updated 10/31/2012 11:45:30 AM ET 2012-10-31T15:45:30

POLITICS NATION
October 30, 2012

Guests: Ted Strickland, David Corn, Maria Theresa Kumar, Scott Keyes, Joe
Madison

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you for
tuning in. I`m live tonight in Atlanta.

More than eight million people are still without power after the
devastating impact of hurricane Sandy. Thirty-nine deaths are blamed on
the storm and large parts of New Jersey are still flooded. On the Jersey
Shore, a roller coaster is now literally in the ocean. In New York city,
scenes of devastation after a huge fire destroyed as many as 100 homes.
And in midtown Manhattan, officials are still trying to secure that crane
dangling 74 stories above the streets after partially collapsing in high
winds.

But we begin with storm politics. With just seven days to go, the
presidential race may hinge on how candidates respond to the storm. If
they seem presidential or irrelevant. And this October surprise has
revealed a surprising new alliance.

Obama/Christie. That`s right. Just listen to how the New Jersey governor,
a top Romney surrogate, heeds praise on President Obama.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: The president called me at 2:15 this
afternoon. I appreciate that call from the president. It was very
proactive and I appreciate that type of leadership. The president is
great. I spoke to him three times yesterday pep called me for the last
time at midnight last night. He asked me what I needed. I said if you
could expedite the major disaster declaration without the all the normal
FEMA mumbo jumbo. He got right on. I got a call from FEMA at 2:00 a.m.

The president has been all over this and he deserves great credit. I was
on the phone with him yesterday, personally, three times. He gave me his
number at the White House. Told me to call him if I needed anything. And
he absolutely means it.

The president has been outstanding in this. So the folks at FEMA, Craig
Fugate and his folks have been excellent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president deserves great credit. He has been outstanding.
A Republican praising a Democrat. But the powerful fact is this wasn`t
about politics. This was genuine thanks to a president focused on taking
care of Americans.

President Obama has canceled all campaign events through tomorrow to focus
on hurricane Sandy. Today, he went to the Red Cross headquarters, and
devastated families were standing by.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, this is something
that is heartbreaking for the entire nation. And we certainly feel
profoundly for all the families whose lives have been up-ended. And most
important message I have for them is that America`s ready. We are standing
behind you and we are going to do everything we can to help you get back on
your feet. I told the mayors and governors, if they`re getting no for an
answer somewhere in the federal government, they can call me personally at
the White House.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s what the president is doing to help Americans try to
recover from this storm.

Now, what`s Romney`s response to the storm today? His team announced he
was also canceling his campaign events, holding instead what they described
as a storm relief event in Ohio. But the event was held at the same
location where campaign rally was supposed to be held. He was joined by
the same musical guest scheduled at his campaign rally.

And at this non-campaign event, "The New York Times" said they played a,
quote, "glossy campaign video for Mr. Romney that described him as
charismatic and authentic." And is it normal for people at a non-campaign
storm relief event to carry t-shirts that attack the president? But this
event turned awkward, too. Governor Romney`s warning to slash FEMA so
today he refused to answer questions about it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Would you eliminate FEMA if you were
president?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Would you eliminate FEMA if you were
president?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Governor, would you eliminate FEMA if you were
president?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That didn`t work, so reporters went outside and asked him again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Governor, are you going to eliminate FEMA?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Governor, you haven`t said what you would do
with FEMA. Why won`t you answer any questions on it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: No response. He has no answers. Maybe that`s why the guy who
gave the keynote address at this convention is praising his opponent.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRISTIE: The president has been great. The president has been all over
this. The president has been outstanding. I appreciate that type of
leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Appreciating the president`s leadership in this crisis is
obviously nonpartisan. I can`t remember a day when Mitt Romney seemed less
relevant to Americans, except maybe yesterday.

Joining me now is Steve Kornacki, co-host of "the Cycle" here on MSNBC. He
used to cover governor Christie and he`s writing about how the hurricane
has frozen the race for Mitt Romney. And Joy Reid, MSNBC contributor and
managing editor for thegrio.com.

Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC HOST, "THE CYCLE": Thank you.

JOY-ANN REID, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Good to be here.

SHARPTON: Steve, are you writing about this today? What do you make of
Christie?

