updated 10/24/2012 10:45:24 AM ET 2012-10-24T14:45:24

POLITICS NATION
October 23, 2012

Guests: Michelle Cottle; Jamal Simmons

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

We are 14 days to Election Day and here`s where the race stands. A
new poll shows President Obama with a two-point national lead over Mitt
Romney, 48 percent to 46 percent. NBC`s battleground map shows the
president has 243 electoral votes, solidly in his corner while Mitt Romney
has 206 in his, 89 electoral votes are considered toss ups. Remember, it
takes 270 votes to win the presidency.

The latest from the "New York Times,`" 538 blog gives the president a
70 percent chance of winning. Romney has 30 percent chance. 5.1 million
people have already voted. That includes more than 812,000 people in the
key state of Ohio. We`ll have much more later in the show.

But we start with tonight`s lead. Plan of attack. At a big rally
today in Florida, the president unveiled a new 20-page plan for the
policies he`s been talking about all this year. It`s his agenda for the
future. A detailed look, the American people are not getting from Mitt
Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In this campaign, I`ve
laid out a plan for jobs and middle class security. And unlike Mitt
Romney, I`m actually proud to talk about what`s in it. Because my plan
actually will move America forward. And by the way, the math in my plan
adds up.

I ask folks, compare my plan to governor Romney`s. See which plan is
better for you and for America`s future.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president ripped Romney`s move to the middle at last
night`s debate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Now, we`ve come up with a name for this condition. It`s
called Romnesia. We had a severe outbreak last night. It was at least
stage three Romnesia. His jobs plan doesn`t really create jobs. His
deficit plan doesn`t reduce the deficit. It adds to it. His foreign
policies from the 1980s, his social policies from the 1950s. His economic
policies are from the 1920s. So everything he`s doing right now is to hide
his real positions and try to win this election.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: In the next three days, the president will crisscross the
country in an unprecedented swing state blitz. He`s visiting six toss up
states from Ohio to Nevada to Florida. He`ll also appear on the "Today"
show and he`ll stop at home in Chicago to vote. The first time ever that a
president will vote early. He`ll be everywhere. He`s even spending the
night on air force one on a red eye flight from the west coast.

And Mitt Romney, he`s avoiding the media. "Politico" says his
campaign is refusing to commit to any network interviews. The truth is
right now, only one candidate has a positive closing argument for these
final days and a clear road to victory. His name is Obama.

Joining me now is Michelle Cottle, Washington correspondent for
"Newsweek" and "the Daily Beast" and Jamal Simmons, Democratic strategist
and principle at the Raven Group.

Thank you both for joining me tonight.

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

JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Michelle, let me start with you. Fourteen days to go,
what`s the key in this final sprint?

COTTLE: Well, debates are over, a lot of it is going to come down to
ground game in tight races. It always does. Romney says he`s avoiding
media interviews. He`s going to not commit a gaffe. You know, he`s done
what he needed to do. He`s put himself out there as a reasonable a
reasonable alternative. Now, he just needs to not put his foot in his
mouth. You know, and Obama needs to get out there to look energetic and
engaged like he really wants people`s votes.

SHARPTON: Now, Jamal, I keep hearing this thing about momentum and,
yes, the race is tightening but when we look at the poll averages in nine
key swing states, President Obama leads in five states. Ohio, New
Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, Wisconsin. Romney leads in three states.
Florida, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia is a tie.

Now, NBC news political unit says if Obama wins, just Ohio, Iowa, and
Wisconsin as he`s currently ahead in those states, that that gets him over
270 electoral votes and he wins the White House. So, I mean, you almost
get the perception that this is a lot closer than it is and I don`t take
granted for granted but we`re not in panic zone, those that are with the
president here.

SIMMONS: No, people shouldn`t be in panic zones. People should be
getting out there and working. I`ve been hearing from friends out in
Michigan and people in other states. They want to go to other state.
Friends in Michigan who want to go to Ohio and see what they can do so they
can turn out.

That`s what you want to have happen in the closing weeks of the
campaign. You need that kind of enthusiasm from your folks who aren`t just
saying sitting around and saying, he`s five, six points up. I don`t have
to worry about it. I can go back to doing something else.

