updated 10/25/2012 11:52:15 AM ET 2012-10-25T15:52:15

POLITICS NATION
October 24, 2012

Guests: Jackie Speier; Nia-Malika Henderson; Bob Shrum; Ana Marie Cox, Dana
Milbank, Joe Madison, Simone Campbell


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

Thirteen days until Election Day. Here`s where the race stands. The
"New York Times" 538 blog shows President Obama leading the national poll
average with 50 percent of the popular vote. Mitt Romney has 48.9 percent.
And according to 538, if the election were held today, the president would
win re-election with 288 electoral votes. Romney would get 250. It takes
270 votes to win the White House.

A brand new Ohio poll gives the president a five-point lead in that
crucial state propelled by a two to one average in early voting. As of
tonight, 6.5 million people have already voted in this election. With over
a million voting in just the last 24 hours. We`ll have much more on the
early vote later on in this show.

But, we start with tonight`s lead. Hiding in plain sight. We know
the Republican Party has been taken over by its far right wing and Mitt
Romney has been dancing as fast as he can to present a moderate face to the
country. He did it in the debates and he`s trying to do it in the home
stretch of this election. But I don`t think it`s going to work. That`s
because the extreme views of his party just keep popping up at the most
inconvenient moments.

Today is the issue of abortion and the radical anti-women views on the
Republican on full display in the country. Here`s a candidate Romney
supports, Indiana candidate for Senate Richard Mourdock.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD MOURDOCK, INDIANA SENATE CANDIDATE: I believe that life
begins at conception. The only exception I have for - to have an abortion
is in that case that the life of a mother. I just - I struggled with
myself for a long time, but I came to realized life is a gift from God and
I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it
is something that God intended to happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Pregnancy from rape is something God intended. Mourdock
tried to clarify the remarks today in a press conference. He says he
stands by them. Good luck attracting women voters, sir. This all presents
an awkward challenge, though, to moderate Mitt Romney, especially since
early this week he did an ad supporting Mourdock.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This fall I`m supporting
Richard Mourdock for senate. Richard will help stop the Reid-Pelosi
agenda. There`s so much at stake. I hope you`ll join me in supporting
Richard Mourdock for U.S. Senate.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I hope you`ll join me supporting Richard Mourdock. So what
does Romney say about Mourdock now that rape is what God is intended? His
spokesperson came out with this statement.

Quote, "Governor Romney disagrees with Richard Mourdock and Mr.
Mourdock`s comments do not and reflect Governor Romney`s views. We
disagree on the policy regarding exceptions for rape and incest but we
still support him."

We still support him. And the "Washington Post" says the Romney
campaign will not ask the ad to be pulled. Why? Because they share the
same extreme views on abortion that are being -- becoming mainstream in the
GOP.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MOURDOCK: And I believe that life begins at conception.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Would you have support the cons r
constitutional amendment that life is at conception?

ROMNEY: Absolutely.

MOURDOCK: I think when life begins at that horrible situation of
rape, it`s something that God intended to happen.

REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`ve always adapted
to the idea, the decision that the method of conception doesn`t change the
definition of life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: This is an extreme party and this is an extreme candidate.
He picked a running mate as far to the right on women`s issues as you can
get. A guy who wrote the redefined rape law with the legitimate rape guy,
Todd Akin.

Mitt Romney and the GOP, is selling you a haunted house and for the
next 13 days they are trying to hide the skeletons and ghouls in their
closet.

Joining me now, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Democrat from California
and Nia-Malika Henderson, political reporter for "the Washington Post."

First, thank you both for being here tonight.

NIA-MALIKA HENDERSON, POLITICAL REPORTER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank
you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, Governor Romney still endorses Richard
Mourdock. What is your reaction given what Mourdock says?

REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D), CALIFORNIA: I think what it says is that Mitt
Romney is embracing the extremist abortion agenda of the Republican Party
and the right wing. I mean, it`s not just Mourdock. It`s Todd Akin, it is
Joe Walsh, it is a number of candidates across this country that basically
say women who are raped should not have the choice with their doctor to
determine whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. And there are as many
as 1.3 million rapes a year in this country. Some 30,000 of those victims
will become pregnant.

