PoliticsNation, Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
Read the transcript from the Wednesday show
October 31, 2012
Guests: Dana Milbank; Connie Schultz; Jamal Simmons; Mary Kay Henry; Jim Greer
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris, and thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m live tonight in Atlanta.
Tonight`s lead, it looks like Obama/Christie 2012. President Obama in
New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie today toured areas hard hit areas of
hurricane Sandy. Their survey of the devastation reminded Americans of how
many people are suffering from the storm and how essential it is for
government to help them. And then Governor Christie, the man Mitt Romney
handpicked to give the keynote address at his convention began to praise
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: Obviously, I want to
thank the president. We spent a significant afternoon together surveying
the damage up and down the New Jersey coastline. We were on marine one
together and be able to show the president that personally. (INAUDIBLE) to
see it. And we had an opportunity to discuss it at length. And then going
over to the shelter here, being able to meet with folks, to have them sees
the president and his concern. He has sprung into action immediately to
help us give us those things while we were in the car riding together.
And so, I want to thank him for that. He has worked incredibly
closely with me since before the storm hit. This is our sixth conversation
since the weekend and it`s been a great working relationship to make sure
that we`re doing the jobs that people elected us to do. And I cannot thank
the president enough for his personal concern and compassion for our state
and for the people of our state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: How do you think that went over at the Romney campaign?
Then it was the president`s turn.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The first thing I want
to do is just to thank everybody who has been involved in the entire rescue
and recovery process.
At the top of my list, I have to say that Governor Christie,
throughout this process, has been responsive. He`s been aggressive in
making sure that the state got out in front of this incredible storm and I
think the people of the New Jersey recognize that he has put his heart and
soul into making sure the people of New Jersey bounce back even stronger
than before. So I just want to thank him for his extraordinary leadership
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: As for Mitt Romney today, he held several so-called victory
rallies in Florida. At least this time he`s admitting it`s political.
That`s something he didn`t do yesterday when he held supposedly
nonpolitical storm relief events.
Today, we learned that the Romney campaign actually surprised some of
the donations. We all forth came from volunteers. "Buzz Feed" says quote
"campaign aides went to a local Wal-Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars,
canned foods and diapers to put on display, all to make Romney look like a
leader who can inspire." "Buzz Feed" said that when teenage boys showed up
empty handed, they retrieved the jar of peanut butter each and got in line.
When it was their turn, they handed their donations to Romney. He took
them, smiled and offered an earnest "thank you."
Today, we also learned that Paul Ryan`s staff went out of their way to
stage manager a storm photo op at a donation center in Wisconsin. "Buzz
Feed" says quote, "the packing was proceeding too quickly and the
supporters were given the order to slow down and then to stop to be sure
that there was still goods to be packed when Ryan entered.
When Ryan entered? Another staged event just like his fiasco at the
soup kitchen? Earlier this month, Paul Ryan went to an empty soup kitchen
to wash two products that had already been left there for him to clean.
Empty gestures, phony photo ops, petty politics. And once again today,
Mitt Romney not answering questions about whether he still wants to
privatize FEMA and cut federal disaster relief. Or a working president
with a Republican governor to get something done and fulfill a basic role
of government. Take care of people.
That`s the choice in this election. Do we want a country that says,
you`re on your own when you`re in trouble or that we`re all in this
together and we care for all of us collectively.
Joining me now is Victoria Defrancesca Soto, a fellow at the
University of Texas and an NBC Latino contributor and Jonathan Capeheart,
an opinion writer for "the Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.
Victoria, what we are seeing in New Jersey today with the Republican
governor working hand in hand with the president, isn`t this the way
government is supposed to work?
VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, NBC LATINO CONTRIBUTOR: Absolutely. You
know, hurricane Sandy has shown us that we need a robust central government
that can work together with the states. And this role of the federal
government working hand in hand with state government flies in the face of
everything that Mitt Romney and his party stands for, which is just de-
centralizing everything down to the state level. But regrettably,
hurricanes don`t respect state borders and you`re going to need a
coordinated effort across federal and state and a pro-state government. So
I think we here we saw a demonstration of what truly needs to be done in
such a disaster.
