updated 10/16/2012 11:24:18 AM ET 2012-10-16T15:24:18

POLITICS NATION
October 15, 2012

Guests: Bob Shrum; Carl Bernstein, James Peterson, Michelle Cottle, Nina Turner


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

Tonight`s lead, the Romney campaign can`t handle the truth. We talked
a lot about Mitt Romney lurking to the Senate to attract moderate voters
but on one big issue, being there for the middle class, the Romney evasions
have just gone too far and now he and his campaign have been caught.

He is trying to hide the simple fact that if he sticks to his plan, he
will have to raise taxes on the middle class and he has been shredding the
truth to say that`s not true. It is something every voter should want to
know the facts about.

For weeks, Romney`s been saying that there are six studies that defend
his tax plan, 67 million Americans saw him, Romney himself, make that claim
in the first debate against the president.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will lower taxes on middle
income families. Now, you cite a study. There are six other studies that
looked at the study you described and say it`s completely wrong.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So, six studies say it`s completely wrong? Congressman
Ryan made that same point in his debate with vice president Biden with more
than 51 million people watching.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARTHA RADDATZ, ABC NEWS: You guarantee this math will add up?

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Absolutely. Six
studies have guaranteed, six studies have verified that this math adds up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: There`s that number again. Six. Six again. Six studies
say the Romney/Ryan math adds up. The talking point`s been so great that a
top Romney adviser took it for a spin over to the home field this weekend.
And he wasn`t expecting this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six different studies have said this is entirely
doable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That wasn`t the question. Some of them are blog
and independent groups.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These are very credible sources and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of them is a from a guy who -- a blog from a
top adviser to George W. Bush. These are hardly nonpartisan studies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well Chris, I think if you look at Harvard and
AEI, they are very credible sources.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You wouldn`t say that AEI is a conservative think
tank?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would say that it is a light leaning think tank
that doesn`t make it not credible.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It doesn`t make it partisan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Wow. That one had to hurt. Here`s how questionable this
six laws are. Two are blogs by the conservative think tank, American
enterprise institute. Another nonpartisan study is from the conservative
think tank, the heritage foundation. Their own Web site said the mission
is to formulate and promote conservative public policies.

Another is a paper written by, ready for this one, a former Bush
adviser. Study number five, five says -- is written by "the Wall Street
Journal," an op-ed in "the Wall Street Journal" written by an adviser to
the Romney campaign.

And lucky number six is another blog post written again by the same
adviser to the Romney campaign. This is the kind of campaign he`s running.
I mean, have we ever seen anything like this in politics? Mr. Romney wants
the American people to trust him. But how can you trust a man who has no
problem bending the truth to 67 million Americans?

Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor at large for salon.com and an
MSNBC political analyst and Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, NYU professor
and a former senior advisor to the Kerry and Gore campaign.

Let me thank you both for being here this evening.

JOAN WALSH, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, SALON.COM: Thank you.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Glad to be here.

SHARPTON: Bob, let me go to you first. Six studies. I mean, wow.
What do you have to say? Six studies?

SHRUM: Well, I mean, you know after I watched Ryan say that during
the vice presidential debate and gulping water every two minutes, I thought
maybe he had to wash his mouth out.

There are not six studies. As you point out, several of them are blog
posts. And you know, when Ed Gillespie says Harvard is pretty good at
this, what he was talking about is that Martin Feldstein is associated with
Harvard. But, if you read what Feldstein wrote, he is not assessing the
Romney plan. He says you would have to raise taxes on everybody over
$100,000. Romney says he won`t touch anybody under $200,000.

There`s a new study out now by the joint congressional committee on
taxation that says if you close every one of these loopholes, if you get
rid of every one of these tax benefits, you can only pay for four percent
across the board tax cut.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: Look. This is supply side dribble. We had it under Bush. We
had a huge deficit. No net job creation virtually and you can contrast
that with Clinton who has to pay a little more, $22 million balance budget.

SHARPTON: Now, let me go to you in a minute, Joan. Even former
McCain economic adviser, Mark Zandi, has argued that independent analysis
is correct, the Romney tax plan simply doesn`t added a up. Listen to
Zandi.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: The tax policy says, knowing what we
know about their plan, it`s not possible.