KORNACKI: Well, part of it is Christie being Christie to a certain extent.
It also, you know, people were trying to figure if somehow, would Romney
put him on the ticket? This is one of the reasons, you know, that was
never a serious possibility because he is sort of his own man and they
really can`t control him.

But, I think probably the best way to understand this is, by looking at New
Jersey politics. Remembering in New Jersey, blue state, President Obama
carried by a big margin in `08 and he is going to carry it by a big margin
next week. And Chris Christie has to run for re-election in that state
next year, 2013. He`s fairly well positioned to win, but it`s never easy
being a Republican in New Jersey.

And one of the strategies Christie has had to appeal to non-Republican
voters in New Jersey in the last year has been seeking out and publicizing
alliances with Democrats which creates the image of, you know, the
bipartisan guy who may not going to get bogged down in petty Republican
politics. And so, for instance, he`s had this alliance with Cory Booker,
the Democratic Mayor of Newark. He has had alliances with Democrats in the
legislature from South Jersey. And now, you know, President Obama. Like I
said for Christie to win next year, he has to get a fair number of people
voting for Barack Obama this year. So, this makes a lot of sense for him
in New Jersey.

SHARPTON: Let me raise this, though, Joy. What struck me, as we deal with
this presidential race, is that it was announced today that the president
is coming to New Jersey tomorrow to see some of the devastation and that
governor Christie was going to accompany him, which is appropriate,
governor with president. But when governor Christie was asked about
whether or not he was going to tour with governor Romney, as some have
suggested, by FOX News, listen to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Is there any possibility that governor Romney
may go to New Jersey to tour some of the damage with you?

CHRISTIE: I have no idea, nor am I the least bit concerned or interested.
I`ve got a job to do here in New Jersey. That`s much bigger than
presidential politics. And I could care less about any of that stuff. I
have a job to do. Identify got 2.4 million people out of power. I`ve got
devastation on the shore. I`ve got floods in it is northern part of my
state. If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics,
then you don`t know me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Joy, am I reading too much into that? He seemed to be
abruptly dismissive of Mr. Romney coming, yet, he`s going out there with
the president knowing what signals that would send tomorrow, six days
before the election?

REID: Well, Rev., I mean, the thing about Chris Christie, is whatever you
think of his politics, he is a guy who is known to speak his mind. A lot
of times speaking his mind means he`s telling someone off or yelling at
them. So, when he says something, it has a ring of authenticity to it.
You don`t get the feeling that very often, he is being too politics.

And in this case, if you`re a governor, the reality is you need to tour the
damaged parts of your state with someone who can help you. Walking around
with Mitt Romney would just be a photo op, but allowing the president of
the United States to tour the devastated areas of New Jersey with the
governor would allow the president to really understand where resources
need to be placed.

Chris Christie, right now, is being governor in the same sense that Barack
Obama is acting as president, not as campaigner in chief, not a campaigner.
So, the problem for Romney is that there`s no margin in it for Christie
right now to play politics with the party. He needs to get the job done as
governor because as Steve says, his performance is going to be judged by
how he handle this is hurricane, not n what a good surrogate he is to Mitt
Romney.

SHARPTON: No, I have said there is no margin in it for Chris Christie.

But Steve, how do you think the Romney camp views this, who does need this
and some other margins between now and next Tuesday?

KORNACKI: Yes, no. I mean, they are at cross-purposes here. Because
Christie is about -- right now he`s imperative to appeal to blue state
voters and the Romney imperative is to sort of make Obama look bad whenever
they can and to win over swing state voters.

And like I said, I think it`s just another example. We`ve seen it a few
times this year with Christie actually, the same dynamic. I can think back
earlier in the year when Romney was trying to stone wall on taxes, un-
releasing any of his taxes. And Christie would put on national television
and Christie quickly realized he doesn`t want to be making excuses for Mitt
Romney not releasing his taxes. It`s going to go over horribly in New
Jersey. Doesn`t look good, period. So, it was Chris Christie of all
people who said, you know what, Mitt Romney should release his taxes.

So, we have seen this a few times from Christie. It is just his brand is
dependent on being seen as a bipartisan guy. And you can`t do anything in
this situation except the working cooperatively with and probably praising
President Obama if you`re going to be a bipartisan guy.