SHARPTON: And this was across party lines, state and federal lines, a
picture of working together. And the president had words for those who had
been hit the hardest by hurricane Sandy and for those who are working
overtime. Let me hear some of that, Jonathan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: We need to make sure that everybody who has lost a loved one
knows that they are in our thoughts and prayers.
I want to thank all of the first responders who have been involved in
this process, the linesmen, the firefighters, the one thing that you learn
in these tragedies is the first responders -- keep in mind, their homes are
usually underwater, too, or their family has been affected in some way and
yet they make those personal sacrifices to help other people. So, we
really appreciate them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And the American people, Jonathan, seem to appreciate what
the president did and a "Washington Post"/ABC poll, response to hurricane
Sandy, excellent or good, 78 percent for President Obama. Excellent or
good, just 44 percent for Governor Romney. Jonathan?
JONATHAN CAPEHART, OPINION WRITER, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, as we
have seen today and actually since hurricane Sandy made landfall, that the
president, in doing his day job, is probably the best thing that he could
be doing right now in the final week of the presidential campaign, showing
people that this is what a president does.
CAPEHART: And watching the video of Governor Christie and President
Obama together, you know, I felt this wave of nostalgia wash over me
because this harkened back to a time when Democrats and Republicans could
fight like hell to get legislation through, to get things passed. But when
the national interest demanded it, they put politics aside to do what is
best for the American people. And that`s what we are seeing - I should
say, that what we saw in New Jersey today when you have the governor and
you have the president.
And, remember, the governor is someone who has hammered the president
pretty hard on the campaign trail on behalf of Governor Mitt Romney. And
when disaster struck, the governor and the president put their hardest and
politics aside to do what is best, to do what is best for the people of the
Garden State. We need more of that.
SHARPTON: Well, there was not that in every corner. For example, FOX
News` D.C. managing editor Brit Hume tweeted this. "The big federal
government some say has needed to deal well big problems like Sandy went
home early in D.C. yesterday and is mostly closed today."
Or, Grover Norquist, the right wing anti-tax leader using hurricane
Sandy to attack the president. His group is distributing a flyer with a
picture of the president and a storm and the caption. We have seen storms
in Virginia, but none like this. Saying the president hasn`t done enough
to deal with the national debt. So even as we deal with this bipartisan
federal government state-level kind of unity, we are seeing those that are
using this as an opportunity to step over the debris and the suffering
people and continue taking shots at the president. In many cases,
unfounded shots at that, Victoria.
SOTO: You know, one would think that if there`s one time when we all
come together as a natural disaster like this. But, what we are seeing is
that the president in going forward is showing his multidimensionality.
That he can be a commander in chief at all times.
And this is where the weakness of Mitt Romney really comes out.
Because he has been campaigning that he`s a businessman and he is a
business leader. But, businesses are all about the bottom line. It is
about the profit. And while in government you have to take concern for the
budget, you also need to have a broader base concern for the humanity of
those people that elected you. And not just those that voted for you or
not just the 47 percent but for everybody. And this is the inherent
weakness that Romney is facing in light of this disaster.
SHARPTON: But isn`t that the point, Jonathan? The storm comes, the
waters come over the line in terms of the beaches or whatever the
boundaries are in New York, New Jersey, and that the waters don`t ask, are
you Republican or Democrat, whether you are one percent or 99, everyone is
at risk, everyone suffers and expect their leadership to come and respond
in kind by going across boundaries.
CAPEHART: This is when a disaster like this is when people have to
come to term with the fact that while they might want a limited government,
they don`t want government in their lives, at some point, especially when
disaster strikes, they want government to be there. Especially in your
times of need, when you are most vulnerable. You try telling people in New
Jersey and Connecticut and Maryland and places that have been dramatically
affected by hurricane Sandy, you try telling them that they are on their
own and that they shouldn`t expect or shouldn`t ask the federal government
to help them not only help rebuild their lives but rebuild their
communities. That`s not going to fly.