You got to - you want from out there in the streets and making sure
that the folks are showing up. And the president is doing his job because
he`s talking about the future. He is making it plain. People think
Romnesia is too simple, maybe it`s not come with the president. But you
know what, this president, nobody has a say. He is not (INAUDIBLE). This
president needs to go out and make a plan so they understand what is he
talking about and why they got to show up and vote.

SHARPTON: Now, -- and I agree with that assessment.

Michelle, let me go to you, the woman vote. The woman vote in this
case is going to be very important in this race. President Obama,
according to the NBC/ "Wall Street Journal" poll, President Obama 51, Mitt
Romney 43. And I think that when you poll saying who is dealing with
issues that concern women, President Obama even a larger margin, 53, Romney
25.

Is this real, real lead by the president in terms of the women vote,
is that going to be the deciding factor to you?

COTTLE: Well you know, Romney in recent days has been kind of closing
that gender gap a little bit and he`s certainly been trying at last night`s
debate, you know, it was not the war monger Romney on display. It was the
soft Romney, you know, to the point where he got labeled weak.

So, he clearly understands he has a problem. Always the Republicans
have to deal with the gender gap issue. But at this point it still looks
like Obama has a good enough lead on this, that he`s got the advantage.

SHARPTON: Let me push you on that, though. You talked about the
softer Romney, not the war monger Romney. But how many people over the
long run, we`ve got two weeks of ads, two weeks of clarity. How many
people are going to buy that for one performance? Because we also are
seeing a Romney that had done 180-degree turn from some of the things that
he said. And I`m going to get deeper in that later in the show. But I
mean, how can he sustain that?

COTTLE: Well, it depends on how closely people have been paying
attention. I mean, arguably nobody watched last night`s debate enough to
make a real big difference. But, you know, he has had real issues with
abortion discussions and gender right stuff. He has not been stellar on
women rights issue, you know, kind of traditional women`s issues. So, I
don`t think that he has the record that`s going to impress a lot of women
voters.

At the same time, at this point, the economy is the biggest issue and
he is making this appeal to all voters that he`s the one who can, you know,
get the economy back so that they won`t have to worry about putting food on
the table.

SHARPTON: Now, his argument, Jamal, has been that I`m the one that
can get the economy back on track, I`m the one that can do better, yet
polling suggests that they are really not buying his I`m the guy that can
turn the economy around. And when you look at some of the record in terms
of what he`s done in terms of his own business with Bain and outsourcing
and other things like that, in the next two weeks, if you were handling the
Obama campaign, would you be putting out the ads of what he`s done with
outsourcing? Would you be playing up places like Freeport, would you be
dealing with the fact that he will not reveal his last ten years of taxes?

As a strategist, tell me how you will walk through the next two weeks
knowing that the opponents strategy is to try and play on, I`m the guy that
can put the country back on the right economy footing.

SIMMONS: Well, first of all, I would be pretty curious to see the
kind of the minute by minute ratings of the debate last night. I got to
believe that not many people made it in that entire 90 minutes of back and
forth though, (INAUDIBLE).

I bet you a lot of them ended up in the baseball game, football game,
or WWE raw. But you`re talking about what you do going forward. I think
you really do have - I think the president`s team ought to be using
Romney`s words against himself. The president was very good at that in
debate last night and in the last couple of debate. And then you`ve got to
use those words against themselves. So people could see that this guy is
not only does he have plans that are bad but you can`t even trust what
plans it is that he might have.

And so, the poll number that I watched that I think is incredibly
important is the one where people talk about who shares your values, who
tries to look out for the middle class? And even when Romney surged up a
little bit, you never saw the president fall below when they talk about who
they trusted and who they thought shared their values.

SHARPTON: Now Michelle, quickly on this, I have to raise it. There
was not a lot of talk last night about Central America, south America,
immigration. The Latino vote has gone overwhelmingly in every poll for the
president. President Obama, 70 percent. Mitt Romney, 25 percent. This
vote, if it comes out, particularly if it comes out this lopsided, could be
critical in some of the key swing states.

