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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

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POLITICS NATION
October 9, 2012

Guests: Marcy Kaptur; Catherine Crier, Dana Milbank, Alicia Menendez, Kathleen Clyde, Joe Madison


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

Tonight`s lead. The buckeye stops here. There`s no question this
race has tightened up. Both President Obama and Mitt Romney know the key
to winning the election is winning the critical swing state of Ohio. The
president arrived there late today, and he went right after governor
Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I am not going to have
us go back to another round of top-down economics, but that`s what my
opponent is offering. The centerpiece of governor Romney`s economic plan
is a new $5 trillion tax cuts that favors the wealthiest Americans. But
most of the economists who have actually crunched the numbers said that
paying for governor Romney`s tax plan either means blowing up the deficit
or raising taxes in middle class families, one or the other. Pick your
poison.

Just last week when we were on stage together. Governor Romney
decided that instead of changing his plans, he just pretended it didn`t
exist. What $5 trillion tax cut? I don`t know anything about a $5
trillion tax cut. Pay no attention for that tax cut under the carpet,
behind the curtain.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Romney`s pretending his tax cut plan doesn`t exist, but the
president won`t let him get away with it. He also won`t let him get away
with hitting the middle class to protect his own tax rate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Governor Romney said it`s fair he pays a lower tax rate than a
teacher or autoworker who makes $50,000. He is wrong. I refuse to ask
middle-class families to give up their deductions for owning a home or
raising their kids, just to pay for another millionaire`s tax cut.

(APPLAUSE)

OBAMA: I refuse to pay for that tax cuts by, asking you students to
pay more for college or kicking kids out of head start or eliminating
health care for millions who are poor or disabled or elderly.

Here in America we believe we`re all in this together. We understand
that America is not about what can be done for us, it`s about what can be
done by us together as one nation and as one people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`re in this together. It`s about what can be done by us
as one nation. It`s a message that`s resonating with voters. Despite how
some polls have tightened, the president still leads in Ohio. A brand-new
poll shows him with a four-point lead over Mr. Romney in the Buckeye State,
51-47 and the gender gap remains huge. A 22-point lead for the president
among women voters in Ohio.

No Republican has ever won the White House without winning Ohio. And
that`s why Romney is going all in. Romney is intensifying his advertising,
deploying more troops, and will be spending more time in the states.
According to "New York Times," Romney even moved staff out of Pennsylvania
to concentrate on Ohio. He knows he has a ton of ground to make up.

But that`s not all. There`s a darker side to the Republican plan to
win Ohio, voter suppression. Ohio`s Republican secretary of state Jon
Husted said today, he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to appeal the federal
court decision allowing early voting in the three days before the election.
He called the ruling, quote, "an unprecedented intrusion into how states
run elections."

Imagine that. Ahead of an election, who wants fewer days for early
voting. Ohio expanded these voting days after the election of 2004 when
voting was a mess, with long lines, people getting shut out.

In 2008 things went much more smoothly with the new, longer hours in
place. But, in this close election, Jon Husted has been pulling out all
the stops to restrict voting. He know, they know how important Ohio is to
Romney. It`s an abuse of power grab, and we must keep fighting to stop it.

Joining me is Ohio Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Catherine Crier,
journalist and former judge, and author of "Patriot Acts, what America must
do to save the republic."

Let me first, thank both of you for being here tonight.

REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D), OHIO: Thank you very much, reverend.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, let me start with you. Can you explain to
the rest of America who Jon Husted is, and what he`s up to in restricting
voting in your state?

KAPTUR: He`s up to no good, Reverend Sharpton. He`s trying to stop
Ohioans from voting the three days prior to Election Day, which is
something we`ve done historically. It is not new to us. So, he is using
taxpayer dollars. He is the Republican secretary of state. He is using
Ohio taxpayer dollars to stop Ohioans from voting the three days before the
election.