MARK ZANDI, FORMER MCCAIN`S ECONOMIC ADVISER: Yes, you know, I think
the tax policy center is the definitive study. They are nonpartisan. They
are very good. They say, given the numbers that they`ve been provided by
the Romney campaign, no, it will not add up. Now, the arithmetic does not
work as it is right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It doesn`t add a up. Now again, I`m not dealing with as
much on the numbers and the policy as I can the dishonesty. How does a man
run for the president of the United States, stand up in the first
presidential debate, everyone says he won and he stands up and blatantly
distort facts, six independent studies where all of these are Republican
operatives, a couple of them written by an adviser to the campaign. They
are bloggers. I mean, this is the most arrogant display of honesty that
I`ve ever seen in politics.

WALSH: It is. I mean, you know, we have a little publications.
Salon has taken a crack of this. People have pointed out that there are
not six independent studies, Reverend Al. That there`s one study that
national nonpartisan study and then there is these blog posts. I think
there might be seven tweets, facebook posts and a man in times square with
a sign that also support Romney. But that`s how thin it is. But, he
hasn`t really been challenged by mainstream media. And this is FOX. How
embarrassing is it that FOX is not even listening to him anymore and has
felt like -- Chris Wallace feels like he has to come in and he has got to
say, these things don`t add up. So, I really --

SHARPTON: What is stunning for Chris Wallace is that when you say
that the one independent study that Joan is talking about, Bob, the tax
policy center said it doesn`t added up. The one independent study does not
agree that it adds up.

SHRUM: Right.

SHARPTON: And yet Romney calls the tax center analysis garbage.

SHRUM: Yes.

SHARPTON: He doesn`t always feel that when November press release
from the teen, he call a group objective third-party analysis. Even last
week, they cited the tax policy center in hitting the president. So they
say his plan doesn`t add up. Garbage. If they say something against the
president, they are credible.

SHRUM: Yes. Look, you can call the whole Romney campaign a strategy
of deceit or a strategy of lies. It`s about his tax plan which, frankly,
he came up with because on the back of an envelope because the right wing
was so unhappy that he wasn`t proposing a bigger tax cut. I think this
came out in February or March. There was no analysis done. They just
offered this out there as red meat. And then, they said we are going to
close loopholes. They won`t tell you which ones. They can`t afford to say
to people, we are going to take away your home interest mortgage deduction.
We are going to take away your deduction for state and local taxes.

But, t isn`t just about tax policy. Look what they have done on
Medicare? They said current senior wouldn`t be hurt. In fact, they would
pay $600 more a year for their prescription drugs. And people who are
nearing retirement would pay up to $6,000 more a year for Medicare. They
just bold-face lie about it and hope that they can get away with it.

And by the way, Chris Wallace did a very good job there. He did what
a newsman supposed to do. He pushed in, he asked a tough question, and he
got Ed Gillespie to admit there wasn`t much there.

SHARPTON: Joan, tomorrow night is the big second debate. And I think
that because of the first debate there`s a lot more riding on this than
usually in a second debate for president.

New details on how team Obama`s approaching the debate. One says a
new Obama memo is debunking the claims. Romney will make in advance. They
already putting out with a no, he is going and it debunking it. And NBC
reports the president will bring up the 47 percent comments at tomorrow`s
debate. What do you think?

WALSH: Well, I`m happy to hear that, Reverend Al. I think that we
all know that the president was not as sharp as he needs to be and there is
so much, including this tax plan, including these tax details. He`s got to
hammer him on the failure to provide any details. He has got to hammer him
on deceptions.

And I think we also have to remember that a fighting Barack Obama is a
winning Barack Obama. When he closed the deal in 2008, he was coming out
strong with a populous message. He`s been going strong for the last year
with a populous concrete message about how will help the middle class and
he was going very strong on that 47 percent, a horrible set of comments
that Mitt Romney made. So, I think that we have to see that Barack Obama
because when people feel that he`s in the ring, he`s fighting for them and
he`s really countering Mitt Romney, not just standing there, they know that
he`s on their side.

SHARPTON: But Bob, a lot of people want to see them fight because
according to the national polls, the race is tight. It`s also tight in key
battleground state. A new PPP poll out today shows Obama with a five-point
lead in Ohio but narrowly losing in Florida and North Carolina.