COTTLE: Absolutely. And in this case, turnout is what matters. This
is where the Democrats get out to turn votes are key. You want the Latino
vote out there for him. You know, Romney did not do himself any favors in
the primaries and has not made up much ground. So, the key is getting
these voters to the poll.

SHARPTON: How would you get them out, Jamal?

SIMMONS: Well, I think the Democrats have a very strong gut to vote
operations (INAUDIBLE) -- I was down in Tampa couple of weeks ago and I saw
what they were doing in terms of volunteers getting people out. They are
telling me in some of these states that they have better numbers already
than they had in 2008 at this point. So, they are feeling confident about
what they are going to do.

But you know, one of the things that happened last night that I
thought was funny was how Mitt Romney kept talking about Mali. And as you
were talking Central America, and other places, he kept going back to Mali
as if someone gave him that fact. I felt like I was listening to myself
when I was in college to sort of trying to fill up a blue book with this
many facts I could find. It`s like he was just pouring himself in to that
answer even though it wasn`t really relevant to what the questions are.

SHARPTON: No, Ryan. We have a guy that went to school with me that
used to read a word out of thesaurus every day and kept using that word.
And we could never figure out why know why. I felt like that last night.

Michelle Cottle and Jamal Simmons, thank you for your time tonight.

SIMMONS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And folks, the electoral college map is getting very
interesting and we want to see how you think it`s going to play out. Go to
our facebook page right now. That`s facebook.com/Politics Nation. We`ve
linked to an electoral map that we want you to fill out. When you`re done,
share it with us on our facebook page.

Coming up, fresh off your soup kitchen photo op, Paul Ryan is trying
something new. Nice try, congressman.

And it`s all about winning Ohio. How good is President Obama`s
turnout team there? We hear live from two key Democrats and ask what they
are seeing.

Plus, this GOP operative fired by the RNC is under criminal
investigation for voter fraud. So why is he still working for Republicans?

And the president must have done something right. Are these guys
bailing on Romney?

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook? Today we asked what`s the best zinger from the debate last night
was? And the overwhelming winner is President Obama`s line, we also have
fewer horses and bayonets.

I agree. Everyone was talking about it today.

Rick says, President Obama sunk Mitt`s battleship with that one.

Herman log all the good zingers, big bird binder and bayonets.

What`s your favorite zinger? Tell us. 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: Last night, Mitt Romney put on a master class in political
slipperiness. It was amazing to watch him hide from his own policy
position. Here he is on the issue of Iran last night.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s also essential for us
to understand what our mission is in Iran and that is to dissuade Iran from
having a nuclear weapon to a peaceful and diplomatic means. They laid out
seven steps. Crippling sanctions were number one and they do work. You`re
seeing it right now in the economy. It`s absolutely the right thing to do
to have crippling sanctions. I would have put them in place earlier but
it`s good that we have them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Peaceful and diplomatic means. Absolutely the right thing
to do so he agrees with the president. But last night that Mitt Romney was
gone with the wind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Of course, you take a military action. It is unacceptable
for Iran to have a nuclear weapon.

This president should have put in place crippling sanctions against
Iran. He did not. This is a president who should have instead
communicated to Iran that we are prepared, that we are considering military
options, they are not just on the table, they are in our hand.

They have to understand that we will take military kin net particular
action if they continue to pursue a nuclear option.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Military action. Let`s get back to war. So where did that
peaceful guy go? Same thing happened on the issue of Afghanistan. Here`s
governor Romney`s position.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: We`re going to be finished by 2014 and when I`m president
we`ll make sure we bring our troops out by the end of 2014.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: 2014. All the troops out by 2014. I guess this Mitt
Romney`s gone with the wind.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: In Afghanistan, the surge was right. But announcing a
withdrawal date; that was wrong. The Taliban may not have watches but they
do have calendars.

This is not time for America to cut and run. We have been in for ten
years. The president also announced the withdrawal date, a time certain
which I think made it very clear to the Taliban that they have to wait us
out. I think the president has made enormous errors in the conduct of out
our mission there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So it`s OK when he says that we`re leaving in 2014?

