`m
from, hillbillies, Hillbilly Land. You know, I told many people we are ego
maniacs with inferiority complex. We tell everybody we are great but down
in our hearts we really might not believe it.

But elitism, that`s what it`s about. It is - I mean, who can feel
anything in common with Mitt Romney? And, I mean, he just doesn`t connect
with that world. And as far as any marketing that they are trying to do in
NASCAR, it`s a waste of time.

SHARPTON: Now, Steve, is that the problem, the feeling of elitism?
He is not the kind of cozy, likeable guy, and then on top of it, his
posture and his policy smacks of elitism across the board to a lot of
Americans that don`t usually agree on a lot of politics?

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, we have seen evidence of this already this
year. We saw evidence of it as far back as the Republican primaries, the
South Carolina primary where Romney lost by 15 points to Newt Gingrich. A
big reason for that is that it was a lower income. It was working class
and middle class Republicans in South Carolina flocked to Gingrich and
basically revolted against Romney in that primary.

And if you can remember, it was Gingrich and also Rick Perry before he
dropped out who were making Romney`s wealth, who were making Romney`s
private equity background. They were calling him, you know, a vulture
capitalist. That was a term used. So, they sort of fomented a backlash
among Romney in working class Republicans. And saw there was a potential
for as far back as the Republican primaries. And we are seeing evidence of
that still.

Right now, there was another poll out this week that just looked at
white working class voters. They were always talking about how keyed they
are, you know, to Obama`s hoax. He needs to do well enough there. You
know, this is big for Romney.

And actually, Obama is doing quite well with white working white class
voters except when you look basically in the Deep South and Appalachian,
he`s getting blown out there. But in places like Ohio, he`s doing quite
well there.

And again, I think part of that is, you know, Romney is just not - he
is not someone you can really sell to those voters very easily.

SHARPTON: We will have to leave it there. Steve Kornacki, Mudcat
Saunders, and I know Mudcat, are there working on his campaign. We have to
talk about that at some point, Mudcat. Thank you for your time.

SAUNDERS: We need to talk about taking that crook out and we can do
it. Aircraft can tore can be beaten. In fact -- thank you.

SHARPTON: All right. And thank you. I had to get your plug in. And
also, let me plug Steve on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern right
here on MSNBC.

Thank you, both.

Governor Romney`s 47 percent problems just got worse. Wait until you
hear what Bill Clinton said today.

And Senator Scott Brown`s staffers caught on tape, doing an offensive
tomahawk chop at Elizabeth Warren supporters. I want to know where his
apology is.

And Scott Walker is siding with unions. Yes, you heard me right. We
are throwing the penalty flag on him tonight.

All that, plus 42 days to go and the Obamas are having some fun in New
York.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`re very happy you came on with us, Mrs.
Obama, and brought your date.

MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: I brought him with
me. He had a few minutes in his schedule.

OBAMA: You know, I told -- I told folks, I`m just supposed to be eye
candy here four guys.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Did Governor Romney actually think that a flow over his 47
percent comments would died down? Well, they haven`t. Just wait until you
hear what President Clinton has to say. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Governor Romney will do anything to get people to stop
talking about the 47 percent. Today. He and Paul Ryan were all smiles in
the critical swing state of Ohio trying to warm middle class voters. But a
new poll has them tailing Obama in Ohio by eight points.

Earlier in the day, Governor Romney tried cozying up to Bill Clinton,
but Clinton says Romney`s caught on camera moment will be a problem for
Romney in the October debates.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CLINTON: If he`s going to double down on that 47 percent remark; that
will cause difficulties because we now know that the overwhelming number of
those people work and have children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Over a week later, and that secret tape still hurts.

Joining me now is MSNBC contributor and author Meghan McCain and
Democratic strategist Tad Devine, senior adviser for the Kerry and Gore
campaigns.

Thank you for being here.

MEGHAN MCCAIN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you.

TAD DEVINE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Tad, let me start with you. It`s been over a week since
the tape came out. The president, Joe Biden, now Bill Clinton are all
still hammering. How damaging is this 47 percent comment?

DEVINE: Reverend, I think it was terribly damaging. What happened
with that tape was after months and months of the Obama campaign in
battleground state after state, running ads and telling people that Mitt
Romney doesn`t care about them. Mitt Romney came forward himself and
confirmed those attacks. And there`s nothing more devastating and nothing
more powerful, I think, in the minds of voters than to hear the words out
of a candidate`s mouth.