SHARPTON: Yes. Well, Victoria, Jonathan, thank you so much for your
CAPEHART: Thanks a lot, Rev.
SOTO: Thanks a lot, Rev.
SHARPTON: Coming up, Mitt Romney`s hit-and-run with the truth. Do
Republicans really think they can get away with this right before Election
Day? Not a chance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Remember, the
president talked about Romnesia? Well, it`s contagious. Congressman
Ryan`s caught it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Plus, we will expose the GOP`s dirty treks campaign against
the president. Some hateful language could show up on your cell phone.
And the guy whose fingerprint was all over Florida`s 2000 fiasco is
back and trying to suppress the vote in 2012 is a big story tonight and
you`re going to hear it.
You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.
SHARPTON: Paul Ryan voted for the auto bailout. But, you won`t
believe what he`s saying about it now. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." from the beginning,
Governor Mitt Romney`s campaign has been allergic to the truth pushing a
desperate, completely false ad claiming that jeep is shipping jobs to China
and today his running mate is spinning more of the same.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: These companies,
Chrysler in particular, we know their story, they are now choosing to
expand to manufacturing overseas. These are the facts.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The facts? What about the fact that the company is also
expanding in America? Politico has given this line of pants on fire. He
has gotten four Pinnochios from "the Washington Post." He has been slammed
by the CEOs of Chrysler and GM called out by the conservative of the
Detroit news, by the Cleveland playing dealer, by the Columbus dispatch.
Today, the Denver post editorial board hit the Romney campaign for
outsourcing the truth on jeeps, saying it smells like desperation and it`s
shameful. Today, vice president Biden ripped into the Romney lot.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIDEN: In the last hours of this campaign, they have become truly
The Romneyan (ph) knows that and those very places where these people
just got back on their feet, trying to scare the living but devil on.
Chrysler said, quote, "it was a called the ad of leap that would be
difficult even for a professional circus acrobat." That`s the quote.
By the way, I don`t think they are acrobats. I think these guys are
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: But, why the contortionists? Why it seemed Romney exposed
himself to this unrelenting criticism? Here is the reason, Governor Romney
is down by five points in Ohio, according to the latest polls. That is all
this is. For Mr. Romney, desperate times call for desperate measures and
it doesn`t matter how much the truth suffers.
Joining me now is Pulitzer Prize Connie Schultz. She writes today
"why Romney will lose Ohio. Hint, hint." And Dana Milbank, columnist for
"the Washington Post." He is writing that Romney goes off road with the
Thanks to both of for being here tonight.
Connie, let me start with you. You were born and raised in Ohio with
ties to the auto industry.
CONNIE SCHULTZ, PULITZER PRIZE-WINNING COLUMNIST: Yes.
SHARPTON: How are Ohioans responding to this false attack by Romney
SCHULTZ: Well, that`s what so interesting to me because I come from
these people. I come from utility workers and auto plant workers and steel
workers. And I think Romney campaign thinks that my kind of people, the
people that I come from are stupid.
But I`ve been traveling the state, all over the state. And in fact, I
was in three different towns today and I`ve been at a lot of packed halls
with auto workers and people who work in these companies that supply the
You`re talking about 800,000 jobs in auto-related jobs in Ohio, which
means you`re talking about more than half a million families who depend on
these wages and have better lives because of it and at Chrysler, at jeep in
Toledo, they have more than 100 electricians right now working in that
plant, gearing it up to amped up production next year to start a whole new
So it doesn`t make sense to me why Romney would do this, why Ryan and
Romney -- unless they are really counting on the people I come from to not
understand exactly what kind of stunt they are pull here and they are
wrong. And that`s why Romney is going to lose Ohio.