Swing state polls last week showed Obama ahead by three points in
Wisconsin, by seven in Michigan, but also losing to Romney in Colorado and
Virginia. I mean, what do you make of the state of the race right now,
Bob?

SHRUM: Well, I think the whole variety of polls all over the place, I
think the race has tightened since the first debate. And Joan is
absolutely right that the fighting Barack Obama has to show up tomorrow
night. And by the way, it doesn`t have to be obnoxious. All he has to do
is when he gets asked a question by someone in the audience, stand up and
say, look, there`s a real difference between what I would do and what
governor Romney would do. And then, outline that difference and show how
he`s going to stand up and fight for the middle class. I think the
structure of this race still fundamentally favors the president, assuming
tomorrow goes well, because Romney virtually has to run the table,
especially if Obama holds that lead in Ohio.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, should the president point out the blatant
dishonesty and distortions of Mr. Romney and his campaign to Mr. Romney
tomorrow night in front of, I`m sure, what is going to be a record breaking
crowd of viewers for the second debate?

WALSH: Yes. I think he has to. And you know, they are trying to put
all kinds of restrictions on Candy Crowley. They don`t want her to ask
follow ups. They don`t her to be the fact checker. So, I think the
president has to, as Bob said, in a charming, polite way, but a clear
direct way. When things like this comes up, if he uses - that we hear with
the six studies again, if he`s brazen enough to tell uses thus that six
studies back up the tax plan, I think the president has to come up and say,
even Chris Wallace doesn`t believe you sir. There`s no truth to what
you`re saying. I think he`s got to be somewhat of a fact checker in there
and let people know when this guy is saying what he needs to say to win.

SHARPTON: Joan Walsh and Bob Shrum, thanks for your time this evening
to both of you.

WALSH: Thanks, Rev.

SHRUM: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a man who knows all about getting to the truth.
He blew the lid off of Watergate. So, what will he have to say about all
around the secrecy? How can Republicans get the facts on jobs?

Carl Bernstein joins us live. You want to hear what he has to say.

Plus, how did this t-shirt saying, quote, "put the white back in the
White House" make it into a Romney rally? And the first lady will not be
voting on Election Day. We will tell you why.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: It`s in spite of their opposition.

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Oh, my God.

RYAN: They have given 20 waivers of the sanctions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What`s he laughing about?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe he just caught your running mate telling
a lie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yep, that will happen. Every time he opens his
mouth and words come out, it just happens.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Early voting was a hot topic today especially with this photo of the
first lady showing off her absentee ballot. She inspired folks to share
their stories.

David says, he voted this morning.

While Phillip is sending his ballot in tomorrow.

Patty said, I voted early for your husband, too, Michelle. Great
minds think alike.

Early voting is already playing a big role in this election. We will
have more on that coming up.

Have you voted yet? We want to know. 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: Welcome back.

I`ve noticed something about the Romney folks during this campaign.
When the economy starts looking up, they start looking a little down in the
mouth. They just can`t admit the economy is getting better.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: When President Obama came into office, he did inherit a tough
situation. Problem is, he made things worse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama made the economy worse? What planet are
these guys living on? This is the same old talking point that Mitt Romney
had so much trouble with earlier in the campaign. Remember how he couldn`t
decide whether the economy was getting better or not?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When he took office, the
economy was in recession and he made it worse. And he made it last longer.

He didn`t create the recession, but he made it worse and longer.

He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.

I didn`t say that things are worse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Is that a hard argument to make, if you
are saying like OK, he inherited this recession and he took a bunch of
steps to try to turn the economy around and now we`re seeing more jobs but
vote against him anyway?

ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? Because this happens to be
the truth.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You`re right, governor. It just happens to be the truth.
The economy is getting better. Just look at how many private sector jobs
we lost at the end of the Bush era. Nearly two million jobs in the last
quarter of 2008 alone. But under President Obama, we`ve had 31 straight
month of private sector job growth. The unemployment rate is now 7.8
percent, lower than when the president took office and the stock market has
been rising steadily. The Dow was up 61 percent since the week he took
office.