This is beyond politics, as usual. He`s abandoning policies 14 days
from the election. Let me clear. It`s a question of character and the
question all America wants answered is a devastating one. Just who is this
guy?

Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor at large from salon.com and MSNBC
political analyst. She`s writing about Mr. Romney`s performance at last
night`s debate today and David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother
Jones," also an MSNBC political analyst.

Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.

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

DAVID CORN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Sure thing.

SHARPTON: David, maybe you can help me out. Just who is the real
Mitt Romney?

CORN: Well, how much time do we have? I think this was early
Halloween when Mitt Romney decided not scary. It looks like he was
hypnotized beforehand. He would sleepwalking -- I mean, you can come up
with a million metaphor. It`s like he`s on the titanic and it`s women,
children, and convictions go first.

It was quite stellar to watch this and sitting there with a lot of
other people from MSNBC. We kept waiting for him to say anything, anything
that had a tether, a line to what he had said previously and there was
nothing. I mean, you played some of the best pits ready tonight.

But this is a guy who said, you know, we don`t want any more Iraq and
Afghanistan. Well, he supported those stands. And you know, I love Bob
Schieffer. But, I just wish that he or even the president would have turn
him said, wait a minute, you supported the war on Iraq. What do you say,
you don`t want another war in Iraq? So, are you saying that you made a
mistake supporting that? There were so many opening. And he turned into a
bowl of jelly, quite purposefully, so that no one could sort of hang on to
him.

SHARPTON: Joan, when you look at him talking about his strategy for
the Middle East. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The key that we`re going to have to pursue is a pathway to
get the Muslim world to reject extremism on their own. We don`t want
another Iraq. We don`t want another Afghanistan. That`s not the right
course for us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So his plans for the Muslim world is to fight extremism on
it is own. He doesn`t want another Iraq. But listen to what Romney has
said about the withdrawal of troops over the last year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: It is my view that the withdrawal of all of our troops from
Iraq by the end of this year is an enormous mistake and a failing by the
Obama administration. The precipitous withdrawal is unfortunate. It`s
more that unfortunate. I think it`s tragic. The president`s failure to
secure and maintain 10 to 30,000 troops in Iraq has to be one of his
signature failures.

The America`s ability to influence events for the vet in Iraq had been
undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, I`m playing this because I want people to hear what
he`s saying. That is the complete opposite. And that is not just about he
said this and now he`s saying that. It`s about character. How could
someone be so adamantly in one position and be just as adamant last night
in the complete opposite position? We`re not talking about an evolution
here.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: We`re talking about a total reincarnated view.

WALSH: Right. I found it really chilling, Reverend Al, I did.
Because we`re used to him flip-flopping on abortion, on all sorts of
domestic issues. But on the issue of how he`s going to approach our
military might in the world, to see him looking sweaty and invasive, not
knowing really what he believes at all, I found it really scary. I wrote
today that the man has no soul. To be able to flip-flop like that.

This is a guy who got the Bush neo con team. He is being advised by
John Bolton. Donald Rumsfeld loves him. But, he`s pretending that he is
now a man of peace and we can`t fight and kill our way out of these
conflicts? Who is the real Mitt Romney is the real question and I would
like to see reporters stay on this story.

One of the things that bugged me really strongly today and you know,
here we are we`ve got your show, thank God. But, I feel like reporters are
just acting as though, well you know, be he made a really smart move to
pivot to the center because we`re all war weary now.

But wait a minute. That`s a terrible thing to do. It doesn`t matter
whether it`s a smart move or a good savvy political move. It`s a cynical,
horrible move and we really need to know what does this man believes about
foreign policy.

SHARPTON: Joan, speaking to what I`m trying to say, David, because
it`s not even just the politics of it. It`s how do you put the lives of
our young men and women in the military in the hands of someone that you
can`t trust their character. That you don`t know what they are going to
say, what they are going to believe. This is a very deep -- this is beyond
partisan now. Here`s somebody that clearly appears to be able to say and
strongly advocate anything, even if it`s completely opposite to what he has
adamantly advocated just a couple of days before. This is unbelievable to
do to our country.