I think this is a big moment in presidential politics that`s a
turning-point moment. And I think people are going to remember it all the
way to Election Day. And I think after the election they are going to look
back and say this was a time that Romney hurt himself and hurt himself
badly.

SHARPTON: Meghan, is there any way he can get out of this? I mean,
he`s even done what we thought he wouldn`t do, released a little more of
his taxes. Not much. And still he can`t seem to turn the page. What do
you think he needs to do, if anything, that you think he could do?

MCCAIN: Yes. I mean, of course whether the media likes it or not,
this is not the nail in the coffin for the Romney campaign and there are
many national polls that have Governor Romney and President Obama in a
statistical dead heat.

What he needs to do from here is stay on message and make a fantastic
performance in the upcoming three debates, the first on October 3rd.

SHARPTON: And what message should he stay on? I`m not clear I`m
understanding what message he`s trying to give.

MCCAIN: Keep emphasizing the economy, stupid, how bad the economy is.
We are in a $16 trillion deficit, unemployment remains over eight percent.
These are the things that matter to the American people above all else.
That`s the message Governor Romney needs to stay on.

SHARPTON: Yes, but doesn`t he need a policy and a plan? I mean,
doesn`t he sound stupid himself saying it`s the economy, stupid, but I`m
not going to give you a plan of what I`m going to do about the economy
until after I get in? I mean, I understand the slogan is, it`s the
economy, stupid, but we really are not that stupid.

MCCAIN: No. I mean, that`s an old, obviously, old coined term.

SHARPTON: Yes, I got it. I got it.

MCCAIN: But I think when it comes to this tape, I think this tape was
taken out of context. And yes, has it been damaging? As I said last week,
I can`t sit here and say this tape was good for the Romney campaign. But
I`m saying that statistically it doesn`t seem to have as great an impact as
the media was saying. And I think although, it was a mistake. I think it
was taken out of context and I think the American public has to decide if
it matters to them or not.

SHARPTON: Well Tad, let me explain to you what Joe Biden said in
Virginia today as he took on Romney on this 47 percent. Look at this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He attacks 47 percent
of the American people who he says pay no federal taxes. And he attacks --
he, Romney, attacking someone on taxes?

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: That`s like me attacking someone for being passionate about
politics.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: And even Chris Christie, Tad, who was the keynote speaker
at Republican convention, he said they have had a bad last week and they`ve
got a lot of ground to cover now. He says, I`m quoting him, "we had a bad
week. If the election were going to be held tomorrow, that would be a
problem. But there`s a lot of ground to cover in the next 42 days." I
don`t know how you put a good light on this one.

DEVINE: Well, it`s going to be hard. Listen, the Republicans are
running for cover. You know, Bill Krystal said those remarks were stupid
and arrogant. Peggy Noonan is saying it`s calamitous, the Romney campaign.
The former political director of the Republican Party in Iowa said that if
Ryan wants to run after this campaign, he`s going to have to get rid of the
stench of Mitt Romney.

I mean, these are things - I don`t even to want say this, OK? I mean,
just you know. All you have to do is repeat what the Republicans are
saying about Mitt Romney to understand just how devastating his mistakes
have been. And to understand the problems he`s having in the campaign.

And by the way, I don`t think that tape was taken out of context. I
think what that tape did was provide a context for voters. Voters
understand now that the Mitt Romney behind closed doors is, in fact, the
same Mitt Romney they`ve been seeing in the Obama ads. Someone who doesn`t
care about them and someone who will not put their priorities first if he
is elected president.

SHARPTON: Well, Meghan, respond to that. I mean, what context could
he have possibly meant that you think he was taken out of context?

MCCAIN: Well first of all, that Paul Ryan quote, the stench and
alleged quote in a "Politico" article that came out today, so let`s be
careful before we accused him of saying that.

I think when you are talking about it taking out of context, I think
he was talking about the broader appeal with the tax system. And I think
Governor Romney although -- I just think it was taken out of context and
it`s easy for the media to spin something, a short clip of a you tube video
when Governor Romney have gone to explained what he really meant. And yes,
as he looking like someone of a clich‚ that people are turning in then to.

But the election is not over. And what we need to concentrate on,
there are 42 days left and I`m much more concerned about what`s going to
happen between President Obama and Governor Romney in the upcoming three
debates than anything that has just happen on a you tube video on the
internet.

SHARPTON: But if he says 47 percent of America won`t take
responsibility and, in fact, says, in effect, they are freeloaders, doesn`t
that speak to the core of who is going to be the president if you vote for
him?