He is trying to restrict the vote. He is trying to contain a vote.
They know that President Obama is going to carry Ohio. And the only way he
is going to carry it significantly. They had to try to cut back on the
vote by cutting back on the number of days people can vote.

And if I may just say to you for all Ohioans listens, including here
in the Cleveland area tonight. You can still go and register to vote up
until 9:00 tonight. We call it golden night. You can register and vote
today, tonight. Get down to the polls to your local board of election
anywhere in Ohio. You can still register and you can vote tonight. take
advantage of golden night. Help the president.

SHARPTON: Now Catherine, let me ask you a legal question with you
background as a judge in the legal community. Secretary of state of Ohio
Jon Husted said about last week`s court decision.

At the appeals court, he says quote "the court is saying that all
voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio`s
88 election boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules.
How any court can consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is
stunning."

Now, he`s saying this as his basis to appeal to the Supreme Court, yet
clearly in the 2000 election, it showed how early voting was very crucial.
Ninety-three thousand Ohioans voted in the final three days of early voting
in 2008. He wants that cut out this time, in fact, cut it out and the
appeals court reversed him on it. Tell me the legal interpretation you get
from there.

CATHERINE CRIER, FORMER JUDGE: Well, there`s a lot of latitude in
operating the functions of offices around the state. But when you were
talking about the fundamental right, equal protection, equal access to the
ballot, that`s what the court says you cannot abuse.

And just so everyone knows, the sixth circuit that made this decision
is made up of 16 active justices, ten of them are Republican appointees.
The chief justice is George H. W. Bush appointee, nine others from George
W. and I guess one from Reagan, eight from George W. So, we`re not talking
about, you know, some radical liberal circuit court. These justices
understand that this is a violation of Ohio`s voting rights, and I will be
surprised if the Supreme Court just prior to the election will hear this
case, because it was an appropriately decided substantive decision, and in
fact violates the rights.

When you`re saying military citizens can vote in a certain way, others
cannot, that distinction was made, making exceptions, you cannot do that.
And as we all know under our constitution, the notion of expanding voting
rights is the nature of this democracy, not reducing them. And I find it
extraordinary the direction the Republican party has taken to decimate the
franchise in this country.

SHARPTON: Now extraordinary is right, outrageous is right. I mean,
Congresswoman, this is unbelievable, especially when you find the
Republican appointees on the court that came to this decision. This is not
a partisan decision. We`re talking about people`s basic rights. We are
talking about having equal access to voting. How bad is it in Ohio and
what are people saying, congresswoman?

KAPTUR: Well, it`s bad in Ohio, because we sauce the gerrymandering
that twisted our state in an unbelievable, unprecedented way, breaking
precincts so that mistakes would be made, probably throwing out provisional
ballots as people go to cast votes in some of these precincts.

They`re trying to do everything to rig the election, Reverend
Sharpton. And here in Ohio, here you have a circuit court making a
decision that is saying to the secretary of state the people of Ohio have a
right to vote as they have historically. Let them vote the three days
prior to the election as they always have and he is fighting it, right up
to the last minute, and using taxpayer dollars to do that. He`s a
Republican secretary of state. His job is secretary of state should be to
make it easy for people to vote, not hard for people to vote, to simplify
the process.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, when I look at the polls on seeing that 47
percent of Americans now see Mr. Romney more favorable, highest favorable
rating so far, but he`s still under water, 51 percent of Americans see him
unfavorably. Only four other candidates, Carter, Mondale, George H. W.
Bush and John Kerry were under water in popularity polls at this point in
the race and they all lost.

Meanwhile, the president is also at popularity high with 55 percent
favorability rate, 44 percent unfavorable. Now, he is high in Ohio because
unemployment has fallen down 3.5 percent since 2009. In the state of Ohio
it`s down to 7.2 percent. Is Barack Obama going to win Ohio, in your
opinion, Congresswoman?