SHARPTON: Now, does it bother you, then, given the extremism that is
being represented, that he has put this moderate face on? Does it worry
you or get away with it?

SPEIER: Well, I hope the American people won`t stop for that. You
know, during that last debate, it was like doves were coming out of his
head and he was holding olive branches in his hands. And his position on
women issues is truly unclear. And with the gender gap being where it is
right now, I think women need to scrutinize what he says, what he does.
And when he keeps flip-flopping like this, this is not someone that has
integrity.

SHARPTON: Now Nia-Malika, when you look at the gender gap in swing
states, it shows Romney in major trouble. In Ohio, the president leads by
15 point. In Iowa, it`s 19 points. In Wisconsin, he leads by 18 point
among women. A real gender gap and it appears that women understand that
Mr. Romney has an extreme past on women`s issues himself.

Let me show you some of Romney`s past on this and get your reaction to
the polls and Mr. Romney`s statements in the past.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Do I believe the Supreme Court should overturn Roe V. Wade?
Yes, I do.

Planned Parenthood, we are going to get rid that.

I`m pro-life and will intent, if I`m president of the United States,
to encourage pro-life policies.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Nia-Malika?

HENDERSON: Well, yes. I mean, that is pretty much a highlight reel
of Mitt Romney`s positions with regard to women`s health, with regards to
abortion. He has, over the last couple of days, angered some social
conservatives because he seems to move to the center of abortion and say
essential that there isn`t any legislation that would go to the top of his
agenda in regards to abortion. But there again, you have him talking about
Roe V. Wade and that also promising to appoint Supreme Court justices that
would likely seek to overturn Roe V. Wade.

You have had Democrats very much hit Mitt Romney hard in a lot of
these swing states and I think in part that underscores and certainly
exploits the gender gap that you see in those swing states. I think not
only women, I think men probably would have a problem with politicians
talking about rape, discussing it as a political talking point, as a sort
of abstract political idea rather than a real felt traumatic and tragic
event that far too many women experience. And this is something that
Romney and these waning days of the campaign has had to deal with. He, of
course, is going to remain on the air in those days supporting Richard
Mourdock and we`ll see if that were down to his negative in some of these
swing states.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, you know in light of that, what is also
striking is that aides to Governor Romney tell the "New York Times" that
they are trying to convince women that Mr. Romney is not very conservative
on social issues. "The Times" reports there, all polling and focus groups
are finding that undecided women are, quote, "troubled by whether Mr.
Romney`s positions on issues like abortion and contraception were too
unyielding."

So, with these hardened views, Supreme Court justices as you say he
would appoint, he wants to overturn Roe Versus Wade, except to touch it.
He, himself, saying, I`m not even talking about those he supported. Yet,
they are trying to act like to undecided women voters, oh, he`s not that
conservative.

SPEIER: You know, what is really amazing to me is how he could have
said all of these things, know he said all of those things and then
repudiate them time -- later on. So I think during national domestic
violence awareness month, the irony should not be lost on any of us as to
why it is that rape for some reasons among these Republicans is not a
purpose or a reason to seek an abortion.

SHARPTON: Now, you`ve been on the front lines in the Congress for at
least the last two years fighting for a women`s right to choose. I mean,
you`ve been the front line - one of the front line leaders in this. What
has that been like in the Congress and have you had to encounter
Congressman Ryan, the vice presidential nominee in these battles?

SPEIER: There have been 55 votes to reduce women`s access to health
care or reproductive health in this congress, one a week. There has been
an onslaught of efforts to try and erode the rights that women have to
discuss their health care with their physician. It is not a place for
government. It is a place for a woman to have with her physician and it
should stop there.

SHARPTON: One a week. That`s what this Congress has been dealing
with. One a week trying to stop women from having the rights over their
own bodies.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, Nia-Malika Henderson, thank you both for
your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Rev.