SHARPTON: But, how could they feel that people don`t see people`s
right in their own community working like these electricians? I mean, it`s
amazing to me for them to assume that people are not going to see what is
actually happening right in their own state, right on their own
SCHULTZ: Well, I tell you what, Reverend, if you don`t know these
people, if you don`t mingle with these people, if you don`t actually spend
any time with them, then I suspect that you can make all kinds of
assumptions about them that are wrong.
And don`t forget the other thing what happened here in Ohio last year.
The Republicans did the same thing. They went after state workers. They
went after their rights of collective bargaining and we defeated that
measure. And larger numbers and even those of us who were really, really
plug in for us to see expected. And they are going after the same kind of
It`s just not going after the people who work in this industry. That
means that they have neighbors. They have friends. They have relatives
who care about them, even if they don`t work in these jobs. And so they
are offended when Romney pulls this.
SHARPTON: Now, Dana, Congressman Ryan voted for the auto bailout but
just a short time ago he argued it wasn`t a success. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RYAN: Everybody wants a strong and vibrant auto sector. We want a
strong manufacturing sector. But today you might have heard that Joe
Biden, again, was at it again. Today, he was talking about the government
bailout which he keeps touting is an unqualified success story. I tell you
what, ask those salary Delphi workers in Oak Creek, if they feel like it
was a success story. Ask the Chrysler (INAUDIBLE) engine people if they
think that this was a success story. The facts, they speak for themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, what is he talking about, Dana? He voted for it
and it was a success.
DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Well, I`m a
little confused because now he`s going to have an argument with his boss,
Mitt Romney, who has said that in fact the whole thing was a success
because President Obama followed his advice, which wasn`t true in the first
place. But, still, they`ve got to get their falsehoods all lined up here
if people are going to start asking questions.
I think what happened here in Ohio is they were looking at this and
said, look, we`re down five points or whatever and a whole bunch of these
polls. We are losing the state. Let`s roll the dice. I think they
realized there could be this kind of backlash that they are getting not
just from the media but from the corporations themselves.
The question is, how many of the people can they fool and would the
truth actually get out to them before Election Day? It does not appear
that that gamble is working at this particular moment.
SHARPTON: Now, Connie, let me ask you as an Ohioan. The race seems
to be tight, despite the fact that voters think the president cares about
them more. Only 44 percent say that Romney cares about the needs and
problems of the people like them. Fifty-two percent say he does not. By
contrast, 62 percent thinks President Obama cares about the needs and
problems of the people and they like him. Just 36 percent say that he does
not. Why is the race so tight, then, if that`s the feeling?
SCHULTZ: Well, Reverend, you have been to Ohio, I think, in the last
few months and if you turn on your TV in the hotel room, you will notice we
are not watching a lot of beer ads or Viagra ads these days. It`s all
politics. It is all campaign ads and they are some of the nastiness stuff
that we`ve seen in these days. So, of course, that is going to chip away
at the president`s sleeve. But, ultimately, I do believe the president is
going to win this state. I think it will be close and I think what is
going to matter most is the ground game and geo TV efforts are up and
running with ferocious force around the state.
But, I do want to reiterate - you know, I drive a Chevy Cruze.
SCHULTZ: It is made in Ohio. And I love that car. I bought it in
July. I trade it on my Pontiac vibe. I part, the biggest reason I got it
is because of where I come and who I come from. And there is, so many
towns up - full of workers who are contributing supplies to that car. More
than a dozen. You know, you can just rattle off the list of cities where
workers are contributing to the assembly of the Chevy Cruze. You got 4,500
workers in Lords Town. And this is really important, working around the
clock now. They have three shifts in Lawrence Town producing one of the
best selling cars in America. That is a success story of Ohio and Ohio
workers and I couldn`t be prouder to be in this state. And they can all
the nastiest --
SHARPTON: It`s a great success story.
Dana, how is this going to work itself out? What is going to happen
in Ohio in and has this jeep story backfired ultimately on the Ryan/Romney
MILBANK: You know, it is certainly looks as if it has now, Reverend.
There`s a reason people don`t take a whole lot of heed of what these fact
checkers are saying and that is, you can often get away with these things.