CORN: You know, I was talking to some other reporters about this
today as we were flying out of Fort Lauderdale. It`s like - it`s not just
a pivot to the center. It`s like he`s veering. I can grab the steering
wheel and he was running off the road and trying to make a u-turn while
moving at 60 miles an hour.

And Joan is right, people are saying, maybe this might work, you know.
the kind of a neat little staff there. But you`re right, it gets to
conviction. And if you go back to that old 47 percent video, there was a
lot of foreign policy on it, too, that kind of got overwhelmed by the 47
percent remark.

But in that instance, you know, he`s out there describing that he
doesn`t believe in the Middle East peace process. He`s very hawkish. He
doesn`t believe in a two-state solution. And then, publicly he tells
Israeli newspapers, I believe in the two-state solution.

SHARPTON: Right.

CORN: Right then and there, you see this, you know, his ability to
have no guilt paths to say one thing to one crowd another thing, another
crowd about the very foundation foreign policy and national security. And
it should make people wonder.

SHARPTON: It`s scary. Thank you for your time now. I`ve got to
leave it there.

Joan Walsh, David Corn, thanks for your time.

CORN: Sure thing.

SHARPTON: Coming up, this whole election may come down to owe Ohio.
And in Ohio it will be all about the ground game. I will talk live with
AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who is in the thick of the fight there.

Plus, fresh off his fail photo op washing pots, Paul Ryan. He`s
trying to make us forget it after. Sorry congressman, we remember and we
will remind everyone watching. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Governor Romney is trying to etch-a-sketch away his record
and now his running mates are trying to do the same thing. We learned
today that Ryan is giving a speech tomorrow on poverty and upward mobility.
This just a week after he showed his concern by visiting an empty soup
kitchen in Ohio. He showed up too late to do actual work.

So, Ryan ended up washing a few dishes that volunteers left for him.
This phony photo op won`t make us forget Ryan`s real record of contempt for
the poor. Two-thirds of the country and its budget comes from low income
programs like Medicaid, Food stamps, and Pell grants. And while he would
make the poorest among us pay more in taxes, Ryan`s budget gives
millionaires a big tax cut. The truth is, Paul Ryan has a makers versus
takers view of the world. Just like his running mate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You don`t want to
turn this safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people into
lives of dependency and complacency. That drains them of their will and
their incentive to make the most of their lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Thirty percent don`t believe in the American dream. Thirty
percent want the welfare state. This is offensive. Just as offensive as
the same people who need government help are lazy.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: We can become a society with the net majority of Americans are
takers not makers. Seventy percent of Americans want the American dream.
They believe in the American idea. Only 30 percent want the welfare state.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We`re going to be watching this speech tomorrow for Mr.
Ryan very, very closely. But in the meantime, did Congressman Ryan really
think we`d let a little speech and a little photo op wipe his record clean?
Nice try. But we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Governor Romney had a bad case of Romnesia last night. It
really hit him during the exchange of the auto bailout. When he said he
would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto industry and he said, he would not
liquidate the industry. It was like he completely forgot telling the whole
industry to go bankrupt. The President says, he was air brushing history.
Why?

Because the auto bailout impacted hundreds of thousands of jobs in a
state Romney desperately needs to win. Ohio. Without Ohio, it will be
extremely difficult for him to win. But here`s the thing. What he said
was full of holes and today in Ohio, the president drove an American-made
mach track through the Romney argument.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Last night, Governor Romney
looked you right in the eye, be me in the eye, tried to pretend that he
never said, let Detroit go bankrupt, pretended like somehow I have taken
his advice. The people don`t forget. The people in Dayton don`t forget.
The people of Ohio don`t forget. If Mitt Romney had been president when
the auto industry was on the verge of collapse, we might not have an
American auto industry today.

I refuse to walk away from those workers. I bet on those workers. I
refuse to walk away from those jobs. I understood that Americans can
compete. I wasn`t about to let Detroit go bankrupt or Toledo go bankrupt,
or Lordstown go bankrupt. I bet on American workers. I bet on American
manufacturing. I will do it again because that bet has paid off for Ohio
and for America in a big way.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That is paid off in a big way but it`s no thanks to
Governor Romney. Joining me now is Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-
CIO and Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. Thanks to
you both for joining me tonight.