Coming up, why the Romney momentum story is a myth. Big news tonight
that helps the president.

And Paul makers and takers Ryan gives a poverty speech. I`m serious.
That happened today. I want to know, who is he to give this speech? Has
he heard his own views?

And who is behind these offensive billboards popping up? There`s a
story developing.

Plus, yes, he did it again. He made a fool of himself again. Donald
Trump`s big announcement fail is coming up.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t believe that Halloween is only a week
away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I love Halloween. I can`t wait to dress
up from someone who is completely different from who I actually am.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You should go as Mitt Romney from the debates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You got me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined our "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook? Today, out community was cheering the new poll voting billboard
going up on Cleveland, Ohio.

John says, it`s about time.

And Jim calls it, patriotism at its finest.

We also asked folks to share their photos of early voting.

Lynn sent us this photo of her family voting early together in
Wisconsin.

And Candice in Georgia sends us this photo of the two-hour long line
she had to wait in to vote. Candice is not the only one who has had to
wait in line. We`ve got big early voting numbers coming up later.

And we want to see you cast your ballot. Go to our facebook page.
That`s facebook.com/Politics Nation to show your early voting photos with
us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Thirteen days to go and it`s all in. We know it`s a close
race and the president is making sure he gets the message out with a
marathon blitz across the country. He started his day with a rally in
Iowa. From Iowa he went to Denver for a rally this afternoon. At this
hour he`s making his way to Los Angeles where he`s taping a spot on the
tonight show. After that, he`s on to Las Vegas for another rally and he`ll
be flying on the red eye to Tampa overnight.

Tomorrow, the phase continues. Hitting four cities before returning
to D.C. in the evening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the first stop
on our 48-hour fly around campaign marathon extravaganza. But I had to
start in Iowa to ask you for your vote, to ask you for your support so we
can finish what we started.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The vice president was also on the trail today. And he had
some advice for a young supporter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: These guys have
become so tied to special -- look, I don`t blame that baby for crying. You
know what, she just realized what it means if Romney gets elected. She was
out there, God love her.

(APPLAUSE)

BIDEN: Hi, baby. How are you? It`s OK. He`s not going to get
elected. You`re going to be OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It`s OK. He`s not going to get elected. So for his part,
governor Romney keeps saying, he`s got the momentum.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: Now, I`m not sure whether you`ve been watching TV but we`ve
had a number of debates lately. Have you noticed that? And you know, they
have really propelled our campaign.

They have supercharged our campaign. I`ve got to tell you that.

You`re seeing this movement growing.

There`s no question about it, we`re seeing more and more enthusiasm, more
and more support.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You say something enough times, maybe you will even start
to believe it. And actually, that has become part of the conventional
wisdom. Romney momentum, it`s a standing theme you see in headlines all
over the place. Everyone knows his race is close. It got close three
weeks ago but the idea of Romney`s momentum since then is a myth. It is
just not happening.

Joining me now is Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and professor at
NYU and Ana Marie Cox, Washington correspondent for "the Guardian."

Thank you both for joining me tonight.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Happy to be here.

ANA MARIE COX, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, THE GUARDIAN: Good to be
here.

SHARPTON: Bob, let me start with you. There is all of this talk
about momentum but the latest "Times" poll just out, shows President Obama
is up five in Ohio. What about the momentum? I mean, who has it?

SHRUM: I think this is an artificial construct three weeks ago and I
think you and I talked about this. I wrote a column in "the Daily Beast"
after the first debate saying, look, this has not changed the fundamental
structure of the race and it hasn`t. The polls tightened somewhat but in
every one of these critical battleground states, if you look across the
whole range of them, the president has a chance to win all of them and he`s
in better shape than Romney. Beyond that, if you look not just to that
Ohio poll tonight but, what is happening, for example, in the Gallup poll,
where Romney have a seven-point and a six-point lead, now it is a three-
point lead and that is a six-day rolling average. So, whatever surge there
was as s receding.