MCCAIN: Yes.

SHARPTON: What could be more important than that?

MCCAIN: No, I agree with you. I am just -- listen, are these -- what
do you want from me? I`m telling you these weren`t great statements made
by Governor Romney over a you tube video that came out a week ago. I`m
saying there is still time for his campaign to turn things around.

SHARPTON: OK. All right. Let me ask you, Tad, and Meghan is right,
we have not confirmed the statements made on "Politico" were, in fact, made
by -- as they said, but conservatives do seem to want to hear more from
Paul Ryan. The head of the conservative club for growth told "The New York
Times," quote, "the Romney ticket would be well served to let Paul Ryan be
Paul Ryan." Is that a way to get out of this, is to unleash Ryan more?

DEVINE: Well, I hope so. I mean, Sarah Palin said that Ryan and
Romney should go rogue. That`s what she said this weekend. And I think if
they, you know, if they follow her advice, it would be as successful for
them as it was for her.

I mean, I think, what the conserve is doing right now by talking about
letting Ryan go is to try to cover their tracks. They`re basically going
to say, Romney, if he loses, it`s because he was a bad candidate.

But really, the reason they are losing is not that Romney is a bad
candidate. They are losing because their ideas are bad. Making Medicare a
centerpiece, their economic plans to protect the rich at all costs. Those
are the failed policies that I think are dooming Romney and Ryan more than
anything they`ve done in their campaign.

SHARPTON: All right, Meghan McCain and Tad Devine, thanks to both of
you for joining us tonight.

MCCAIN: Thank you.

DEVINE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a vicious new right wing attack is comparing
President Obama to the Nazis. You only see this kind of stuff when
Republicans get desperate.

But first, the NFL controversy that`s exposing some GOP hypocrisy.
Turns out Scott Walker and the rest love unions, or at least they love
union referees. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the story everyone is talking about today.

A football game is uniting everyone from President Obama to Paul Ryan.
Here`s what happened at the end of last of the Seahawk packer game.

(VIDEO CLIP PLAYING)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wilson scrambles to keep it alive. The game`s
final play, it is a Wilson loft to the end zone which is fumbled by Tate
with Jennings simultaneous. Who has it? Who did they give it to?
Touchdown!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But this official here, Jerry, goes up and signals
touchdown and the other goes for the signal you would give for an
interception, correct?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Or a touchback, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the most bizarre sequence you will ever
see at the end of a game.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The refs completely blew the game. They called it a
touchdown. Everyone else in the world disagrees.

But here`s the real controversy. The refs are replacement referees.
They are working while the real refs are locked out in a labor dispute,
fighting to protect their pension plan.

Here is how bad the NFL pr problem is. Both political parties agree on
something.

Today, President Obama tweeted, NFL fans on both sides of the aisle
hope the refs` lockout is settled soon. And Paul Ryan agrees.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Did you guys watch
that Packer game last night?

(CROWD) Yes.

I mean, give me a break. It is time to get the real refs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But time-out. I`m calling off sides on this next one.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker tweeted, "After catching a few hours of
sleep, the Packers game is still just as painful. Return the real refs."

Scott Walker wants the real refs back? The governor who defines union
bashing, who slashed collective bargaining, who sparked massive protests
just like firefighters, teachers and police officers. The refs training
and experience make them better qualified than non-union workers.

I`m throwing the penalty flag on Scott Walker tonight. It`s a
personal foul. He`s offside on this one. Did he think he could earn some
cheap points with the home crowd? Nice try, Governor. But even those
replacement refs would get this call right. We got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: They say you can tell a lot about a man by the company he
keeps. And the company Mitt Romney`s keeping tells us he`s getting
desperate for votes. The "New York Times" reports, Romney is cozying up to
formerly disgraced evangelical leader Ralph Reed, in an effort to win over
Christian conservatives.

Ralph Reed is the former head of was investigated bit Pat Robertson
Christian Coalition who was investigated by the FEC for violating federal
campaign finance laws in elections throughout the 1980s and disgraced for
his ties to lobbyist for Jack Abramoff accused of accepting payments in an
Indian casino scandal. Who when went on to court evangelical voters for
the Bush-Cheney campaigns.