KAPTUR: Reverend Sharpton, he is going to win Ohio, and he is going
to win Ohio big. And here in the northern part of Ohio, the recovery in
the automotive industry, the hiring that`s happening in the steel industry,
the work that`s happening in energy exploration and natural gas that is
driving steel production in the state, all the investment we have seen in
manufacturing, this president has made a big difference across Ohio.

And if he had a Congress that worked with him --

SHARPTON: So, you don`t believe the polls, you believe the president
will win big.

KAPTUR: I believe he will win big. I certainly do. Because you can
feel it when you`re with the people. You can see what -- they`re disgusted
with the ads. People are sick of what`s been happening. They know how
hard he`s working. And they respect governor Romney, but they believe that
for Ohio, President Obama has made the largest difference. He has taken us
forward from the Bush years. We don`t want to go back to the policies that
got us to this point in the first place. And when Mitt Romney said he
wanted Detroit to go bankrupt, let the auto industry go bankrupt, our
people heard that. I mean, one of eight jobs in Ohio are connected to the
automotive industry and all related industry that is feed into it.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur and Catherine Crier, I`m going
to have to leave it there. Thank you for your time tonight.

KAPTUR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, is Paul Ryan starting to feel the heat? Just
two days before his do-or-die showdown with Joe Biden. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: By kiting taxes, with the big tax cut?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Those are yours, not
mine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Thank you very much, sir.

RYAN: That was kind of strange trying to stock words in people`s
answer.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, take off that microphone. Good luck trying that with
Joe Biden on Thursday.

Plus, big bird is still flying high, and there are signs now that the
great yellow friend is getting under Mitt Romney`s skin.

And the inside story of the family intervention inside the Romney
campaign. It`s a real shocker, and it really happened.

You`re watches "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the politics nation conversation on
facebook yet? Today everyone was fired up about Ohio`s decision on early
voting.

John calls the move a disgrace and so obviously voter suppression.

Barbara says, we will remember this here in Ohio when it`s time for
his re-election.

And our facebook family was also wishing first dog Bo Obama a happy
fourth birth day.

Judi says, nothing like a loving dog to make your day.

Teresa says, that`s right. The dog rides inside the car.

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: Republicans love to talk about how Paul Ryan is a serious
guy with serious ideas. Yes, whatever. The truth is his ideas are more
regressive than serious, and he may be feeling the pressure he`s been
getting over his used tax cuts for the wealthy people. Just watch how
Ryan`s press handler refused to let him answer a local reporter`s questions
about tax cuts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Teach people good discipline, good character. That is civil
society. That`s what charities and civic groups and churches do to help
one another make sure they realize the value in one another.

RYAN STAFFER, REPORTER: And you do that by cutting taxes? With a big
tax cut?

RYAN: Those are your words, not mine.

STAFFER: Thank you very much. Sir.

RYAN: That was kind of strange, trying to stuff words in people`s
mouths?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well -- (INAUDIBLE).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No one has to put words in Ryan`s mouth. We knows his
policies. We know what they`re all about. Under the Ryan budget, the
wealthy see massive tax cuts while the poor get a tax hut. And as attack
on the poor doesn`t stop there, 62 percent of the cuts in the Ryan budget,
$3.3 trillion target low income programs, things like head start and Pell
grants. Paul Ryan won`t answer question being his own policy, but just
listen to his bogus claims about President Obama and Medicare.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: First, he took $716 billion from the Medicare program to spend
on Obama care. He treats Medicare like a piggy bank to pay for Obama care.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Let`s get the facts straight. Under the affordable care
act, $716 billion in Medicare savings comes from suppliers, not clients.
And get this. Ryan includes those savings in his own budget. As President
Clinton said, it takes some brass to criticize a guy for doing what you
did. Vice president Biden has had been - has been a vocal supporter about
these things that the president has said and he has raised what Ryan`s
plans are all about.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The Ryan budget if
passed that the governor said he endorsed would knock 19 million people off
of Medicaid.

The Romney/Ryan tax plan will raise taxes on middle class families
with a child, one or more children, by an additional $2,000 a year.