But, this is an old Republican trick. They did in 2000, for example,
saying they are going to win California, spent millions of dollars there.
We refused to spend a dime. We won the state by double digits. They only
got the election by stealing Florida.

SHARPTON: Now, Ana Marie, when you hear Bob talking about swing
states, let`s look at that a minute. The - according to NBC most
battleground states and a "Real Clear Politics" says, the president is
ahead. In Iowa, he is up two points, New Hampshire up 0.8 percent, Ohio,
1.7, Wisconsin up 2.7. Romney`s only up a fraction, 0.2 percent in
Colorado, and 1.8 in Florida. They are tied in Virginia.

Where`s the momentum? I mean, I don`t see - if you got the president
with five of the swing states, where is the Romney momentum?

COX: Well, it is true. I mean, things haven`t really changed. I
think Bob was right. I mean, this has been a tight race. It is going to a
tight race. Every vote matters and I think that`s why you see the
Republicans playing this kind of mind game about momentum. This talk that,
you know, Obama is pulling out of North Carolina. These states are in
plays that are not in play.

They are trying for every little vote they can, including, I guess,
the vote of the media. I mean, they are really just trying to sway
coverage in the same way that Bush tried to sway it in 2000 by playing - by
appear to play for California.

In reality, you know, if I was the Obama team, I wouldn`t be
comfortable with where things are in the swing states. That it`s true that
they are ahead there and they do have, as we`ve been talking about, that
firewall in the Midwest that looks like it might hold for them pretty well.

SHARPTON: Now, I`m with Ana Marie there. I don`t think it`s a thing
of being comfortable, but I`m trying to deal with this myth that is being
sold across the border. There`s a momentum, Bob. Let me give you an
example.

Let`s look at Ohio. In "Real Clear Politics," the day before the
debate, first debate, president had a 5.5 lead in Ohio. A week after the
debate, the president had a 1.3 percent lead in Ohio. It dropped to 1.3.
Today he`s back up to 1.7 percent lead in Ohio. So where`s the momentum
where Ohio is clearly the divisive state, if not one of the divisive
states?

SHRUM: Look. As I said, I think the first debate hurt the president.
I think polls tightened. They tightened somewhat in the battleground
states. But, the other thing is, when you do these poll numbers, "the Real
Clear Politics" average, there`s a lot of junk in there. I mean, there are
all of these (INAUDIBLE) polls that always queue Republicans. There are
these new people come up hold the Gravas (ph) that nobody ever heard of
before or appear to be some Republican outfit, the producers numbers no one
believes.

I t trust that "Time" magazine number. It`s consistent with numbers
that we`ve seen, for example, from NBC Marist. I think the president is
probably four or five ahead in Ohio. And Maria is right, this is a close
election. No one can take anything for granted. But the president has
many more routes to 270 electoral votes than does Mitt Romney. He could
lose Ohio and still win this election if he carried New Hampshire,
Colorado, Iowa, and Wisconsin. That`s not at all an implausible scenario.
If he was to Ohio, Virginia, and Florida.

SHARPTON: Now, Ana Marie, one of the reasons why I`m dealing with
this myth is, in 2000, Karl Rove, before the 2000 election, predicted a big
win for then governor Bush. He said Bush would get, quote, "in the
vicinity 320 electoral votes and that Bush would win 50 percent to 51
percent of the popular vote compared to 44-45 percent for Gore." And we
all know that gore actually won the popular vote and that Bush got 270
electoral votes to 266 for Gore.

So, are we seeing this as a standard Republican strategy, talk
momentum, we`re winning, we`re winning, we`re winning, to really try to
drive out their vote and try to convince independents, go to where the
winners are?

COX: Well you know, both sides do this kind of thing. Both sides
sort of play this mind game that I actually can never get my head around.
I can`t decide if what they are trying to do is convince people if they are
winning so people go with the winner or say that the other side is winning
so people will turn out and vote just to make sure that you will win.