SHARPTON: All right. Let me go to another point here. While I`m talking
about Romney, Steve, he very clearly said that FEMA -- last year he said
FEMA could be privatized or should be handled by the states. Today, he
wouldn`t even answer questions about it.

"The New York Times" editorial board slammed Romney for his position on
FEMA today writing disaster coordination is one of the most vital functions
of big government, which is why Mitt Romney wants to eliminate it.

Does Mr. Romney really believe financially strapped states would do a
better job than a properly functioning federal agency? Those in hurricane
Sandy`s path are fortunate that for now, that ideology has not replaced
sound policy. As people look at this disaster, and are reminded about
Romney`s position as they see at least so far FEMA operating efficiently,
the politics of that clearly cannot be good for Mr. Romney, as "the Times"
suggest.

KORNACKI: Yes, no, I agree except that I would put a cautionary note in
there in that there are a number of issues that have come up in this
campaign where Romney`s position, the position he articulated in Republican
primaries, the position is etched in the Republican party platform is
totally at odds with where the wide majority of the public is. We have
seen that, for instance, on protection with people with preexisting
conditions, you know, which is a part of the affordable care act and which
is not included in any proposal Romney`s put forward.

Well, when he was confronted with that, finally in the debate this fall, he
just denies it. Same on immigration, he moved very far to the right in the
primaries in immigration. The platform is far to the right. When he was
confronted on the details of that in debate, for instance, talking about
Arizona as a national model, he denied he ever said it. Oh, no. I do
never say something like that. So, I do wonder on this if he`s pressed on
it, if he is forced to answer on it, if he doesn`t do that song and dance
again. And honestly, I think it`s worked fairly well for him in the last
month playing the game that way.

SHARPTON: Yes. But Joy, isn`t it hard for him to deny it when we have
footage of him saying it at one of the debates? I just played the footage.
And you know, we do a great job here but I`m sure we`re not the only show
that has the footage. He can`t put this on the Republican platform.

REID: No, absolutely. And Mitt Romney has shown a remarkable ability to
etch-a-sketch even on the face of videotape. I mean, he literally as quite
shameless about making his position so formless ad shapeless that her can
literally say on Monday something the opposite of what he said on Sunday
and say it without irony. And so far as, you know, Steve said, it`s
worked for him.

Look. The etch-a-sketch only works so long as the media at large allows it
to work. And the Romney campaign is counting on the fact that at the local
level, the local news media that`s covering -- that a lot of people are
getting their day-to-day political news from, isn`t going to call him on it
and that the national media, the sort of big overarching medians, shows
like this and cable, that his supporters, his core supporters don`t trust
the main stream media anyway. So, it doesn`t matter what he says.

So, he is literally trying to run a campaign that is unlike anything
identify seen in my life, which is he can literally just tailor his message
to the market that confronted him at that moment. And that by doing that,
he can win voters just in that moment and not worry about whether or not it
contradicts his past positions.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s an amazing attempt. We`ll see.

Steve Kornacki and Joy Reid, thanks for your time tonight.

And catch Steve on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m. Eastern right here on
MSNBC.

Coming up, is Mitt Romney lying about jobs in Ohio? Yes, lying. We will
look at the facts. Tonight the Obama campaign is hitting back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL CLINTON, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They put out a
statement today saying it was the biggest load of bull in the world. That
they would ever consider shutting down American operations. He ties
himself in more knots than a boy scout does in a knot-tying contest.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We will talk about it with Ohio former Democratic governor Ted
Strickland.

Plus, we have some new tapes from a private Romney fund-raiser. His 47
percent problems are coming back.

And the billionaire boys club meets voter suppression. You won`t believe
who`s behind those voter fraud billboards in Ohio and links to the Romney
campaign.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on facebook?
Today, everyone was talking about Chris Christie praising President Obama`s
handling of hurricane relief.

Bobby says, nice to see politicians from opposite parties working together
to serve the people.

Tricia said, anyone willing to cross party lines in this environment
deserves praise.

Marietta says, I still wonder about Christie`s political motive.