Look, the entire rationale for Romney`s campaign is that he can fix
the economy. But the economy`s already being fixed and the only ideas that
Romney has to offer are the same ones that ruined the economy in the first
place.

Joining me now is the one and only Carl Bernstein. He`s a former
"Washington Post" reporter who helped break the Watergate scandal. He`s
now a contributor to "the daily beast."

Mr. Bernstein, thanks for being here tonight.

CARL BERNSTEIN, CONTRIBUTOR, THE DAILY BEAST: Good to be here, Al.

SHARPTON: If the economy is getting better, what`s the Romney
rationale for running?

The economy is getting better. There is no question about it. It`s
not getting better as fast as most people would like. The real thing is
and the question that we need to ask is, what has kept the economy from
really moving and is it Republican obstructionism in Washington? Has the
Republican party in Washington contributed to coming across and joining
with Democrats in ways to make the economy better? I think the answer is
no. It`s in the obstructionist party in Washington. It has been in trying
to inhibit the economy through it is ideology rather than trying to take
the brakes off and give it a real chance to breathe.

The real question is why. I think we have a real radical party in
Washington for the first time in our history. We heard from Republicans
over the years, Democrats soft on communism, whatever. This is a real
radical party. Romney is captive of it to a large extent. And that`s what
we are seeing in this ideological argument.

The other real issue is President Obama. And you`ve got to put these two
things side by side. The record of the Republican Party and logic and
Romney`s truthfulness and whether he has been consistent in his record over
the years. Those, to me, are the irons.

SHARPTON: OK. You have a president`s record, Congress` record and
Romney`s truthfulness. You are legendary dealing with making people
accountable and being truthful. The Romney blatant misrepresentation, six
experts and all of this, have you, Carl Bernstein, ever seen anything in a
campaign, this arrogant in terms of being false?

BERNSTEIN: I think there is always levels of mendacity. I think that
this campaign particularly through surrogates would also, through the
Republican candidates so has had an usual amount of mendacity. It puts a
very high bar up for the president and his party not to go there. And can
the other side find where they have gone there? One of the problem is, we
know have a belief in this country. They all do it. All politicians lie,
the president lies, his opponent lies. I think that hurts Obama that
belief, and I think it`s hard to get past it.

I think what the president has to do is more effectively lay out what
his opposition has been in Washington and what he has tried to do and let
the cards fall on that basis, then, he will lose.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this because you are the personification of
media that had a bite that made something happen, changed history. Why
does the media appear so toothless now? Aside from the president`s all
accountability, where is the media in terms of their bite?

BERNSTEIN: I don`t buy it. I think the media is there. I think the
term media is a very big term. I think the reason we now about this
mendacity is because of the media. What we have is a 24-hour hot house, a
web-based media environment in which we don`t have reliable sources of
truthful, contextual information that the country can agree on as reliable
sources of information.

The media has become part of a cultural war that has been going on for
30 years and we`re all poorer for it. But those sources and those
reporters are there. I think there`s a bigger problem that they are not
being heard, that there are citizens in this country increasingly on both
sides to look for information, to reinforce their prejudices, their
ideologies. Their orthodox is and not be open to real debate.

And I think we are seeing it in this election. That if we could have
a truth-based debate, then we could have some really intelligent decision
making in this race. So, I think we`re heading towards a kind of chaos. I
think that what happened in that debate with the president the other night
is he let the genie out of the bottle in terms of a perception of him as an
arrogant, diffident, removed leader and there is something to that, I
think.

Certainly there are people in his own party that believe that is
perhaps a problem with him. But of these dimensions, it ignores the job
he`s done. It`s very hard now to put that in context and he is stuck with
his performance in that debate and now he`s going to have --

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: What is going to happen tomorrow night? What would you say
he and Romney ought to do tomorrow night?

BERNSTEIN: I don`t tell president and candidates what to do. I think
--

SHARPTON: What are you looking for tomorrow night?