I mean, I think it`s kind of a dangerous game. I think for the most
part they do it to influence media coverage. I`m not sure that they are
actually connecting with voters with this kind of talk. I think that the
message we need to get to voters is, you need to vote no matter what. Your
vote always counts. Your vote matters. Especially in close election, it
doesn`t matter who you vote for, your vote is going to count.

And the stuff about momentum. I mean, that sort of an inside baseball
game, but when you`re competing for every vote, may be swaying that Media
narrative like one way or another it`s going to matter to them.

SHARPTON: You, bob, an expert until Rovism (ph), what was Rove doing
and are they doing the same thing today?

SHRUM: Rove actually believes this. They - I think in 2000, thought
they could bomb rush the electorate by saying this. It was very expensive
for them. They spent almost $10 million on media in California and we sat
on national. And so, we`re not spending a dime and we refused to spend a
dime.

The other object, I think they had that year, was to try to get us to
take resources out of Florida, for example, and put resources in
California. We`re not going to do that. It would still the end of the
election.

But I think people are smarter than this. I think this going to be
the shortest life surge in history. All of those national polls, whatever
Romney gains there were are coming out, they are deflating. And we`re
seeing the same thing in these critical battleground states. So I think
this is a concocted story. I kind of agree with Ana Marie. I hated it and
wouldn`t do it in campaigns. I think it was dumb.

SHARPTON: Ana Marie, President Clinton just cut a new TV ad for the
Obama campaign. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The stuff some
folks are saying about President Obama sounds kind of familiar. The same
people said my ideas would destroy jobs and they call me every name under
the book. Well, we created 22 million new jobs and turned deficits into
surpluses. President Obama`s got it right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Pretty effective, Ana Marie.

COX: You know, I think Bill Clinton has been doing some of the best
campaigning of his life for Obama in this cycle. I think he may be a more
effective campaigner for Obama in this cycle than he was for himself when
he was running for president.

These ads are really effective. You can see that he`s having a good
time. You can see that he really believes what he`s saying. I think when
he was at that first line where he says, this stuff that people are saying
about Obama, I`m pretty sure that he wouldn`t have used that word in, let`s
say, private company. I think he probably had another word in mind.

And I think this kind of thing is definitely going to work for the
Obama people. Those people that are on the fence have good memories of the
Clinton years. This is probably a convincing argument for them.

SHRUM: Reverend. Can I have one line? What`s amazing about that
spot, is that he got the whole convention speech, his whole brilliant
convention speech into 30 seconds.

SHARPTON: That`s Bill Clinton.

Bob Shrum and Ana Marie Cox, thank you for your time this evening.

And folks, if you want to check out the Electoral College count, go to
our facebook page right now. That`s facebook.com/Politics Nation. We
linked it to an interactive electoral map. Fill it out and shade with us
on our facebook page.

Coming up, Paul Ryan`s speech on poverty. I want to know just what
Paul Ryan knows about the struggle of the poor. What has he done?

And this Republican operative was arrested in Virginia for allegedly
trashing voter registration form. Tonight we have big news from the
state`s attorney general. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Donald Trump promised a huge announcement today. One that
would impact the president to race. Hint, it won`t. But Trump`s move got
me wondering. Should he just have called it quits last spring after the
President mocked him?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: No one is prouder to put this
birth certificate matter to rest than the Donald and that`s because he can
finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter. Like, did we fake
the moon landing?

(LAUGHTER)

You fired your Gary Busey and these are the kind of decisions that
keep me up at night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I love that. Can`t see it enough. But Trump`s mission and
the derangement from the far right is no laughing matter. More on that,
next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Over on the right wing, the bus has been building for days.
Donald Trump promising an earth rattling announcement that would shake up
the presidential race right before Election Day. But it turns out, Trump
simply revived one of the right`s favorite deranged fantasies about the
President. That he wasn`t properly vetted, that we don`t know who Barack
Obama really is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, ENTREPRENEUR: If Barack Obama opens up and gives his
college records and applications and if he gives his passport applications
and records, I will give to a charity of his choice a check immediately for
$5 million. There`s never been anything like it. We know very little
about our president.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The President`s college records? That`s Trump`s big news?
Folks, Republicans just can`t let it go. This whole vetting nonsense is
just another way for them to cook up conspiracy theory about the President.
The "New York Times" reports that offensive billboards like these are
popping up around Florida, calling on voters to stop Obama. The "Times"
says, these striding anti-Obama messages are flooding key states as
conservatives test the boundaries of how far they can go to disqualify
President Obama. Right wingers would do anything to fire up the base. But
right now they seem to be turning off a lot of voters.