What do you think? 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: If the Romney campaigns end in desperation mode, even by the low
standard of the Romney campaign. What Mitt Romney is doing with the story
on jobs achieved in Ohio is something new. Here`s how it started in Ohio
last week.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: I saw a story today that one of the
great manufacturers in this state, jeep, now owned by the Italians, is
thinking of moving all production to China.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Romney immediately got called out by that by conservative
newspaper that endorsed him and by jeep`s parent company, calling the
statement a leap that would be difficult even for professional circus
acrobats. But -- well, maybe he didn`t see those fact-checks. Why else
would he put out this ad?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obama took GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy and sold
Chrysler to Italians who are going to build jeeps in China.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: To quote Bill Clinton, "that takes brass." But that ad got four
Pinocchios from the "Washington Post." It received the pats on fire rating
from Politifact. So obviously he stopped, right? Wrong. He`s now buying
radio ads in the Ohio city home of the jeep plant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now comes words that Chrysler plans to start making
jeeps in, you guessed it, China. What happened to the promises made to
autoworkers in Toledo and throughout Ohio? The same hard working men and
went who were told Obama`s auto bailout would help them?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Today Chrysler`s CEO sent a letter to employees saying, I feel
obliged to unambiguously restate our position. Jeep productions will not
be moved from the United States to chin China. It is inaccurate to suggest
anything different.

Inaccurate is a kind way of putting it. When corrected time and time
again, governor Romney has walked away from the truth. He hasn`t fibbed,
he hasn`t mudded the facts. He lied. And it`s a lie he is selling to the
people of Ohio. It`s desperate behavior from a desperate candidate.

Joining me now is former Ohio governor Ted Strickland, national co-chairman
for the Obama campaign.

Governor Strickland, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

TED STRICKLAND, (D) FORMER GOVERNOR OF OHIO: Reverend Al, what a
despicable thing dishonest thing this Romney campaign is doing. I think it
says something about Mitt Romney`s character. I think it says basically
he`s a dishonest person. He knows, his accusations regarding jeep leaving
Ohio and Toledo are not right. And he`s continuing to do it. And the
people of Ohio, I think, are going to punish this man by depriving him of
Ohio`s electoral votes and thereby depriving him of the presidency.

SHARPTON: Now, you know that state. You`ve been the governor there.

STRICKLAND: I do.

SHARPTON: You`re saying you don`t think it will work, you do not think
Ohioans will be fooled by this?

STRICKLAND: Listen, Ohioans know that President Barack Obama stood with us
when this vital industry was on its knees. They know that President Obama
saved the American auto industry. They also know that when Mitt Romney
went to defiance, Ohio, and said what he said, his information came from a
blog. Do we want a man in the presidency who gets his information from the
blogosphere and then makes an accusation like this, jeep is leaving Ohio,
depriving workers of their jobs and their livelihoods? And then when it`s
called to his attention, the plain dealer, the Politifact as you said, "the
Washington Post," they said that his accusations are lies and yet he
continues to spend money to spread that lie.

Reverend Al, what that says to me is Mitt Romney is desperate. He knows
Ohio is slipping through his fingers. And he knows he cannot be elected
president without winning Ohio. And this is a desperate act of a desperate
man, but it is dishonest and Mitt Romney should be ashamed of himself.

SHARPTON: So, governor, Mitt Romney knows he cannot win the presidency
without winning Ohio. No Republican has. So, it is your judgment. And
clearly, with all of these corrections and he still keeps doing it, he is
certainly some I can conclude that he`s just making a desperate attempt to
win at any cost.

STRICKLAND: Reverend Al, what he has just done is call attention to the
fact that he opposed the auto rescue. That he was the one who said, let
Detroit go bankrupt. And this is a late -- a late attempt a few days
before the election to try to somehow redeem himself in the eyes of
Ohioans.

It`s not going to work because Ohioans know that he was not on our side.
President Obama was the one who was on our side. And as I said, I think
Ohioans will recognize this for what it is, a dishonest attempt to
manipulate, to distort and to deceive and Ohioans will punish governor
Romney for doing this. I really believe that.

SHARPTON: Governor Ted Strickland, thanks, as always for your time
tonight.

STRICKLAND: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the 47 percent video exposed the real Mitt Romney.
Now a new secret tape shows just how extreme he is. You do not want to
miss this one.

And an incredible story developing. Why is Mitt Romney`s campaign training
poll watchers to deceive election officials? A big story tonight. The
reporter who broke the story reveals the documents. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We all know Republicans love to bash government except of course
when they can use it to their advantage.