Don`t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I`ll tell you
what the value.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Vice president Biden will definitely have some serious
things to say about Mr. Serious Paul Ryan in the debate this Thursday.

Joining me is Steve Kornacki, co-host of "the cycle" here on MSNBC.
He`s writing in salon today about Paul Ryan`s thin skin.

Steve, thanks for coming on the show.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. Is Paul Ryan ready to answer the
tough question about his plan? Is he ready for Joe Biden?

KORNACKI: Yes. It`s an open question because one thing that we found
in the last few months since Paul Ryan became Mitt Romney`s running mate is
he really hasn`t been ready for the kind of scrutiny that comes with a
national spot light in a presidential campaign in a national election.
There have been several interviews he has had, several of them in what we
all assumed would be friendly turf, FOX News, where at the slightest bit of
scrutiny on follow-up questions he`s got very testy. He has got very
evasive. It really hasn`t been pretty. And you can think of early on,
back in August, (INAUDIBLE), in an interview, how long it would take Mitt
Romney`s budget to be balance. And Ryan basically said, well, I don`t want
to be all wonky on you, but I don`t know.

And then, few weeks later, he was on the Chris Wallace and, you know,
Chris Wallace started grilling him on the math behind the tax cut plan,
which is you know, a promise that a 20 percent across the board tax cut, a
promised that it will be deficit neutral and very vague promise it will be
paid for by closing loopholes and deductions. And so, Chris Wallace
basically said well, as loop holes and deductions, that`s sort of the key.
You haven`t been specific there taking through the math to tell me how this
will work. And Ryan basically said I don`t have the time to get into all
the math.

SHARPTON: Now, now -- let me put you right there, Steve because here
is Wallace on FOX News, friendly turf. This is not Joe Biden, the vice
president pacing him Thursday night. And he couldn`t even get specifics
there on FOX News friendly territory. Let me show people exactly what you
began describing the exchange between he and Chris Wallace on FOX News.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Here`s what we`re saying --

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS HOST: How much would it cost?

RYAN: It`s revenue neutral

WALLACE: We`ll get to the deductions, but the cut in tax rates.

RYAN: The cut in tax rate is lower. All American tax rates by 20
percent --

WALLACE: How much does that cost?

RYAN: It`s revenue neutral.

WALLACE: It`s not neutral unless you take away the deduction. I`ll
get to that in a second.

RYAN: Lowering the tax rates by broadening the tax works. And you
can -

WALLACE: But I have --

RYAN: Let me just --

WALLACE: You haven`t give me the math.

RYAN: Well I don`t have the time -- it would take me too long to go
through all of the math.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It would take me too long to explain the math. This is a
FOX News anchor saying you haven`t given me the math. If he can`t deal
with that on a station that is friendly to he and Mr. Romney, how is he
going to go up against vice president Joe Biden?

KORNACKI: You know, I would say two things. One, is obviously he
will now be ready for this question. He will be ready to be for the
moderator or for Biden or whoever, to try to nail him down in the specific
question about which deductions are on the table if you guys are elected.
So he`ll be ready.

And I think you saw last week with how Mitt Romney hymn himself in
that debate. Mitt Romney had a sort of - he was very good as sort of
talking around if she in a broadly appealing way. The key last week, the
reason I think Romney got away with that and we are seeing, you know, maybe
I used a short term polling dance from him, is that nobody was there to
call him on it. There was no moderator, there was no -- really there was
no Obama calling him on it. So, the expectation here is that Biden is
going to try to pin him down and to try to really spell out for people, OK,
when we start talking about these deductions, this is what`s at risk if
this guy gets elected. If this guy gets elected and put the owner on Ryan
to explain to people how he can pay for the plan without, you know, without
putting these deductions a risk or telling them, hey, you know what? Yes,
those deductions are at risk. And either way those are discussions he`s
not want to be having. So really, the challenge is on Biden. He`s got to
do what Obama did not do with Romney. He has got to force him into a
corner on that.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you quickly, what do you think, will Biden press
him? Will Biden come out and really nail Mr. Ryan on Thursday night,
Steve Kornacki?