Joining me now is Dana Milbank, columnist for The Washington Post and
Joe Madison, nationally syndicated radio host of "MORNINGS WITH MADISON."

Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.

JOE MADISON, HOST, "MORNINGS WITH MADISON": Hi, Rev.

DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Dana, are we going to see even more of this kind of stuff
as we get closer to the Election Day?

MILBANK: Well, I think President Obama should hopefully see more of
Donald Trump because that was a preposterous display that he put on today.
And I think even a lot of Romney folks and folks on the right were saying,
OK, this guy has gone too far and it`s completely absurd. There`s another
thing going on with the other issues bubbling up as you -- to, that I think
is more sinister and more nefarious, very difficult to clamp that on and
nobody is particularly trying to clamp down on it.

So, I think you will see a lot of those isolated type of campaigns
springing up that are basically out of centralized control. The Trump
thing has made himself even more of a laughing stock now. The question is,
does Romney now still have this guy come out and campaign for him now that
he, you know, appears to be doing these infomercials and, you know,
offering $5 million and a free toaster.

SHARPTON: Well, Joe, you know, the "New York Times" reports that
conservative activists were planning a last-minute game changer for the
final weeks of the campaign. Times says, quote, "they would put out a DVD
in battleground states, sending it to voters through a carefully targeted
direct mail campaign or an insert in Sunday papers, they went to the
unusual length of arranging a focus group to test anti-Obama films,
conducted by a Frank Luntz, the well-known republican research analyst."
As a result of film produced by Citizens United, it`s being circulated in
swing states right now, Joe.

MADISON: Well, let me say this about Donald Trump first. You know,
if I had $5 million, I would give it to a charity to find out whether his
hair is from the planet earth or from another planet. Look, the man is
ridiculous. You have Sarah Palin who is now talking about that the
President is shucking and jiving or something like that. You have Sununu
who said he`s lazy. You had Ann Coulter who called him a retard and you
are 100 percent right. They can put all they want to out there.

They are playing to that small Neanderthal minded base and what it`s
doing is that if there was apathy, I know at least in my community, they
have shaken that apathy and people are going out in groves even early
voting in groves. So I agree with Dana. Keep it up because all you`re
doing is even letting independent voters know, Reverend Sharpton, that
these kinds of people are not associated with President Obama. They are
associated with his opponent.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, I think Dana, that`s the point here, isn`t it?
They don`t really don`t even understand they are so blinded in this, that
they don`t understand they are causing a backlash and really energizing
people as I drive around the country, people who were like not that
energized, Dana, now all of a sudden really angry and offended. And
they`re really, we`re seeing lines two and three hours, that I think a lot
of it came back from how ugly and how divisive they run this campaign.

MILBANK: Yes. I mean, this isn`t something particularly new. These
are, you know, it`s called dirty tricks on the trade and it comes up at
about this time at any election below the radar screen. But the problem
is, this is exactly contrary to what Romney is trying to do right now and
what you saw I`m doing the debates and that is come to the center, compete
for these independent voters, they didn`t need to rile up to the ring wing
anymore, these folks --

MADISON: That`s right.

MILBANK: -- already playing riled. And it has Joe saying, had the
pervasive effect of riling up the other side, it has to be offending the
centrist voters that these guys need to reach in Ohio and these other swing
states.

SHARPTON: But Joe, let me say this. While Romney has said the other
night he played, he was a peaceful guy and want world peace and whatever we
have to do. You have, as you mentioned, Sarah Palin on the Facebook page
today using racially charge languages, accusing President Obama of covering
up what happened at the Libyan consulate attacks. She wrote, quote,
"President Obama`s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must
end."