But, when you have a situation like this where there is critical mass and
it`s so egregiously false, a 180 degrees opposite of the truth. This isn`t
a matter of interpretation. This is just plain false and you have this
kind of a snowballing effect. That can really come back and hurt you.
They took -- they rolled the dice here because the Romney team feels they
have to win in Ohio and it would be interesting if this turns out to be
reason they don`t.
SHARPTON: Connie Schultz and Dana Milbank, thank you both for your
MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.
SCHULTZ: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: Coming up, from intimidating billboards to anti-Obama text
messages, they are all in to smear the president. We`ll tell you who is
behind all of this.
Plus, more on the incredible story developing and why is Mitt Romney
campaign training poll watchers to deceive election officials? We have
news tonight. Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Mitt Romney`s momentum has some of his team arguing he can
win states like Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and even Michigan. But Democrats
aren`t worried. Just listen to what Obama senior adviser David Axelrod
said it today about it on "Morning Joe."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID AXELROD, OBAMA CHIEF CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST: I will come on
"MORNING JOE" and I will shave up my mustache of 40 years if we lose any of
those three states. So, if we lose Minnesota, Michigan, or Pennsylvania
you will shave off that mustache?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Yes, on the show.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Yes, but what I should do is make a deal
with you and say you`ll grow one if we win them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The stash bet is on. Right away the political world was
buzzing about the bet. "The Washington Post" wrote, David Axelrod
recklessly endangers an American treasure. I agree with that one. And the
American mustache institute chairman says, it`s incredibly irresponsible
for Axelrod to be playing games with such an exceptionally powerful
mustache. That`s coming from the chairman.
The mustache even got its own parity twitter account with hand on
Axelrod`s stash. Do you think the stash bet is a good bet? We want to
know. Head over to facebook and search "Politics Nation" ad like to join
the conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: Mitt Romney is down in the polls. He`d lose the election
if it were held today and Republicans know it. That`s why they are playing
Last night, hundreds of people received anti-Obama text messages on
their phones from an unknown source. They said things like, quote, "Obama
stole $716 billion in Medicare. We can`t trust Obama to protect our
seniors. Or they say, Obama denies protection to babies who survive
abortion. Obama`s just wrong. And Obama supports homosexuality and his
radical social agenda. Say no to Obama now on November 6th."
Today, we found out who was behind those texts. Jason Flanary, a
former Republican candidate in Virginia who now runs a company called CC
advertising. Their Web site says they provide artificially intelligent
personalized telephone surveys to clients, also known as robo calls and
their clients include conservative congressman Roy Blunt of Missouri,
Grover Norquist, Americans for tax reform, and the Alaska Republican party.
They will stop at nothing to smear the president. Romney supporters
are even telling outright lies at campaign events. Today, a GOP official
shouted out that bogus claim that the president is handing out so-called
Obama phones in order to get votes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM PUTNAM (R), FORMER CONGRESSMAN, FLORIDA: We`ve got to drag
people to the polls. That`s what they are doing. You don`t have to offer
them cell phones like they are doing but, by golly, take people to the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: It`s just not the Romney supporters, it is the candidate
himself. Today, the Romney campaign revived as repeating the debunk
racially charge claim that President Obama is taking work out of welfare.
Republicans are trying to spook us just in time for Halloween. But, their
bag of dirty tricks won`t work.
Joining me now Mary , president of the service employees international
union and Jamal Simmons, a Democratic, strategist.
Thank you both for being here tonight.
Let me start with you, Mary Kay Henry. Are we going to see a lot more
of these dirty tricks in the next six days, in your opinion, Mary Kay?
MARY KAY HENRY, PRESIDENT, SERVICE EMPLOYEE INTERNATIONAL UNION: Yes,
we are Reverend, for the reason thaw just said. They cannot repeal on
voters for the economy that works for everybody. So instead, they are
going to distract voters by sending out these ridiculous lies and text
messages, post cards, billboards, robo calls. They are going turn over
every rock they can to try and distract and confused and divide voters and
we are not having it. We have a ground game that is going to unite people
to exercise their right to vote and we intend to drive a vote out that will
win for the president on Election Day.