In our latest example of a Republican with selective outrage over
government spending comes from Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon.
McMahon`s jobs plan caused for eliminating tax loopholes and ending
corporate welfare.

But, back when she was a wrestling executive, she was happy to take
advantage of corporate welfare. In 2009 when McMahon ran the world
wrestling entertainment, the company got more than $9.5 million in tax
credits. That was just months after they laid off 10 percent of their
employees, 60 workers. McMahon left the company that fall but her husband
still runs WWE. And since 2009 it`s got nearly $37 million in state tax
credits. Not exactly smacking down government.

As tax expert, David Cay Johnston explains, to credit, quote, "Many of the
wealthiest in America, while posing as entrepreneurs and captains of
capitalism, are in fact on welfare."

McMahon can`t wrestle her way out of this one. Did she think we wouldn`t
notice she slams the very kind of loopholes her company took advantage of?
Nice try, but we got you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: "Mother Jones" has uncovered a new audiotape showing Governor
Romney trying again to mislead voters. Not just on where he stands but on
where the president stands, too. It`s from a private fundraiser in March.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I`m convinced that if this president is re-elected, the war on
business and economic freedom will continue. I don`t think the president
likes you very much. You hear his business, I think he looks at you as a
necessary evil, and maybe not so necessary.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: President Obama thinks business is evil. Really? On this tape
Governor Romney even seems to forget where he stands on outsourcing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: When I heard of head of Coca-Cola say that the business
environment in America is less hospitable than the business environment in
China, I think we have a problem. Whether it`s energy or regulation or tax
policy or labor policy or legal policy or health care policy, I want
America to be the best place for business.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mr. Romney wants business to come to America. I wonder if that
includes all those jobs that were outsourced by companies that his firm,
Bain Capital, Invested in?

Folks, don`t be fooled by moderate Mitt, no matter how much he hopes you
will.

Joining me now is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "Mother Jones"
and an MSNBC political analyst, who also unveiled this newest Romney tape.
And Maria Theresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino and an MSNBC
contributor.

Thank you both for joining me.

DAVID CORN, AUTHOR, "SHOWDOWN": Sure thing.

Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: David, what do these latest tapes tell you about Governor
Romney?

CORN: You know, I`m really glad you played that second tape. Because if
you listen to it carefully and just think about it for a moment, it says
that Mitt Romney wants America to compete with China for having an
environment that`s more hospitable for business, but why -- why do
businesses go to China? They go there because there are low wages and weak
labor protections and nonexistent environmental standards.

So is he suggesting that that`s what he wants for American workers and
American consumers? I mean, it`s not a well thought out idea. And
certainly nothing that he will talk about in the campaign. And since we`re
in the closing days, probably nothing he`ll be pressed on. But there he is
saying, hey, guys, we`ve got to be as bad on all these things as China in
order to get businesses to come here rather than go there.

SHARPTON: And it`s also a mischaracterization of his position and the
president`s. Another thing, though, that struck me, Maria, is when I heard
Mrs. Romney at the fundraiser implied that the president isn`t adult enough
to lead the country. Listen to Mrs. Romney.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANN ROMNEY, WIFE OF MITT ROMNEY: And we look at what`s happening in Greece
and we look at what`s happening around the world, we look at what`s
happening internationally. This is a frightening world and we need a
grownup and we need someone to understand the economy. So I`m glad Mitt
can be this grownup to you all.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, ha, ha, ha. I`m glad Mitt is the grownup in all of
this? We need a grownup? I mean with all that the president has done
around the world from bin Laden across the board? He`s not a grown-up? I
mean the implications of that are very offensive than when you see them in
debates acting all cordial to the president.

MARIA TERESA KUMAR, PRESIDENT AND CEO, VOTO LATINO: Well, it`s a little
bit more. I mean Ann Romney, obviously, she`s not running for president
but then you can actually think that you actually that Romney by extension
actually believes that the president is not a grown-up by comparing him to
one of his sons during the presidential debate.

And this is incredibly sensitive, given the fact that 2008 was such a
historical election, our very first African-American president, disparaging
not only to the man, Barack Obama, but also be disparaging of the Office of
the Presidency. I think it`s not only disparaging but shame on her. And I
think it`s something we have to look at closely.