And then you have Think Progress reporting today that on strong cables
which operates in six states including Ohio is offering subscribers free
access to the anti-Obama movie 2016.

MADISON: And you have the, I mean, you know, Dana, think if I`m not
mistaken wouldn`t be non-committed voters now, these independents, wouldn`t
they really be the thinkers, because that`s what they`re doing? They`re
thinking. And here they are. These are not the ideologues or the
partisans, these are the people say, wait a minute, I`m thinking about
this. And then you have all of these going on, while they are thinking,
look, they are going to think and say, do I really want to be associated
with this and that`s what is going on and I`ll say this, I wish you good
luck down in Florida. I know you`re going to be down there this Sunday.
That is a classic example of how people are going city to city, county to
county to turn out the vote.

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank and Joe Madison, thanks for your time tonight.

MADISON: Thank you.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Paul Ryan`s poverty. Why is this man who stages
phony photo ops in empty soup kitchens, giving us speech about the poor?

But first, news tonight about this republican operative accused of
literally throwing away voter fraud. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Big news and republican efforts and request the vote, we
are making progress in pushing them back. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: The last time Congressman Paul Ryan made a big public
display to show how much he cares about poor people, he embarrassed
himself. Remember this visit to the empty soup kitchen where he met up
with some already wash dishes and two not yet washed, it was a photo op
that came very close to making Mr. Ryan look like a first-class phony.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

REP. PAUL RYAN (R-WIS), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks for
letting us come by. We just wanted to come by and say thanks.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Yes, that`s OK.

RYAN: Looks like we`re after mealtime. Can we just come back and say
hi to people?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Sure. There`s too many left because it`s over.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mr. Ryan`s concern for those in need didn`t really come
through that day, so today he tried again. He gave a policy speech
promoted by his campaign on poverty and when it was over, I thought maybe
he should have stock to washing pots.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: We believe that Americans are better off in a dynamic free
enterprise base economy instead of a stagnant government directed economy
that stifles job creation and fosters government dependency.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mr. Ryan`s speech was filled with platitudes and fluffy
talk to please the right wing. Watching him you couldn`t help but wonder,
who was he to give this speech? After all, the budget that bears his name
slashes more than $3 trillion for programs like food stamps. The Ryan
budget guts Medicaid and Pell Grants, programs that people in need
desperately need. His policy is bad enough. But his arrogance may be
worse.

After all, what makes Congressman Paul Ryan qualify as an expert on
ending poverty in communities that are hurting? Why does he believe his 14
years representing a district in Wisconsin gives him the experience and the
expertise to literally know what he`s talking about in taking on the unique
challenges faced by diverse communities?

Paul Ryan`s Congressional district is 85 percent white, seven-and-a-
half percent Hispanic, five percent black. How is he an authority on
poverty representing a district where the income is 12 percent higher than
the national average? Mr. Ryan`s speech today was a poor excuse for policy
and he was and is ill suited to be the message.

Joining me now is Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of
Network, a Catholic Social Justice Group and organizer of the nuns on the
bus tour to protest Romney/Ryan budget and how it would hurt the poor.
Sister Campbell, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, NETWORK: An honor to be
with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Isn`t it ironic Sister Campbell that Congressman Paul Ryan
thinks he`s the moral authority on poverty.

CAMPBELL: Well, I found it rather shocking. He seemed to mention a
few people`s names but he has no idea about really how hard people work and
what the real story is that they`re facing. And he just seems to repeat
this mantra that the government programs create dependence. That`s not our
experience. That`s not what we know. And so, I keep wishing he would come
beat the people we know.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, the day Congressman Ryan argued that the GOP
has the best interest of poor mind. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN: Wherever we are in life, whether we are rich or poor, black,
brown, or whites, Americans by chance or by choice, we are one nation.
That is the promise of America. And we can make it real in the lives of
the many who feel left out. To all those Americans we ask you to support
on campaign, because our cause is yours and yours is ours.