SHARPTON: Now, you know, I`ve been all over the country with the
nonpartisan voter protection stuff Mash action network (ph). I see your
grounds through SEIU everywhere. What are you getting on the ground in
response to these dirty tricks? Are they backfiring?
HENRY: I would say it`s motivating our member leaders that are on the
doors and it`s motivating voters that we`re talking to say, wait a second,
they are definitely trying to steal this vote now so I better grab my
neighbor and get to the polls or I better get to church and make sure
everybody knows, like the great thing that you did this past weekend on
souls to the polls, it`s the kind of response that I think people are
doing. We had a group of high school students` march together to stop
intimidation at the early vote places. So there`s been an out pouring of
support for protecting the right to vote.
SHARPTON: Jamal, a Republican named Steve Einhorn was behind the
intimidating voter billboard showing up in predominantly minority
neighborhoods in Ohio and Wisconsin. Einhorn is a Wisconsin hedge foot
(ph). His wife, Nancy, donated thousands of dollars to the GOP campaign.
He and his wife, Nancy, donated the maximum $5,000 to the Romney
presidential campaign. His wife gave more than 200,000 to Ryan and more
than 30,000 at RNC and they gave $50,000 to Wisconsin governor Scott
Walker. They put up these intimidating signs, mostly minority communities.
These are the kinds of things that real dirty tricky and talkative this
JAMAL SIMMONS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Absolutely. And you know, Rev,
I know you seen this. We have seen this through a mile years in politics.
You know, Sunday before election, you`ll see flyers on African-American
church parking lot windshields, giving people misinformation or saying, you
know, voter fraud is a fine punishable - punishable by fines and jail
times. You will see robo calls that will go out Wednesday or Sunday and
Monday before the elections trying to scare people away from the polls.
There is just a history of Republicans resorting to these kinds of
tactics to try to keep people from exercising the constitutional rights.
But frankly, it is really just despicable.
SHARPTON: Now, Mary Kay, I want to ask you about this. Yesterday, we
told people about the report from think progress saying that the Romney
campaign is actually training poll watchers to mislead voters in Wisconsin.
The training also encouraged volunteers to deceive election workers and the
public about who they were associated with which is not wrong with having
poll watchers from a campaign. But they were told deliberately don`t say
you would to Romney campaign.
Today, the Wisconsin government accountability board, which oversees
the election, is formally objecting to the Romney training manual urging
incognito poll watchers. The tout NBC`s Michael Isikoff quote "our plan is
to contact the Romney campaign and tell them that there are issues. Why
would people tell people that are going to be poll watchers when everybody
has in both partisan ad nonpartisan, why would they tell them, Mary Kay, go
to the polls, but don`t say you would Romney say that you are concerned
HENRY: It`s just another extension of the dirty trick in trying to
again, confuse people by acting as if you`re a government official giving
information that is not bias rather than identifying yourself as
representing the Romney campaign. And thank God that government worked in
Wisconsin this time by having the government said it was unacceptable for
them not to be able to identify who they are.
And that`s why the ground game is so important. We have hundreds of
volunteers who have relationships and this is going to boil down to, who do
I trust and that`s why making sure we reach out to each and have this
debate as a nation about the direction that we want this country to go,
that we are all in it together. It is so important in these final six
SHARPTON: No, Jamal.
SIMMONS: It`s also why it`s incredibly - I`m sorry to interrupt. But
it is also why it is incredibly important that the Democrats and people who
are progressive have their own poll watchers in the building.
SIMMONS: Because a lot of what this is meant to do is intimidate
people my grandmother who used to go down to the polls, she`s an elderly
woman, not very educated, go out in the polls, trying to do her civic duty
and you have some guy standing over her shoulder telling her, this is not
right. This is not right. You should - you don`t allow this. Try to
intimidate the senior citizens who are just trying to help people vote.