CHRIS REDFERN, CHAIRMAN, OHIO DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Al, thanks for having
us on.

RICHARD TRUMKA, PRESIDENT, AFL-CIO: Thanks, Al.

SHARPTON: Richard, let me start with you. How hard is your
membership working to win Ohio and what`s your sense of where things stand
right now?

TRUMKA: We`re working very, very, very hard because had Romney been
president when we needed his help, it would have been a disaster in Ohio.
One out of every eight jobs in Ohio centers around the auto industry and
had he been there we would have lost all of those jobs and a whole lot
more. So, we`re working very, very hard, I feel great. The momentum is
picking up, the number of people showing up for door knocks is increasing.

The number of people showing up at our phone banks is increasing. The
number of people that are out leafleting in the neighborhoods is
increasing. I feel the momentum is speaking up and I think they are going
to reject his hypocrisy -- Romney`s hypocrisy and they are going to elect
the man who stood with them when they needed it and elect President Obama
for a second term.

SHARPTON: Now, Chris, you`re there on the ground, state chair of the
party. What do you sensing on the ground in Ohio?

REDFERN: Well, I`m Cleveland tonight, Al. And I can tell you right
here in Cleveland, one of Ohio`s largest cities, there`s tens of thousands
of jobs that are directly tied to the American automobile industry right
here in Cleveland. The president mentioned two towns right here in Ohio.
Toledo and Lordstown. What he didn`t tell you was, 80 other counties out
of the 88 have some part of the American automobile industry that provide
good, honest jobs for Ohioans. That would have been at risk if Mitt Romney
had his way.

You know, those four words let Ohio -- let Detroit go bankrupt. Those
four words will haunt Mitt Romney for the remaining 14 days and they`re
motivating Ohioans, those tied in the industry and those who understand
that the importance of manufacturing jobs and great states like Ohio
matter. And, you know, it`s not just my opinion. It`s not great labor
leaders like Richard Trumka`s opinion.

It`s the opinion of Alan Mulally, the CEO of Ford who said, if Detroit
went bankrupt, Ford would have been next. If General Motors and Chrysler
left, Honda would have been next. It`s the matter of saving the American
automobile industry. Barack Obama put it first, Mitt Romney, well, up
until last night we knew where he stood. Today, you know, he`s involving
into a different candidate --

SHARPTON: Yes, well, that`s my point, Richard. He`s evolved, I mean,
you and I have worked together Richard, you believe in change. He`s
completely evolve from his days of telling Detroit to go bankrupt. Listen.
Don`t you believe in this evolution? Listen to him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

You said, quote, "If General Motors, Ford and Chrysler get the bailout
that their chief executives ask for yesterday, you can kiss the American
automotive industry good-bye.

ROMNEY: If you write a check, they`re going to go out of business.
My view with regards to the bailout. Whether it was by President Bush or
by President Obama, it was the wrong way to go.

I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy and finally when that was
done and help was given, the companies got back on their feet. So, I will
take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.

I like American cars and I would do nothing to hurt the U.S. auto
industry.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, it`s an amazing -- I`ve never seen anything like
that, the complete opposite. But what he means to working people in Ohio
is what is devastating. I don`t mind I`m changing his mind but he`s
affecting people like that. That`s my point, Richard.

TRUMKA: He hasn`t evolved though. He`s a political chameleon. He
will say anything to anybody that he thinks they want to hear. He was
against the auto industry and he for the auto industry. He was against the
coal industry, and now he claims to be for the coal industry. He would say
anything to get a vote. That`s why you don`t know who is in front of you.
He`s a political chameleon and the American public are not going to be
fooled by it. They want to know who they`re voting for.

They know Barack Obama will stand up for workers, create jobs for us,
help us with health care. Help us protect pensions. And Mitt Romney,
well, we don`t know what he`ll do. He`ll do this or he`ll do that
depending on what crowd is in front of him.