KORNACKI: I definitely think he will try. I`ve always been impressed
with Joe Biden as a debater. And I always remind people the reason he
ended up on Barack Obama`s the ticket in 2008 was because of all those
Democratic primary debates in `07 and in early `08, you know, when it was
Hillary and Obama were the stars, the guy who invariably we end up saying
won those debates was Joe Biden. He`s a very strong communicator, he is
very good in the debate setting. So, I definitely expect him to really
press the case in a way we didn`t see last week. How Ryan handles that,
that is really the million dollar question.

SHARPTON: Steve Kornacki, thank you for your time tonight.

KORNACKI: Sure.

SHARPTON: And catch Steve on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 eastern
right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, was there an intervention in the Romney campaign? News
tonight about a big fight inside team Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Rudy Giuliani, think
about it, Rudy Giuliani, there is only three things he mentioned in a
sentence, a noun, a verbal and 9/11, I mean, there is nothing else.

I`ve been negotiating since you were in congress, man. If you all had
been around enough -- maybe I`ve been around too long, they forget all the
wonderful things I`ve done here. Buy anyway, all siding aside.

Walk around in my neighborhood, go up to my own neighborhood and climb
old steel top or go up to Scranton with me. These people know the middle
class has gotten the short end, the wealthy have done very well, corporate
America has rewarded. It`s time we change it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with the rebellion inside the
Romney campaign. A new article detailed the turmoil playing out behind the
scenes. For months, Ann Romney and her son Tagg felt a private frustration
with campaign officials, a frustration that finally boiled over before the
debate. What followed was a family intervention, and now the family`s
taking charge.

The high command has changed Romney`s oldest son Tagg is in the
driver`s seat. And there`s a whole new focus. The family`s putting an
emphasis on a softer and more moderate image for the GOP nominee, a little
let me be Mitt approach, to reflect the looser, generous and more
approachable Romney. Is letting Mitt be Mitt enough? And could
intervention backfire?

Joining me now Dana Milbank, columnist for "The Washington Post," and
Alicia Menendez, host and producer for HuffPost Live. Thank you both for
being here tonight.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, HOST AND PRODUCER, HUFFPOST LIVE: Hey, Rev.

DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Hi, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Dana, let me go to you first. Let Mitt be Mitt, how does
that strike you?

MILBANK: See, I don`t buy this, Reverend, this whole idea that, you
know, that his wife and his son swoop in and bring out the authentic. How
do we know that the Mitt we saw last Wednesday was the real Mitt, and not
the one we saw run in the primaries, not the one we saw at the convention
this summer, not the one we saw as governor of Massachusetts. It`s not
clear to me that letting Mitt be Mitt means anything, that there is a real
and authentic Mitt.

He changes his positions the way you and I change neckties. So, I
think this is a way to sort of dress up a situation. He did this out of
necessity very clearly he saw his campaign was going down, the trajectory
was headed in, needed to try something new, and he got pretty lucky.
Because he was able to do the etch a sketch at a point where the
conservatives were desperate enough they`ll going to let him get away with
it.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, you know, Alicia, I also have my questions but
I also see the danger in letting Mitt Romney, let his head down. Because
we`ve soon some examples of that. Let me show you.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FMR. GOV. MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 47
percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what, all
right? 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.

I`m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.

Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes -- of course
they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people.

(LAUGHTER)

So, where do you think it goes?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It goes in their pocket.

ROMNEY: Whose pocket? Whose pockets? People`s pockets.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So there, Alicia, are some examples of Mitt being Mitt,
being spontaneous, unscripted. And the fact is on personal traits,
President Obama still leads Romney, even in polling release after the
debate on whose true for an honest. President Obama leads 44 to 39. On
who takes a more moderate position? Obama leads 49 to 39. On who connects
with ordinary Americans, 59 to 39. How does Mitt Romney turn his numbers
around?