And so, you have to have Democrats or progressives at the poll saying, no,
here is the law. Here is what`s right and keep people able to exercise
their constitutional right and vote on Election Day.
SHARPTON: Now, when you talk about the ground game, Mary Kay, I want
people to understand this is also in the midst of big money being used by
the right wing. The Koch brothers Americans for prosperity have launched a
$3 million campaign in Pennsylvania and Michigan alone, restore our future
with millions of dollars of donation from Sheldon Adelson is running a 3.9
million dollar ad campaign in Pennsylvania and Minnesota and New Mexico,
just three states and Karl Rove and American cross roads and cross roads
GPS bought $17.7 million in ad space in just eight key swing states without
a ground game it`s hard to go up against this kind of money, Mary Kay.
HENRY: That`s right. And it is chump change compared to the hundreds
of millions that have already been spent pummeling voters in trying to
confuse them about are the real choices in this election. And the ground
game helps make crystal clear that the choice that President Barack Obama
is putting in front of the country is widely supported in the communities
that they are trying to discouraged or confused or misinformed about
voting. And that`s why building the relationship and the block captains
and the volunteers that are pulling the vote, driving with vans to get
people to early vote in Ohio and Milwaukee as we speak. It`s so incredibly
SHARPTON: Mary Kay Henry and Jamal Simmons, thank you both for your
SIMMONS: Thanks for having me.
HENRY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Coming up, uncovering the Republican effort to suppress the
vote in Florida. There`s a leak to the ugly past and we`re revealing it
tonight. The chairman of the Florida Republican party tells it all. Next.
SHARPTON: The man behind Florida`s new voter suppression ad has an
ugly link to the 2000 voting mess. That`s next.
SHARPTON: We`re back to uncover voter suppression in Florida. The
Palm Beach polls report the architect of the 2000 felon voter purge is the
same man behind Florida`s new voter law. He is Emmett "Bucky" Mitchell,
the former senior attorney for the Florida division of elections who now
works as general counsel for the Florida GOP. He wrote the original draft
for the voter suppression law on the books today and engineered the 2000
voter purge. He also worked for Florida`s secretary of state Katherine
Harris. You all remember her. Of course you do. She was in charge of the
big Florida voting mess of 2000.
And Mr. Mitchell was at her side during the infamous Florida recount.
Now he`s the writer of the suppression laws affecting Florida voters this
year. I guess it`s all just a big coincidence.
Joining me now Dierdre Macnab, president of Florida league of women
voters and Jim Greer, a former chairman of the Florida Republican Party
who`s been very critical of what went on behind the scenes.
First, thank you both for being here.
DIERDRE MACNAB, PRESIDENT, FLORIDA LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS: Pleasure.
JIM GREER, FORMER FLORIDA GOP CHAIRMAN: Glad to be here.
SHARPTON: Jim, let me start with you. What can you tell our viewers
about Emmett "Bucky" Mitchell and his link to Katherine Harris` past?
GREER: Well, there is coincidence. I mean, Bucky and his partner,
Richard Coats (ph), they worked for me for a short period of time when I
was chairman. They are good at what they do. When you`re looking for a
lawyer that can write legislation that can benefit the Republican Party
change the election laws, stand up potentially to a constitutional
challenge, you reach out to people like Bucky and his partner Richard Coats
and they draft the law. They advise the political consultants that I have
talked about before on your show, on how it can. And you know, it is not
really about Election Day anymore, it is about keeping people from Election
Day to win the Republican election.
SHARPTON: Keeping people from getting to Election Day?
GREER: That`s right. I mean, the whole folks is down here in
Florida, and other states were primarily here in Florida is to reduce
voting days, early voting days, put all of these obstacles in the way of
Democrats, minority voters from getting to the polls because down here in
Florida it`s not just about the presidential election, it`s about keeping
power in the legislature and the governor`s mansion.
SHARPTON: Now, Dierdre, you wrote -- well, you said to "the Palm
Beach Post" today bout this news and I`m quoting you, "I`d be deeply
concerned to think that members of a political party who are not elected
officials nor staff to legislators are drawing up voter suppression laws in
the back room. It should be deeply troubling to the public. Elaborate on
that for me, Dierdre.