Now, Romney has enlisted Ralph Reed to help him win over millions of
evangelicals in a last ditch effort to stay alive in this race. And how is
Reed doing it? His faith and freedom coalition is blitzing evangelicals
with mailers like this one of obtained by Mother Jones. It scares up the
Christian right by asking them questions like, how much danger do you
think liberty is in right now as a result of President Obama`s policy.

More serious than the threats we faced in world War II from Nazi
Germany and the Japanese or more serious than the threat we face from the
Soviet Union during the cold war, or more serious than the American civil
war? And what is President Obama`s true political ideology, they ask? Is
he a socialist, a communist or a fascist? This is what Mitt Romney is
reduced to, relying on Ralph Reed to send out questionnaires like this to
scare up the base? But make no mistake, Romney`s glad to stand behind his
man.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Ralph has been a
real champion in fighting for the fundamental values that have made America
the nation it is and I appreciate the work that he has carried out over
these last years to build a stronger sense of commitment to community and
to the principles of freedom that define America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mitt Romney appreciates all that work that Ralph Reed has
done. I wonder if voters will feel the same way.

Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, he`s the
author of "Revival: The Struggled for Survival Inside the Obama White
House." And Frank Schaeffer, columnist for The Huffington Post and author
of "Crazy for God." Thank you both for your time tonight and for being
here.

FRANK SCHAEFFER, THE HUFFINGTON POST: Thanks, Reverend.

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Frank, how does a mailer like this rile up the evangelical
right?

SCHAEFFER: Well, I first have to say Ralph Reed got into politics
because he saw a film series I produced in the `70s with my father and Dr.
Everett Coop (ph) called, whatever happened to the human rights, that got a
lot of evangelicals into the anti-abortion movement. So, there`s a
connection here. And unfortunately, Ralph Reed is one of those
opportunists who has hitched a ride on the multibillion dollar evangelical
corporation, you could say. So when Romney actually thanks him for doing
so much for America from the republican point of view, that`s a logical
statement.

Because for instance, with Abramoff and the casino scandal where he
played off one casino against another for profit. You know, when you look
at them, this kind of desperation move of bringing Ralph Reed in, the only
question is, you know, do they release Bernie Madoff next to help raise
money? You know, this is the bottom. We we`re now scraping the bottom of
the barrel. And I just have to say on behalf of many evangelical
Christians, I don`t think a lot of them will go for this.

They know Ralph and they know who he is. And he is a discredit to the
word Christian, let alone the world evangelical. And I do not want to use
his name to paint all evangelicals as if they`re all in his camp. They are
not. This will fail. It`s a desperation move. And, you know, he`s just a
petty operative who cashes in on every opportunity.

SHARPTON: Well, Richard, Ralph Reed was on FOX last night talking
about his work and how he`s going to get the evangelical vote out. Watch
this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RALPH REED, FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION: We`ve engaged in a massive
voter registration effort. We believe we`re going to be able to increase
the evangelical turnout from the 2008 baseline by an average of about seven
percent, and when that happens there`s going to be a lot of shocked faces
in a lot of newsrooms all across America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Richard, the vote he`s talking about in exit poll show
in 2008, 26 percent of the electorate identified themselves as evangelical,
73 percent of evangelicals voted for McCain. Twenty six percent voted for
Obama. So, he`s predicted they`ll do seven percent higher, that could be a
significant vote.

WOLFFE: Yes. Well, it`s not clear if he`s talking about seven points
high or seven percent higher. And I don`t know what states he`s thinking
about either. You know, the critical question here is, not just whether
you can believe someone like Ralph Reed and whether his operations really
work. It`s also in a way the tactics involved. We know from extensive
polling as well as anecdotally and culturally that evangelicals do not
favor a Mormon candidate, to be blunt. But what he`s trying to do, if this
mailer is any indication of his tactics, is drive up, not a reason to vote
for Mitt Romney, but the reasons for voting against President Obama.

Now, that`s an interesting dynamic that I think the whole republican
get out the vote operation really hinges on. We just don`t know other than
in 2004 for Democrats how well the negative drive, getting people out
because they hate an incumbent is as strong to getting people out to --
have a reason to vote for someone. So, you know, I`m all for people
getting out to vote. The question is, how successful can you be with this
kind of message?

SHARPTON: Well, but Richard, it seems like it`s not just Reed there,
Frank. There seems to be -- let me go to Frank on this, Richard -- there
seems to be others that are doing this. I mean, it`s really getting nasty
there. Sarasota Herald-Tribune, for example, ran this severely anti-Obama
ad Sunday, paid for by a group called the government is not God political
action committee, which falsely claimed on the ad, among other things, that
President Obama will force courts to accept Islamic Sharia law in domestic
disputes, that he will force police agency to allow Muslim Brotherhood to
select staff. I mean, this is some ugly stuff.