But I love what David was saying earlier when we were talking about Mitt
Romney wanting to turn back the clock. He sounds like a Robert -- the
Robert Behrens of the 1910s where he believes that individual hard work is
only based on hard work if you are a fat cat on Wall Street and a
(INAUDIBLE) here. He`s not talking about the small business stimulus that
President Obama has actually promoted during his presidency. He`s not
talking about the auto bailout. He`s not talking about main street. His
definition of business seems only to be a firm Wall Street.

SHARPTON: Now he`s also trying to make himself appeal more moderate, he`s
trying to redo himself right before your very eyes, David. Minnesota
Senator Norm Coleman, let me use him as an example. He`s a Romney
surrogate, talking to concerned voters in Ohio yesterday. Watch what he
says.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. NORM COLEMAN, (R) MINNESOTA: The reality is choices is an issue for a
lot of people, an important issue. President Bush was president eight
years, Roe v. Wade wasn`t reversed. He had two Supreme Court choice picks,
Roe V. Wade wasn`t reversed. It`s not going to be reversed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now Romney has stated clearly it is his personal desire to
reverse Roe versus Wade. Now he has surrogates out there saying, this
isn`t going to happen? I mean, this -- you`re talking about Etch-A-Sketch,
this is amazing.

CORN: I am shocked, Reverend, that you`re shocked that someone connected
to the Romney campaign might say something that`s not all together true. I
mean, look at what we`ve seen for the last couple of weeks. Mitt Romney
has been making -- in essence, making a U-turn at 60 miles per hour on a
crowded freeway and saying, don`t pay any attention to this. Look, I`m a
moderate. I`m not going to do anything with abortion. I love those
immigrants. Boy, do I love those immigrants now.

KUMAR: Wait, and, David, and I think, David, yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CORN: Again and again.

KUMAR: David, I get what you`re saying, yes. I think, David, what you`re
saying at the same time is that Mitt Romney right now -- you know, when I
was growing up my mom always said you are who your friends are. And David,
what you`re saying is exactly right. He`s against -- you know, he picked
Paul Ryan as his vice presidential nominee, who`s basically against not
only against --

CORN: Correct.

KUMAR: -- pro choice but also against -- making sure against gay rights
and also defunding Medicare. I mean, this is who Mitt Romney is. And he
can`t get away from that.

SHARPTON: No, but let`s not even, Maria, go to his friends. Let me play
to you what Mitt Romney said about Roe versus Wade.

CORN: Yes.

SHARPTON: Watch this.

KUMAR: There we go.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I hope to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that will follow
the law and the constitution. And it would be my preference that they --
that they reverse Roe v. Wade.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: "That would be my preference that they reverse Roe versus Wade."
Now you play that and you show what Coleman just said on his behalf. I
mean, come on, we`re not talking about friends here. We`re talking about
moderate Mitt himself.

(CROSSTALK)

KUMAR: Well, it`s not even moderate Mitt. Yes. I mean it`s not even
moderate Mitt. I think what is happening is that he`s basically -- you`re
right. He has his own words to be used against him but it`s also
disingenuous when Senator Coleman was comparing what Bush did for the
Supreme Court. It`s a gradual turn. And the fact that we have three
Supreme Court justices that are in their mid-70s, one of, you know,
questionable health, you just need to basically appoint one to judicial
activist to the Supreme Court and Roe versus Wade will be turned overnight.

And I think that -- again, it`s disingenuous for Mitt not only to say
that`s not true but also Senator Coleman as a surrogate not to be
forthcoming.

SHARPTON: David, I`ll give you the last word. Go ahead.

CORN: Yes. I think it`s a mistake to call him moderate Mitt even though I
know you`re doing is derisively, because he really is say anything Mitt.
After that clip you just played, three weeks ago, he said, listen, I have
no legislative agenda for getting rid of Roe v. Wade, even though he said
he wanted to. And then his campaign came out and said, wait a second,
that`s not really true. He supports getting rid of Roe v. Wade.

It`s truly say anything at any point in time. And you did a very good job
earlier in the show saying what was happening with China and the Jeep
commercial out in Ohio. So moderation has nothing to do with this. It`s
purely whatever works.

SHARPTON: David Corn and Maria Theresa Kumar, thanks for your time.

CORN: Sure thing.

KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, why is Mitt Romney`s campaign training poll watchers?
To deceit people at the polls. It`s a big developing story. The reporter
who broke it joins us.

And mystery solved. Billionaire boys club meets voter suppression. We
know who`s behind these billboards. That`s coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re still a week away from November 6th but in most of the
country, election day is already here. Seventeen million people have
already voted through early voting or absentee ballots. And our Facebook
page, many of you have sent photos of early voting in your hometown.

Sheri sent us this photo of voting early in Washington, D.C., alongside her
parents and her 94-year-old grandmother. Three generations of early
voting.

Elizabeth sent us this photo of Husker the pug, helping her vote by mail in
Phoenix, Arizona, as she said, adios, Sheriff Joe. And if you`re having
any problems at the voting booth, tweet us at politicsnation, use the hash
tag "protect the vote" or come to our Facebook page and message us. And we
have a big story on voter intimidation in a key state. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with the relentless right-wing effort to block the
vote. Think Progress exclusively reports on the Romney campaign training
volunteer poll watchers to mislead voters in Wisconsin. The training also
encouraged volunteers to deceive election officials and the public about
who they were associated with. They obtained Mitt Romney campaign`s
Volunteer Observer, the training manual given volunteers during training
sessions in Wisconsin.

This section raises serious concerns. Rules regarding observers.
Volunteers are specifically told to sign in as, quote, "concerned citizen,"
not as connected to the Romney campaign. So why is the Romney campaign
telling poll volunteers to be purposely deceptive?

Think Progress obtained audio from one of the training sessions. Here is
the person leading the session.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRISTINA SESEK, VOLUNTEER: We`re going to have you sign in this election
cycle as concerned citizen. We`re just trying to alleviate some of the
animosity of being a Republican observer up front.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Animosity? Poll watchers nothing new has been going on for
years, Republicans and Democrats do it. It`s a legal and necessary product
of free and fair elections, but the Romney campaign doesn`t want voters to
know they`re there.

Gee, I wonder why.

Joining me now is Scott Keyes, who broke the story for Think Progress, and
Joe Madison, nationally syndicated radio host from Sirius/XM The Power.

JOE MADISON, SIRIUS XM RADIO HOST: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.

MADISON: Thank you.

SCOTT KEYES, THINK PROGRESS: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Scott, what else -- Scott, what else can you tell us about your
reporting? I mean anything misleading coming from the campaign?

KEYES: Sure. Think Progress obtained this document that is being used in
Romney poll watcher trainings around the state. We identified as many as
17 such trainings that have occurred in the last month. And not only are
they being instructed to sign in at the polls as a concerned citizen rather
than, you know, mentioned -- or disclose any affiliation with the Romney
campaign or the Republican Party, they`re also being given highly
misleading and sometimes downright false information.

For instance, they`re told on one of the pages that -- given a list of
ineligible voters. One of those is anybody who`s ever committed a felony
in the state. That`s patently not true. Wisconsin law allows for anybody
with a felony, once they have completed their sentence, they`re given their
voting rights back.

These are tens of thousands of Wisconsinites in this situation who the
Romney campaign is encouraging their poll watchers to say they are
ineligible voters.

SHARPTON: Now who was the woman on the tape we played? Her name is
Kristina Sesek. We have her LinkedIn page. Under experience she writes,
general counsel, election day operations direction, Republican Party of
Wisconsin.

So, Scott, who is she?

KEYES: She is a 2011 graduate of Marquette Law School, who`s legal counsel
for Romney campaign and the Republican Party in Wisconsin. And it appears
that she`s been conducting these poll watcher training across the state in
places like Racine and Green Bay. Helping train these volunteers who are
then going to fan out on election day and try to be -- even though they`re
representatives of the Romney campaign, not disclosing that information
when they actually get to the polls.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, poll watching is done by all party. Civil rights
groups, you and I have been affiliated with.

MADISON: Right.

SHARPTON: I mean there`s nothing wrong with it. Why would someone want to
purposely deceive their connection or affiliation with poll watching unless
there`s something they`re going to do -- or dealing with here that does not
meet the eye?

MADISON: Well, they might get one of those Samuel L. Jackson attitudes,
you know, get out of my face mentality. First of all, let`s understand
what this is -- who they`re directing this at. They will -- it will slow
down, for example, the process. Now if you slow down the process -- look
how long the lines have been for voting early. Imagine what the lines will
look like on election day. So you slow down the process by having all of
these challenges.