SHARPTON: But that contrast in the past where Ryan talked, he spoke
like he almost had disdain for the poor. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

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

We don`t want to turn this safety net into a hammock that lulls able
bodied people into lives of dependency and complacency.

You do that by growing the economy and getting people a hand up, not
a hand out. Teach a man how to fish, he can feed himself for a life, don`t
simply feed fish.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, I mean, it seems strange that 13 days before an
election, all of a sudden he has this new appreciation for fighting poverty
and he`s not talking about how the people, 30 percent want a welfare state
and how we`ve got to cut budgets. I mean, it seems very coincidental as we
get close to this election. He has this new conversion, Sister Campbell.

CAMPBELL: Well, I think it is an evidence, the fact that our message
is really taking hold and that he needs to do something to push back. The
fact is, he doesn`t know people like Billy and his family where Billy is
working hard. He is employed, he`s trying to support his family but at
minimum wage, you don`t make enough to get your family out of poverty.
Congressman Ryan doesn`t have a clue about that and Congressman Ryan
doesn`t have a clue about Britney who I met who is going to college because
she can get a Pell Grant and she`s working.

But the fact is, Congressman Ryan wants to strip those supports away
from hardworking people. He can say these words about being concerned for
everyone but he has never evidenced it. It`s all been about shifting money
to the top, making bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and somehow that`s going
to be a magic wand. The fact is, hardworking people need real answers, not
this made-up theory that he`s got.

SHARPTON: Yes. Let`s quickly dig down in that because he argues that
we just don`t have the money for government programs that people depend on
but he has money for other things, his budget would increase military
spending, his budget makes plenty of rules for tax breaks to millionaires.
He had no problems supporting Bush policies that`s added to the deficit.
But the poor, no money for them. Sixty two percent of the cuts he proposed
come from low income programs.

CAMPBELL: Which is shocking and should not be allowed to become
policy. The fact is, getting tax cuts to the wealthy does not generate
jobs. We know that for the last ten years. Where are the jobs? What does
make a difference are these responsible programs that help people get on
their feet, get educated, and make sure that they can care for their
families. The biggest single thing we can do would be to raise wages,
raise the minimum wage to $12 an hour and we`d get everybody out of poverty
because people are working but they are still in poverty. That`s wrong.
That`s not who we are. Let`s be responsible, really responsible as a
nation.

SHARPTON: Sister Simone Campbell, thanks so much for your time this
evening.

CAMPBELL: I really appreciate being with you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back with a new investigation into
republican voter fraud. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: There are still 13 days until Election Day but millions of
Americans are already exercising their right to vote. Six-and-a-half
million people have cast their ballots so far. And more lining up across
the country. It`s having a huge impact. Just look at Ohio. The new
"Times" poll shows President Obama and Mitt Romney are tied among Ohio
voters who have not voted yet. But the President is beating Romney two to
one among those who have already gone to the polls. Sixty percent to 30
percent. That gives the president a five-point advantage overall in Ohio.
And we`re seeing some positive signs in the fight against right wing voter
suppression.

After days of public pressure, Virginia`s republican attorney general
finally announced he`ll investigate a GOP operative accused of literally
throwing away voter forms. Three democratic lawmakers are also asking the
Justice Department to get involved. They want to know if the accused man,
Collin Small, was part of a larger network of voter fraud on the right.
And in Ohio, volunteers are organizing to prevent voter intimidation on
Election Day.

They are training people to monitor groups like True to Vote who sends
so-called poll watchers to intimidate voters on Election Day. It`s
incredibly important that all Americans can have their voices heard. No
matter what the distraction, no matter what your theory, no matter what the
intimidation, you must vote. I will be in Florida this weekend with Bishop
Victor Curry and others that have what they call operation lemonade where
they taken the lemons and turn it into lemonade.

Don`t let them dissuade you. Whatever you must do, you must vote.
Let`s turn the lemons into lemonades. Let`s make this nation as great as
it can be but we need your vote to make that happen. Every vote must and
will count.

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

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