SHARPTON: Richard, let me ask Chris this. Chris, in 2008, the
majority of Ohio counties voted republican but the president was able to
take the state by holding key cities. He won 51 percent -- over 51 percent
of the vote of Ohioans compared to McCain`s 47 percent. Will President
Obama win Ohio this time?

REDFERN: Well, we think he will, we think he will not because he`s a
great democrat but because he`s a great American. He is right on the
issues that matter most in Ohio and across the Midwest. If you think about
this, Al, 82 of 88 counties in Ohio are directly tied to the American
automobile industry. A supplier, a plant, a business that provides for
that important industry. Mitt Romney said, let Detroit go bankrupt.

And then he said this, it`s a very important point. And Mr. Trumka
will agree. He said, get rid of excess costs. You know what that means,
Al? That means pensions, that means retirement programs. These are the
things that Mitt Romney sees as excess costs. Those are the things frankly
that allow the 47 percent to survive after they retire.

SHARPTON: Richard, let me ask you this.

TRUMKA: Along with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, he`d do
away with those as well.

SHARPTON: Richard, let me ask you this. You`re on the road a lot.
I`m all over the country. How are you sensing the prospects for turnout?
There are long lines where there is already early voting. I`m sensing
something on the ground. What are you sensing as you move all over the
country and lead millions of members of AFL-CIO?

TRUMKA: Well, first of all. We`ve seen a great turnout in the early
voting. We have people out every day trying to get them to the polls. We
see that. We see a growing sense of urgency and excitement among the
people on the ground, whether it`s in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin,
Nevada, we`re a raft of other states, more people are getting excited and
they are working to get out to vote. I think you`re going to see a good
vote because I think people know that you`ve got a very clear choice here,
a choice between an economy that works for every one of us or a throwback
to the past and the failed policies that brought us the one percent.

Richard Trumka and Chris Redfern, thank you both for your time
tonight.

REDFERN: Thank you, Al.

TRUMKA: Thanks, Al. Thanks for having us on.

SHARPTON: Coming up, this GOP operative was fired from the RNC for
voter fraud. So why is he still working for the Republicans? And
incredible story is unfolding. We`ll talk to the man who knows the
operative, the former chairman of the Florida Republican Party.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Folks, debate season is over and the comedians will be sad
to see Mitt Romney go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m going to stop the subsidy to PBS, I`m going to stop all
the things I like PBS. I love Big Bird, and I actually like you, too. But
I`m not going to keep spending money on things to borrow money from China
to pay for it.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: And I really think Romney is serious about this.
Check out this video.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mitt Romney said that even though he likes Big
Bird, if elected, he would stop the subsidy to PBS. It`s a surprising
threat considering that Mitt is such an excellent Muppet name.

ROMNEY: I went to a number of women`s groups and said, can you help
us find folks and they brought us whole binders full of women.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: My guess is they did not refer to what they
presented as whole binders full of women.

(LAUGHTER)

Binder of women, book of broads.

ROMNEY: Our navy is smaller now than any time since 1917.

OBAMA: You mentioned the navy, for example, and then we have fewer
ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and
bayonets because the nature of our military has changed.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, "THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW": Whereupon John
Kerry tweeted that the President sunk Mitt Romney`s battleship.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Sunken battleships, binders full of women, Big Bird, what a long
strange trip.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Big news tonight about a republican political operative
accused of voter fraud in Florida and several other states. Nathan
Sproul`s firm is being investigated for phony signatures, fake addresses,
and even dead people registered as Republicans. All this work earns Sproul
more than $600,000 last month in payments from the Republican National
Committee and the Virginia state GOP. Republicans say, they fired him, cut
all ties with him, but the L.A. Times recently reported that Sproul`s new
company is hiring workers for voter canvassing operation this fall in as
many as 30 states.

He`s paying $15 per hour seeking the higher grassroots canvases to
identify conservative voters. How was this disgraced operative still at
work in this election? Who`s paying him? What is his relationship to
officials in the Republican Party? Democrats in Congress have repeatedly
sent letters to the RNC demanding answers but so far they refuse to come
clean about their ties to Nathan Sproul. Just one question. With all of
the talk about voter fraud, where are the Republicans that are demanding
answers to this?