BERNSTEIN: I would be looking for a very hard hitting, cool, factual
resuscitation of what the party has done and what the other party has not
done or what they have done has been obstructionist. And to call Romney,
particularly on the 47 percent. Romney meant that. This was no accident.
Joe Biden was right the other night. It`s part of the rhetoric. It`s part
of the orthodox. He is part of the basic campaign in the Republican Party.
Has been all along. And that`s why I say this is a radical party. Now
Romney is trying to escape that radical party and moved to the center and I
doubt that the presidential --

SHARPTON: But, isn`t that part of the problem, Carl? You have Romney
talking about 47 percent, corporations or people standing up telling
blatant mistruths and yet they call the president arrogant? I don`t know
what`s more arrogant than what Romney is doing.

BERNSTEIN: I say look, I think this is a demon that Obama has like
all presidents have some demons or some (INAUDIBLE) and that is a
perception. I`m not saying that the perception is altogether accurate.
I`m saying that if he has got a weak spot, there are people in Washington
who see this as his weak spot and they know that.

But, I don`t think it`s all that important. It`s perception, its
atmosphere, its television theater. The real question is, what has he
done, what hasn`t he done? What has the other party done? What haven`t
they done? How they engaged? Who is responsible for moving the economy
forward? Who is responsible for obstructing it? Those are the questions
that ought to be answered in this debate so that reasonable people -- and
there are not too many people that are reasonable out there and who are
opened to that kind of discussion. But, that`s what is going to decide the
election, are those people who are still open to the argument and one of
these candidates is going to make the better, more truthful argument and if
you can stick to it and get it across, I think that candidate will prevail.

SHRUM: The one and only Carl Bernstein. It`s a real pleasure to have
you. Thank you for coming on tonight.

Coming up, there`s news on the ugly billboards that have shown up in
minority neighborhoods. Who is behind the right wing plan to intimidate
voters? We are live in Ohio tonight.

And what is the Romney campaign saying about this t-shirt that made it
into one of their rallies?

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: During the Thursday`s debate, vice
president Biden repeatedly criticized Paul Ryan`s statement calling them a
bunch of stuff. In fairness, a bunch of stuff is the entire text of the
Romney/Ryan economic plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back. Have you ever had a bad boss? You know, a
bad boss?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Greed, for lack of a better word, is good.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Your incompetence do not interest me.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m going to need you to go ahead and come in
tomorrow. So if you could be here around 9:00, that would be great. OK?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Lloyd!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Pretty scary. But not as scary as somewhat real life
bosses are doing right now. You all know the billionaire Koch Brothers.
They are planning on spend $400 million on this year`s election and now
they are telling employees how to vote. The magazine in these times has
obtained a mailer Koch Industries, sent to some workers, it includes a list
of preferred candidates and anti-Obama editorials.

It also says is many of our and more than 50,000 U.S. employees and
contractors may suffer the consequences if their candidates don`t win. And
the Kochs aren`t the only boss strong army employees. In all this,
Governor Romney campaigned with a group of Ohio miners who were told
attendance were mandatory and the head of the mining company once told
workers if an election did not go his way, the coal industry will be
eliminated and so will your jobs.

The CEO of a Michigan auto parts company recently told workers to vote
for smaller government and less government. And the CEO of a Florida time
share company wrote to employees, that if President Obama is re-elected,
quote, "I will have no choice but to reduce the size of these companies."
These sound like threats to me. The bosses are pushing a candidate who
wants tax breaks for the rich and less regulation. Great for CEOs but not
for average workers. Did they think we wouldn`t notice their gender? Nice
try but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with a photo that`s lead up the way and has a
lot about Facebook fans very upset. It was taken at a Romney/Ryan rally in
Ohio on Friday and it shows a man wearing a t-shirt saying, quote, "Put the
white back in the White House." The Getty photographer who took the
picture confirms it was taken inside the rally, not outside. The Romney
campaign rightly calls the t-shirt reprehensible and says, it has no place
in this election. But I have to wonder how he made it inside the rally in
the first place. Did anyone notice his shirt?

It points to something ugly that is simmering beneath the surface of
this campaign. It`s part of a political climate that says, the President
is un-American and anti-American. A view that even suggests he`s not
American at all. In Wisconsin yesterday, the son of republican Senate
candidate Tommy Thompson made this not so funny joke about the President.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JASON THOMPSON, SON OF SENATE CANDIDATE TOMMY THOMPSON: We have the
opportunity to send President Obama back to Chicago or Kenya.