MENENDEZ: Apparently by being Mitt. Listen, I have a lot of sympathy
and my heart goes out to the Romney family. It`s hard to watch someone you
love and someone you know will be different out there on the campaign
trail. When my father was running for Senate six years ago for the first
time, they sat us down and told us to mind our own business, they remind us
though, when your family on the campaign trail, your job is to actually
just to be a listening ear, not to get the candidate all twisted about poll
numbers, but they are seeing those numbers too. And they know that they
don`t reflect the person that they know well.

I think at this point, though, the reason we`re seeing this -- is this
would not have leaked if someone didn`t want it out there is that this is
starting to become a blame game. They`re deciding, you know, whether or
not this is going to get tagged on the consultants who have been there
since the very beginning, the staff that`s been there since the very
beginning, or if they can say, listen, the family intervened, they wanted
to do things their way and that`s why he did not win at the end of the day.
So, I think what we`re seeing here is the beginning ruminations of that.

SHARPTON: But Dana, isn`t it a danger if the family in all due
respect, the families get too involved, let me give you an example.
Governor Romney`s son Josh introduced his dad today at an event. And he
implied that the president of the United States was an obstinate child
during the debate. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSH ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S SON: Me and my brothers were responsible
for my dad doing so well. We were the ones that kept saying the same thing
over and over. And we`d say the same lie over and over, and my day learned
then not to believe it. So while we didn`t go to any of the formal debate
preparation, we did the real hard stuff. So, as a father he learned how to
debate an obstinate child, so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, Dana, with Mitt Romney`s son saying the President
was like he and his brothers, lying over and over and over again, a member
of the family that would have to defend that. He got to clearly press
answer what lies -- isn`t that risky to put family out there like that and
let them take over the campaign?

MILBANK: Well, we`ve seen the risk of this before, Reverend. Because
it was the Romney sons, the ones responsible for telling the world about
Seamus the dog being strapped to the roof of the family car. So, there`s
clearly a risk in letting the family members talk so much and they`ve had
to walk back things that one thing more that the sons have said in the
past.

That`s why I`m sort of skeptical, I think it`s just too convenient
that they`re putting out this line now that somehow there`s been some
change that the family is really in control. I suspect they`re doing what
they were doing all along, and they`re looking for a way to explain in a
real -- try to make it look real what is really just a crafted political
calculations. The hard thing wasn`t working. Hey, let`s just throw
everything out the window over the course of a week and try to run this guy
as something else. Maybe that will work. And now, they`re trying to work
backwards to put some sort of a narrative around that.

SHARPTON: Alicia, in all respect to members of families like you`ve
been to running, not only did Romney change his approach, he changed his
politics. I mean, he changed policy. That`s not family driven. For him
to deny his $5 trillion tax cut and say that his health plan was going to
cover preexisting conditions, this is a policy shift, a lot deeper than him
being approachable and all of that.

MENENDEZ: Right. And if this is in fact coming from the family, this
is clearly the piece of it that they don`t understand. You can put a
softer Mitt out there, he can give as many policy speeches as he wants to
just, you know, to be part of this supposed plan. If his policies don`t
match up with that rhetoric and with that language, then it doesn`t mean
anything to the American people. You know, when you see those numbers
about the fact that a lot of Americans feel that President Obama much more
understands what they`re going through than Mitt Romney does, that`s not
about tone. That`s about policy. That`s about turning Medicare into a
voucher system.

SHARPTON: Right.

MENENDEZ: It`s about taking positions on immigration, where you
wouldn`t support deferred action for, you know, young dreamers. It`s about
an entire series of policy positions that he took during this primary and
during the primary four years ago that are out of step with mainstream
Americans. And there`s no amount of personal change that is ever going to
explain to voters who are deciding who to vote for in November who he is
and what he stands for. He`s tethered to those policy positions. His only
option is to double down. Any change in language isn`t going to be much.