SCHAEFFER: Yes, it is. And it`s what Ralph Reed and the religious
right and right wing of the evangelicals have made a habit of all the way
back when they accused John McCain of having an illegitimate black child.
Then somehow I think the worst part of that accusation from their point of
view was that, oh, this child is black. You know, the kind of folks who go
for this really only have one thing against Barack Obama, and that is that
he`s black and he`s not a republican conservative. Those two things in
that order. And all the rest is window dressing. When you get to this
segment.

And so someone like Ralph Reed is the kind of person I`m talking about
in my book "Crazy for God" who has really sold the Republican Party down
the river. I used to be a republican. The Republican Party is not my
Republican Party of my old good personal friend Jack Kemp for instance who
you could disagree with his policies but he was not a hate monger. Jack
competed people like Ralph Reed. In fact, he congratulated me when I
started writing against the religious rights and naming people like Ralph
Reed.

John McCain called Ralph Reed and people like him agents of
intolerance. And he had it right. So, there`s a scum bottom-dwelling
creature here that has been part of American politics a long time. Always
on the wrong side. Always on the side of the homophobes, always on the
sides of the hate mongers. Back he comes up again like a bad lunch coming
up when car sick. That`s Ralph Reed. And if the evangelicals go for it,
too bad for them.

But I say again, there`s a lot of evangelicals, conservative Roman
Catholics, they know exactly who Ralph Reed is. They will not be swayed by
his hate-mongering and asking whether Obama is, you know, worse than
Hitler. They`ve seen all this before. It`s getting old. He`s a loser.
He lost for every single person he`s worked for recently except George W.
Bush, who then got us into a war we didn`t need and spent $4 trillion. So
much for the track record.

So, you know, forget Ralph Reed. He`s just a hate monger and he`s
doing it again and it`s always for money, as we found with the Abramoff
scandal. And like I said, you might as well bring Bernie Madoff out of
prison and have him raise money for the Republicans. It would make just as
much sense.

SHARPTON: But Richard, even beyond Ralph Reed, there`s a hateful
campaign going, full of things that are just factually wrong. Buzz feed
for example had out that Friday an anti-Obama movie called "Dreams From My
Real Father," as being mailed to voters in Ohio, Florida and other swing
states, and it claims, quote, "That President Barack Obama`s real father is
an obscure African-American communist and has been mailed to 1.5 million
voters across the country, its creator told BuzzFeed on Friday." This is
some hateful, dangerous stuff.

WOLFFE: Right. Look, Reverend, it`s ugly and it`s going to get
uglier. The good news is, is this all it got, really? This is what
they`ve tried to do in 2008. None of this is new. There`s a straight line
from what we`re seeing now and what we will see over the next month or so
and what we saw in the late stages of 2008, what we even saw in the late
stages of the primary phase of 2007 and `08.

There`s no disconnect there. It`s a continuous line. But you cannot
introduce new rumors about someone who has been in the nation`s living
rooms for four year. And expect anyone but the hard core to believe them.
So the people who think this President is a foreigner or a Muslim or
whatever else they`re trying to imagine and create and concoct in their own
sick minds, that`s what they believe anyway. They are preaching to the
converted. That`s a waste of dollars for conservatives in general, for
whatever groups --

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to leave it there, Richard. I`m going to
have to leave it there. Richard Wolffe and Frank Schaeffer, thanks to both
of you for your time tonight.

WOLFFE: Thank you.

SCHAEFFER: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Republican Scott Brown is refusing to apologize
after an offensive tape featuring his staffers hits the web.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: These are state`s rights movement that`s dealing with voter
suppression, that`s dealing with health care. They are saying that we
don`t care what federal government says. We have our own rules for voting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s national voter registration day and this morning I
spoke at a forum here in South Carolina as part of the National Action
Network`s ongoing voting engagement tour. I`m here working with the
Congressional Black Caucus to draw attention to republican efforts to
suppress the vote. The latest chapter in the long old story of state`s
rights.

South Carolina is one of several states pushing back after the federal
government blocked this new law for violating the voting rights act. In
fact, over the last two years, 17 states have passed restrictive voting
laws. In a democracy, we should want more people voting, not less. But
some Republicans think different.