(APPLAUSE)

We have an opportunity to --

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: We`re taking donations for that Kenya trip.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Send him back to Kenya? Really? That was at a republican
political breakfast. The Thompson campaign says, he`s apologized but it`s
not the first time we`ve heard this kind of thing during this election
season. Folks, politics can be an ugly affair but this stuff has to stop.

Joining me now is Dr. James Peterson, president at Lehigh University
and a contributor to the Grio.com. And Michelle Cottle, Washington
correspondent for Newsweek and "The Daily Beast." Thanks you both for
joining me.

MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Thanks, Reverend.

DR. JAMES PETERSON, LEHIGH UNIVERSITY: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: James, let`s get back to this t-shirt. Are you surprised
to see this kind of thing at a presidential campaign rally in the year
2012?

PETERSON: I`m surprised that they allowed the person to get into the
interior of the event and surprised that they didn`t notice that a Getty
photographer was taking a picture of it. So, that I mean, is shocking.
But I`m not surprise that that sentiment is expressed at around the rally,
around a republican rally because a lot of these sentiments around race and
a lot of the sort of uttering and birtherism directed at the President
really does reside in the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: Now, Michelle, when we see Tommy Thompson`s son telling
this Kenya not so funny joke, birther kind of joke, we`ve seen it before.
I might remind people that Mitt Romney son Matt apologized after making a
birther joke about President Obama. Let me play it to you, Michelle.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MATT ROMNEY, SON OF MITT ROMNEY: I heard someone suggest that the
other day that as soon as President Obama releases his grades and birth
certificate and sort of a long list of things, then maybe he`d do it.

TAGG ROMNEY, SON OF MITT ROMNEY: That was not my dad saying that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, I man, what`s the play here? What are they doing?
What game are we playing here, with all of this un-American, not America,
Kenya, Senate candidate son, the presidential candidate son? And then
later, ops, I`m sorry, what`s going on here Michelle?

COTTLE: Look, they are trying to band with people, they`re trying to
get in there and do the wink-wink, nudge-nudge, isn`t this all amusing?
But there is a fringe within the party that believes this. And so, it`s
actually really kind of dangerous thing to play with. Just because you
know that it`s not true. So, you`re above it all. There`s a lot of people
out there who still are somehow convince that the President comes from
Kenya.

SHARPTON: Now -- yes, go ahead, James.

PETERSON: They are playing to a minority within the sort of a red
meat radical base of the Republican Party and -- like, where the t-shirts?
You know, Romney`s own birther joke. You know, all the birtherism and all
the uttering directed at the President is speaking to a base that they to
use to try to galvanize within the Republican Party.

SHARPTON: But it seems to be working James, if you look at the fact
that in August of 2008, 16 percent of GOP voters thought the President was
a Muslim. In July of 2012, it`s double. Thirty percent believing. And
even you`re seeing this birther game being played at the highest level of
the campaign. Mitt Romney himself, not his son, Mitt Romney himself, not
his son, Mitt Romney himself made a birth certificate comment in August of
this year. But insisted, he wasn`t talking about President Obama. Let me
show you what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I was born at Harper
hospital. No one has ever asked to see my birth certificate. They know
that this is the place that we were born and raised.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, of course, he wasn`t talking about President Obama,
right?

PETERSON: There`s only one way to read it and that`s in the context
of all of the birtherism and, again, it`s sad when Romney stoops to that
level. And a lot of folks trying to defend him Rev. A lot of folks tried
to tell us that Romney made a mistake. He was just making an awkward joke.
But how can that exist within the context of birtherism? And within the
context of all these different instances and the way in which people try to
say, this President is not American or he`s Muslim or he`s Kenyan, I mean,
there`s too many of these now to actually deny the proposition that some of
this is quite deliberate.

SHARPTON: And Michelle, is everybody supposedly awkward? I mean, you
have this pattern from the sons to the candidate to the candidates for
Senate. You have John Sununu. Let me show you senior advisor to Mr.
Romney, John Sununu, how he went and made certain statements about the
President not being really American or was un-American. Let me show you
John Sununu.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN SUNUNU, ROMNEY SUPPORTER:

I wish this president would learn how to be an American.

He has no idea how the American system functions.