Joining me now is Jim Greer, former chairman of the Florida Republican
Party. Thanks for coming back on this show.

JIM GREER, FORMER CHAIRMAN, FLORIDA GOP: Great to be here, Al.

SHARPTON: Jim, the Republican National Committee says, it has severed
ties with this man, do you believe they have really done that?

GREER: No. Because he`s good at what he does, his companies good at
what it does. They`re accomplishing the goal to get out and register
people. And as I said, there are a few bad apples in their organization,
then we just have to take that. You know, in 2008 when they had the issues
with ACORN, they wanted to, the Republican Party said, we have to indite
people, we have to put people in prison. There was this big uproar from
the GOP but you don`t really hear that anymore right now with this
situation. You can`t hear a peep about people going to jail, we need to
indite people.

(CROSSTALK)

SHARPTON: Where is the outrage? I mean, you`re right. I do remember
that with ACORN. Where is the outrage and where is this outrage when it
comes to Sproul or anybody?

GREER: Well, Sproul is one of these people that is intertwined every
aspect of the national Republican Party, works with state republican
parties, has been doing it for years, has made millions of dollars. They
are not about to jettison him. They are just going to use him in another
way, funnel money through another avenue. You know, in Florida here and
many other states --

SHARPTON: Wait a minute. Funnel money? What do you mean by funnel
money?

GREER: Well, you know, in Florida and another republican-legislative
led states they`ve created all of these mechanisms that money can go
through committees, to continue the existence, campaign committees, the
victory fund, the state victory fund, the national victory fund from the
RNC. So, you know, from my experience, I know there are many ways that
people can get paid and it will take you a long time to find out how they
are getting paid if you are looking for it.

SHARPTON: All right. Let me show this because he`s under criminal
investigation now on voter fraud. His consulting firm though profitable
over the years from GOP dollars, just as you said. Since 2003, he and his
firms have been paid $21.2 million by the RNC candidates and Super PACs.
This year he and his firms were paid $3.1 million by RNC to register voters
in five swing states.

Last year he and his firms were paid $72 by the Romney campaign to do
some field consulting. I mean, this is a lot of money, a lot of
connections at the top levels here for a guy that is under this kind of
continual questions and criminal investigation from a party who was so
concerned about voter fraud.

GREER: Yes. There`s no doubt when the Republican Party over the last
two years was throwing all of these rocks about voter fraud, the rocks
came back to break their own glass house. You know, the voter fraud issues
as I`ve said before on you show and other places is simply a marketing
tool. But in this case, there may be some voter fraud and the evidence
suggests it`s being done by people that work for the Republican Party or
are affiliated with the Republican Party. This gentleman strategic allied
consulting, he`s been working with the party under this company name and
other company name for years.

They are not going to get rid of him. They are going to find another
way to pay him so that the reports don`t necessarily show up right away.
He`s good at what he does. You know, this other gentleman that was working
for him, I think Colin Small that they caught last week discarding voter
registration forms, you know, he better look out because he`s going to
become the fall guy. He needs to talk about what he was educated in and,
you know, he told him to do what.

SHARPTON: Well, we`re going to stay on this on Sproul and on the
Republicans and on real fraud. Jim Greer, thanks you for your time
tonight.

GREER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: In debates you learn about policies, principles, and how
candidates act under pressure. What did we learn about Governor Romney?
He brought his own brand of secrecy, everything from his tax returns to his
tax plan to a whole new level. Three presidential debates later, we are no
wiser on any details.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: In terms of bringing down deductions, one way of doing that
would be to say everybody gets to pick a number. Twenty five thousand
dollars of deductions in credits. And you can decide which ones to use.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Pick a number, any number. His positions on women`s issues
are such a mess, his own campaign had to correct him, twice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I don`t believe that bureaucrats in Washington should tell
someone whether they can use contraceptives or not.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He even publicly confused the affordable care act on the
one he will repeal on day one for his own.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my
plan. Number two, young people are able to stay on their family plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: In three debates, we learned one thing for certain,
Governor Romney doesn`t mean what he says. And that should concern any
voter.

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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