MACNAB: Well, I think it`s shameful, it is appalling, it`s un-
American, frankly, when we know in a state like Florida and perhaps other
states across the United States, we have political operatives working in
back rooms to draw up voter suppression laws. It`s unacceptable, it`s un-
American, and there is something that people can do to fight back and that
is to get out there and vote.
SHARPTON: Now, you are nonpartisan, yet there are all kinds of
impediments and new laws set up to try and stop the league of women voters
from registering voters of either party. I mean, this was something that
MACNAB: Well, absolutely. And this finding came out in a deposition
in one of the lawsuits that we were involved with, fighting the voter
registration laws which, thankfully, after a full and fair hearing we were
thrown out, those voter registration laws. But, it was fascinating, also,
to see that the election was really wonderful to see the supervisors of
election, it was really wonderful to see the supervisors of election in the
state of Florida who stood up and were also opposing many of these rules,
such as cutting the early voting days in half and requiring a much more
extensive use of provisional ballots.
So our supervisors of election who are both Democratic and Republican,
are independently elected by the citizens of their county have really been
at the forefront of this battle and stood up against this back room,
political manipulation for partisan advantage which absolutely should not
be happening in this country or our state of Florida.
GREER: You know, Al, one of the things that I thought was funny about
this deposition was when Bucky gave all of the names that I talked before
on your show that we`re the political consultants to political operatives,
those were the same names that he gave in his deposition as being involved
in drafting this legislation or this potential law.
So it goes on to show that there`s clear cut evidence and it shouldn`t
be surprising that in Florida the Republican Party, the Republican leaders
are doing everything that they can to keep power, manipulate the voting
laws, and ensure that if someone`s not going to vote Republican, they don`t
get an opportunity to vote at all.
SHARPTON: And it talkative, I mean, you said in the deposition that
some of the voter suppression is race-based and said, quote, "they talk
about not letting the black voter minority whose programs were not fit for
the Republican Party," yet despite their best effort, I must say, Jim, I
was down there this weekend with operation lemonade, despite all of these
efforts, the final numbers coming from the state show Democrats leading
Republican and registration this year, just like they did in 2008 so it is
bad, it`s wrong, it is evil but it`s not working, Jim.
GREER: Well, if it`s not working, they are going toll try and find
some way to make it work in the next election and citizens need to wake up,
they need to realize all of the evidence is in front of them that political
parties and right now the Republican Party is doing everything it can to
ensure that it wins election at all costs. They currently control the
governor`s mansion. They control the legislature. They are trying to
throw three Supreme Court justices in Florida because they voted against
When I was chairman when Charlie Crist was governor, we did in fact
allow that. We`re gone, they are bringing the old gang back together and
doing things like passing these types of laws.
SHARPTON: All right. Diedre and Jim, I`m going to have to leave it
there. Thank you both.
MACNAB: Thank you.
SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.
SHARPTON: Happy Halloween from "Politics Nation." It`s the night
when all of the scary characters come out. The skeleton and the goblins,
the witches and the zombies. Oh, it`s scary. What`s also scary, just six
days until the election and the Republicans are unleashing their scariest
ghost and ghouls.
We are already seeing some pretty frightening stuff. They are trying
to scare us with tales of voter fraud, intimidate and suppress our right to
vote and also sending anti-Obama text messages to people`s phones and they
are even telling outright lies to scare us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When it comes to
outsourcing, this president has been outsourcing a good deal of American
If there`s an outsourcer in chief, it`s the president of the United
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: That could scare anyone. That gives anyone a good scare if
it were true. But we`re not children. And the boogie man doesn`t scare us
anymore. We will not be afraid and we will not be pushed around. We have
to keep fighting. We can`t back down and now we cannot let their scare
tactics wear out because we refuse to be the ones who are scared the day
after this election.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "Hardball" starts right now.
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