He does not understand America. It`s not just that he doesn`t
understand the private sector, he doesn`t understand America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is three times. This is a Romney surrogate. So, I
mean, there`s too many people too often saying the same thing for it not to
be a strategy in here somewhere, Michelle.

COTTLE: Look, politics is a game where you have to whip up the base.
We play it like kind of like a blood sport and you get out there and you
get your base really revved up so that they will do almost anything to get
to the polls for you. Now, then the problem comes later when you have to
govern or when you need to kind of stake out a kind of sensible position
for how to run the country and a lot of the Republicans in Congress have
been dealing with this because they`ve got everybody all revved up and then
found themselves unable to like give an inch when it came time to do
legislation. So it`s going to be a problem for them but don`t expect to
change it.

SHARPTON: James Peterson, Professor James Peterson and Michelle
Cottle, thank you both for your time.

COTTLE: Thanks.

PETERSON: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, more voter suppression efforts. We`ve got
news on these intimidating billboards put up in inner city African-American
neighborhoods. We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: One of the biggest surprises this year is how involved
former President Clinton has been in this campaign. But on the republican
side, we`ve seen and heard next to nothing from former President Bush.
We`re now learning new surprising details about his life out of the public
eye. New York magazine says, President Bush is, quote, "Living as
invisibly as possible." One person close to the family says, he`s becoming
increasingly agoraphobic and a former aide says, he`s taken up painting,
making portraits of dogs and Arid Texas landscapes.

Painting dogs? That`s what President Bush is doing? Instead of
campaigning for Mitt Romney? His absence highlights a huge problem for the
GOP. They still can`t come to grips with the party`s recent record. Two
wars, a debt crisis, and a great recession, and that`s the picture of the
GOP that voters have in mind as they go to the polls in this election.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`ve been talking a lot on this show about early voting.
It could decide this election. As of today, more than 1.1 million votes
have been cast. And guess who is joining the trend today. First Lady
Michelle Obama. She tweeted this photo posing with an Illinois absentee
ballot before mailing it out. She wrote in another tweet, "Hey, Barack
Obama, I just dropped my absentee ballot in the mail. I couldn`t wait for
Election Day."

Minutes later, the President tweeted, quote, "I`m following Michelle
Obama`s example and voting early." Here`s the First Lady at a rally in
Ohio today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHELLE OBAMA, U.S. FIRST LADY: Today, I voted for my husband. Yes!
It felt so good. Right now, my absentee ballot is on its way to Illinois,
my home state, which means that we are one vote closer to re-electing my
husband and moving this country forward for four more years.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s early but as of today, early voting is looking good
for the Democrats. Who are casting more ballots in some key states?
That`s why we`re seeing the right wing suppression tactics and they`re
getting more -- and we told you about these billboards popping up in some
African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods in Ohio and Wisconsin. Someone
is trying to intimidate voters but we know what they are up to and we won`t
let them. It is your right to vote. Don`t be afraid to stand up and be
counted.

Joining me now is Ohio State Senator Nina Turner. Thank you for being
here tonight.

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

SHARPTON: What can you tell us about these billboards? Are you
closer to finding out who is behind them?

TURNER: Not really, Rev. I mean, we understand that Bain Capital
owns Clear Channel but as far as who exactly paid for those billboards, we
are not certain.

SHARPTON: When you say Bank Capital owns Clear Channel, what is the
connection clear channel has to these billboards?

TURNER: Well, Clear Channel certainly just took the money. And I
mean, I don`t want to insinuate --

SHARPTON: It`s Clear Channel owns the billboard.

TURNER: They own the billboards.

SHARPTON: OK.

TURNER: Absolutely. But the fact of the matter is that all money is
not good money, Rev. And they know good and good and will when those
billboards were going up and the way that they were going up in the
communities that they were going up in, that that was not a good idea and
they`ve been catching the heat and we want to thank you Rev, and other
folks on MSNBC for really bringing this to light.

SHARPTON: Now, how many billboards are we talking about, Senator?