Joining me now in South Carolina, the one and only Congressman Jim
Clyburn, assistant democratic leader. Congressman Clyburn hosted the big
event this morning. Huge turnout. And I thank you for being on the show
tonight.

REP. JIM CLYBURN (D), SOUTH CAROLINA: Well, thank you so much for
having me. And thank you so much for being here with us.

SHARPTON: And you had students, young people with a lot of enthusiasm
in the room. Why do you think there is this effort, though, with voter ID
and other methods to suppress the vote?

CLYBURN: Well, I think that after the 2008 elections, those people
who felt that a different outcome would have been preferable, decided to
double down on trying to make sure that President Obama become a one-term
president. Now, they were not content to leave it just to the politics or
just to, I would say, the policies. They have decided to go out, and they
did it in 2010, and put in place of new legislators, new governors, and
ensure a victory a victory for themselves by suppressing the vote, denying
access to the polling places of those people who they felt were responsible
for providing the margin of victory for President Obama.

It is a shameful thing. Those 17 states that enacted the laws,
another 17 have introduced laws. Thirty four states where these laws have
been introduced. And it`s not about the south anymore. Pennsylvania,
Ohio, states where President Obama needs to be stopped if they are going to
be successful this year.

SHARPTON: Now, they`re claiming fraud. Let me show you this. Tom
Fitton, president of the Right Wing Group pushing voter fraud paranoia.
Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TOM FITTON, JUDICIAL WATCH: I fear the Obama gang is setting
themselves up to steal the elections, if possible. The Obama people want
everyone registered through the Department of Motor Vehicles or public
assistance or food stamp offices. He wants to register the food stamp army
to vote for him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Food stamp army?

CLYBURN: Well, you know, it`s a saying that after all of these years
of having our democracy mature, to get these people, like that, come onto
the scene and trying to undercut the growth, the development that this
country has gone through over the last almost 100 years, and to see us come
to a point where you have these friends groups, just manufacturing
controversy, doing stuff that they know is simply not true.

And filling up the air waves with stuff that`s incendiary to generate
opposition to this President. This President is ran a good campaign four
years ago, he`s running a good campaign there. He laid out for the
American people of things that he wanted to do, reform health care, reform
education, get us out of Iraq, give 95 percent of the American people a tax
cut. He has done all of those things. And these are the things that the
majority of Americans say they wanted.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you this quickly because we`re running out
of time. You are number three democrat in the Congress. Not just the
caucus, but in the Congress, period. Yet you stay here as a civil rights
activist.

CLYBURN: Yes.

SHARPTON: Does this remind you of things you fought years ago growing
up?

CLYBURN: Oh, Lord. Growing up in the `60s, well, I grew up in the
`50s as well. I`ve been around here a long time. Sure, when we fought
back in the late `50s with trying to get school integration going, then
trying to get civil rights --

SHARPTON: I have to have you hold it there. We`re out of time.

CLYBURN: Well, thank you.

SHARPTON: I want you to -- I got to take -- home for you. Thank the
kids at Benedict College in Allen. You promised to mention them. We`ll be
right back.

CLYBURN: Absolutely. Absolutely. Thank you so much.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The Massachusetts Senate race is getting very ugly. New
video posted online shows supporters of Senator Scott Brown mocking
Elizabeth Warren for claiming a Native American Heritage. The video shows
people performing the Tomahawk Chop and making war crimes. Even worse. A
Boston TV station has identified some in the video as Brown`s staffers.
Including his own deputy chief of staff. This all comes just days after
Brown himself raised the issue of Warren`s heritage at their debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. SCOTT BROWN (R), MASSACHUSETTS: Professor Warren claimed that
she was a Native American, a person of color. And as you can see, she`s
not. She checked the box claiming she was a Native American. And, you
know, clearly she`s not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Brown is making personal attacks, because he`s losing on
policy and in the polls. And today, instead of apologizing for his
staffer`s offensive behavior, Brown doubled down on his message. He said,
quote, "That`s not something I condone, but the real issue here is -- and
the real offense is the fact that Professor Warren checked the box."

It`s no surprise these vial attacks come as Brown finds himself
trailing -- in four of the last five polls. I trust voters in
Massachusetts will recognize this for what it is -- dirty politics from a
politician getting desperate. With all the problems this nation faces,
with all the challenges in Massachusetts, people ought to vote based on who
has the more sound programs and policies and who has the track record that
makes us believe they will deliver. When people stoop to personal attacks,
they ought to stay in personal rather than public space.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

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