Number two, the elderly are targeted because they lie and they say that a
poll worker can`t come out and help an elderly who might be in a car or a
van who has a wheelchair. Well, that`s a lie. It slows down those who
might be discouraged, thinking I can`t vote because I have a record even
though I`m qualified.

SHARPTON: Right.

MADISON: It`s targeting people. But here`s what -- here`s the best answer
to this. One, what you`ve done and others have done, this is an argument
for voting early. This is an argument so you don`t have to put up with
that mess. And secondly, I think people ought to, if approached by these
folks, ought to basically tell people, get out of my face, this is my vote,
my vote counts just like anybody else, and I`ll go in here and I`ll vote
the way I want to and not be put off by this. I`m so glad Think Progress
did this because now we can put people on notice, don`t be fooled by this.

SHARPTON: Now, Scott, we understand that the Romney campaign is training
poll watchers in at least two other states. Here`s the sign page for early
voting poll watchers in Nevada. And after Think Progress reported on the
Wisconsin poll watching training program, the campaign blocked access to
the sign-up page.

Here`s the Ohio sign-up page, which also asked volunteers to, quote, "help
protect democracy." So this is more than just Wisconsin, Scott.

KEYES: Well, that`s one of the scary things here is for every document
that we were able to obtain here, there`s probably 10, 20, 50 other ones
that we just don`t know about. And that`s just within the Romney campaign.
I mean, there are these new outside groups who are fanning across the
country like True the Vote whose expressed purpose is to send poll watchers
essentially to minority heavy districts and try to do the same types of
things, slowing down the process, issuing challenges on eligibility, trying
to make it as -- put up as many barriers as possible to vote.

SHARPTON: Well, so that we must deal with these barriers and keep going,
as Joe Madison said, get out of my face, let me vote.

(LAUGHTER)

MADISON: That`s right. Get out of my face, I`m going to vote.
Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Scott, Joe, thanks for your time tonight.

MADISON: Thank you, Rev.

KEYES: Thanks for having me.

SHARPTON: Up next, the billionaire boys club that`s funding voting
suppression. We finally learn who`s behind those voter fraud billboards in
the Midwest.

Stay wit us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Finally tonight, mystery solved. We finally learned who`s
behind those intimidating voter fraud billboards showing up in
predominantly minority neighborhoods in Ohio and Wisconsin. And tonight
we`re going to help make them famous so you will all know them, too.

For weeks we`ve been trying to find out who is paying for these billboards
intended to scare minority voters in Wisconsin and Ohio. Now we have an
answer.

It`s this man. Stephen Einhorn`s Family Foundation. So who is he? He`s a
hedge fund manager on the Milwaukee Art Museum board, used to be on the
board of Milwaukee Repertory Theater. He`s even the treasurer for the art
consortium, a think tank for the museum industry, and he`s a major GOP
donor. He and his wife donated the maximum $5,000 to Romney`s presidential
campaign. His wife gave more than $2,000 to Paul Ryan and more than
$30,000 to the RNC, and they gave $50,000 to Wisconsin governor, Scott
Walker.

Last week Clear Channel Outdoor took down the billboards. But why would
the Einhorns want these signs up in the first place?

Scott Ross, executive director of One Wisconsin Now, said, quote, "Perhaps
their Chicago public relations firm could answer why the Einhorns only felt
it necessary to target legal voters in minority communities and why they
didn`t feel the need to do this public service throughout communities
across Wisconsin where a majority of residents are white, or put their
names on it rather than hiding behind the cowardly veil of anonymity?"

Einhorn was preying off the fears of poor minority voters. People I fought
my entire life for.

A great thing about this country is you can do whatever you want with your
money. And as I showed, he`s given money to many cultural groups but now
this? This is what he decided to spend money on? Since President Obama
took office, the stock market has gone up 67 percent.

I assume Mr. Einhorn`s business has done very well under this president.
And his response is to put up these billboards in minority communities to
suppress people from voting? Well, not really something he and his family
can be proud of. I don`t begrudge you having a lot of money. Why do you
begrudge legal people from voting without being selectively targeted for
intimidation?

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

END

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