TURNER: There are about 30 so far across the state of Ohio. Many of
them are concentrated in the Cleveland area, primarily in African-American,
Hispanic, and poor communities, although there have been some sightings in
Columbus, again in poor neighborhoods, also in Cincinnati. I`m getting
reports that a few of the billboards are up in white neighborhoods. But it
doesn`t matter what neighborhood it`s in. It`s wrong all day long and they
know it and they know exactly what they are trying to do. And this is
deliberate. This is not by accident. They are trying to invoke fear here.

SHARPTON: And as well as 85 and Wisconsin, I know all over Ohio,
Alicia Reece who I`ve worked with tells me Cincinnati. And is trying to
invoke fear so that people will be afraid to vote, that they would be
accused of doing something wrong. I mean, this is as undemocratic and
anti-democratic as you can get.

TURNER: It is, Reverend. When you couple that, you`ve got True To
Vote here trying to get voters purge off the rows, you have a secretary of
state who has decided that he`s not going to listen to the circuit court.
He`s not going to listen to the sixth circuit court. He`s not going to
listen to any of the courts. So, he has appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court
to try to block the last three days of early voting in the last state of
Ohio. And so, we know, when you combine all of that together, you have
foolishness, folly, confusion, craziness, out and out voter suppression at
its worst going on in the state of Ohio.

SHARPTON: As well as the fact, let`s point out that there has been no
voter fraud found. All of this is to remedy what? It is a solution
looking for a problem. There has been no fraud. So, all of these
warnings, all of these dog whistles are around what? There`s no problem
that has been proven or established.

TURNER: Well, Rev, I don`t even think it`s a dog whistle anymore. I
think they are shouting it from the mountain tops exactly what they are
trying to do. And more folks need to be outraged and not just look at this
as an African-American, Hispanic or poor problem. We have a problem with
our democracy. When you have election officials deliberately trying to
take away the fundamental right to vote in this country in the 21st century
and it is absolutely un-American.

And furthermore, you know, speaking of treating the President as the
other, what they are doing is they`re treating the populations who are more
likely to vote for the president at the other from describing us as the
fool stamp army, you name it. It has become a crime to be poor, to be
African-American, to be Hispanic, under the republican controlled general
assembly in the state of Ohio and it doesn`t make sense and it`s happening
all over the country and this is not what the melting pot is about. They
are going against what America is about and it is a shame.

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

TURNER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: And let me say, you can wave flags and you can say
patriotic things. The real patriotic Americans are the people that protect
the vote and hold it sacred. That is what this country is supposed to be
built on. You cannot cover it with ceremonial patriotism and not have
practiced patriotism which is holding the vote above any level. Of people
trying to play games with it.

And if you see or hear about any voting problems in your community, we
want to know about it. Tweet us at politicsnation with the hashtag,
protect the vote. And if you`d rather use Facebook, please just come to
our Facebook page and message us there.

That`s Facebook.com/Politicsnation. We need your eyes and ears to
help us cover this important election and to protect the vote.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, the game of politics can be a tough one.
We all know that. But what we`ve seen from Governor Romney`s campaign is
remarkable. We were surprised during the first debate when Governor Romney
danced around the truth all night from taxes to health care to
unemployment. It was one thing after another. Since he left that podium,
the Obama team pundits, basically everyone who isn`t a republican has said
Mr. Romney didn`t tell the true. Now the propaganda weighing of the GOP of
FOX News is crying foul and they are going to a republican behind one of
the most notorious outbursts in political history.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The reforms I`m proposing
would not apply to those who are here illegally.

REP. JOE WILSON (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: You lie.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Yes, they are going to Joe you lie Wilson. The congressman
who became a household name for disrespecting President Obama during his
speech to a joint session of Congress. America, this actually happened
today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Do you think that they are applying a
different standard now to Governor Romney than that they demanded of you?

WILSON: Absolutely, Megyn, and indeed. My son Allen identified what
I did. It was a spontaneous town hall moment. It took them three days to
try to respond to the failure of the President`s list, exhibit of the
issues for our country. And then three days later they came back and so it
was not as spontaneous. It really was a low blow.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: First of all, Mr. Wilson, it didn`t take some of us three
days. I said, as soon as the debate was over that Mitt Romney was lying.
But more importantly, if the Republicans and the right wing has to bring
you out, who disrespected the joint sessions of Congress and the President,
it says more about them than it does about those of us that question your
candidate for president.

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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