Dana Milbank, Alicia Menendez, I`m going to have to leave it there.
Thanks for your time this evening.

MENENDEZ: Thank you, Rev.

MILBANK: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, breaking news in Ohio. The continuing efforts
by the republican secretary of state to suppress the vote.

Plus, these ugly billboards are popping up in minority neighborhoods
in swing states. Who is behind this voter intimidation?

And Governor Romney`s war on Big Bird takes a big twist today.
That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: That was Will.I.Am playing DJ before the Obama rally today
in Ohio, having some fun with Mitt Romney`s attack on Big Bird. It`s still
ruffling a lot of feathers. And now, the Obama campaign has a new ad
ridiculing the plan to defund "Sesame Street." And since the presidential
debate we have seen more and more of the "Sesame Street" gang crashing
Romney events. Here`s Elmo and friends outside a Romney rally today in
Iowa.

And Romney just snubbed Nickelodeon, skipping the network`s special
event on the election, refusing to answer questions from kids across the
country. President Obama`s already did the event, but Romney`s campaign
says, he couldn`t fit it in his schedule. The real issue here is isn`t
Nickelodeon or Big Bird, it`s what the Romney/Ryan agenda would do to our
children.

The Ryan budget includes devastating cuts to program that help feed
kids in America`s poor and working-class families. It also slashes federal
aid for reduced cost school launches. I`ve said before, this election
isn`t about Obama. It`s about your mama, and the real families and the
real kids that live there.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the relentless right-wing push to suppress
your vote. We told you about Jon Husted, Ohio`s republican secretary of
state who`s appealing a ruling that reinstated early voting in the last
three days before the election. In 2008, 93,000 Ohioans voted in the final
three days. That`s why President Obama sued Husted for cutting off early
voting, and he won, but the secretary of state refuses to go away. Let`s
be clear what`s going on here. We have a guy in charge of elections doing
everything he can to make it harder for people to vote. It seems crazy,
right? So who is this man?

Joining me now from Ohio is Ohio State Representative Kathleen Clyde.
And Joe Madison, nationally syndicated radio host of "Mornings with
Madison." Thank you both for joining me tonight.

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

STATE REP. KATHLEEN CLYDE (D), OHIO: Glad to be here.

SHARPTON: Representative Clyde, let`s go to you first. You know, Jon
Husted well. What can you tell our viewers about this man?

CLYDE: Well, today`s decision shows us he really will stop at nothing
to fight voters having access to the polls, and having their votes counted.
Appealing this decision, the United States Supreme Court to have voting on
the three busiest days of early voting in Ohio is yet another attempt to
suppress the vote, and so close to Election Day. It`s really unfair to the
voters to be changing the rolls so close to the time when the big day is
here.

SHARPTON: Now, it`s interesting you say that, because he was singing
a different tune just in January of this year. Husted himself said, after
realizing that curtailing early voting in Ohio was actually unpopular, he
told the Ohio Association of Election Officials that he wanted to, quote,
"Start over after the 2012 election." He promised no more midstream
changes, and he says we need more stability and less drama.

He claimed, quote, "We don`t need to confused voters." And that`s
what he said in January, representative. Now, under 30 days before the
election, he wants to go to the Supreme Court, over the court of appeals
saying let people vote those last three days? Seems like 180 degrees turn.
Why?

CLYDE: That`s exactly right. And he can`t get the decision that he
wants out of the federal courts. We`ve had two federal courts now say, let
the voters vote on these three important days of early voting in Ohio. And
yet you did have him say that, you know, we can`t be changing the rules so
close to the game, but here he is, appealing this decision and throwing
Ohio elections into a state of confusion about which days were allowed to
vote. It`s really just seems to be yet another attack on the right to vote
here in Ohio. And it`s been very difficult to be a part of, you know,
fighting these attacks.

SHARPTON: Joe Madison, 93,000 people voted in the last three days in
2008, are they afraid and are blatantly trying to play politics using the
legal system or misusing it in 2012?

MADISON: And what you have, and I think the state legislator may
inadvertently had said something. This is about throwing it into
confusion. You know and I know having done voter registration for what,
the last couple of decades, when people are confused, you`re hoping that
they just won`t turn out at the polls. Now, I think that`s going to
backfire. But I think about when two of us were doing voter registration,
you remember a couple of decades ago in Ohio, Sherrod Brown was an
individual who actually marched with us from Cincinnati to Cleveland.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: Registering people to vote. And, remember, the reason that
early voting came up in the first play, was because there were what, long
lines in Cleveland. And that`s how they came up with early voting, to
allow people the opportunity to vote, so there wouldn`t be these long
lines. So, I think what`s happening here is that he`s trying to create
confusion with the hopes that that will turn voters off and it`s going to
backfire.

SHARPTON: And it`s targeted because, Joe, when you look how it
affects African-Americans disproportionately, in fact in Cayuga County,
African-Americans used early in-person voting at approximately 26 times the
rate of white voters.

MADISON: And that`s -- and you`re absolutely right. And if you`ve
noticed, no one on the other side went after right-in votes. Early mailing
votes. They didn`t go after that, you know why? And that is because
republican voters tend to use that more than the early voting. So, here`s
what I would suggests that ministers do, churches do, organizations do.
And that is do the all souls to the church. I think don`t get confused, be
determined, you`re going to go vote, don`t accept these provisional ballots
or anything else. This is about trying to confused people to the point
that they simply won`t go to the polls and vote. And I will wager -- not
to bet you, Reverend, because you`re a good Christian.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: But I would wager that the Supreme Court is probably not
going to hear this case because of the way the decision was written in the
circuit court.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: And can you imagine for people in Ohio, the money they
spent. The money they`re spending.

SHARPTON: Well, we`re going to stay on this, Kathleen Clyde and Joe
Madison. Thank you both for joining us.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And Kathleen, when Joe said, we were registering voters a
couple decades ago, I was a little boy.

(LAUGHTER)

Why are these billboards up in inner city African-American
neighborhoods, the ugly right-wing intimidation plan is exposed. Next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, I`m here in Virginia on a voter engagement
tour with my civil rights organization, National Action Network. We`re
making sure everyone gets their voice heard in 28 days. But the right wing
is trying to scare voters away. Look at this bulletin board. It`s popping
up in minority neighborhoods in Milwaukie, Wisconsin. With the big
headline -- voter fraud is a felony. Three years in prison, $10,000 fine.
And the woman on the right telling us -- we voted illegally.

In Ohio, this billboard is in a black neighborhood around Cleveland.
They went up last week, just as early voting started. Voting fraud is a
felony, three-and-a-half years, $10,000 fine. A private family foundation
is reportedly behind them. What that means is a mystery. We tried to find
out who they are. So far they haven`t responded to our requests. City
Councilwoman Phyllis Cleveland is determined to get answers.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHYLLIS CLEVELAND, COUNCILWOMAN, CLEVELAND CITY: This is clearly an
attempt at voter intimidation. I want to find out who this anonymous
private family foundation is who paid for it, number one because anybody
who is out here throwing rocks, they need to show their hand as well. You
can`t send intimidating and threatening messages to an entire community and
then hide behind a sign.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: They`re doing it from behind a veil of secrecy, and voter
fraud barely exists in these states. In Wisconsin, 23 cases in 11 million
votes cast in seven years. In Ohio, only five in nearly 14 million votes
in over eight years. We know what they`re up to, and we won`t let them.
It`s your right to vote. Don`t be afraid. Stand up and be counted. Don`t
be afraid to use your vote with the things that are at stake, from Medicare
to Medicaid to Social Security.

You should be afraid not to vote. Stand up, be counted. Don`t let
people intimidate you for exercising what people died to give you the right
to have.

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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