updated 11/5/2012 11:15:55 AM ET 2012-11-05T16:15:55

POLITICS NATION
November 2, 2012

Guests: Alicia Menendez; Charlie Crist; Ana Marie Cox

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

Four days until Election Day. Here is where race stands. "The Real
Clear Politics" average shows President Obama with 47.4 percent in national
polls, Mitt Romney has 47.3 percent. "The New York Times 538 blog" says
that if the election were held today, the president would win 303 electoral
votes and Romney would win 235, 270 are needed to win the White House.

"The Times" blog gives the president an 81 percent chance of winning
the election. Romney has a 19 percent chance. And as of tonight, 25
million people have already voted but long lines are creating a serious
situation in some parts of Florida. Yes, Florida all over again. Some
people are waiting three hours or more to vote and we will be asking why
governor Rick Scott in Florida is refusing to extend hours as his
Republican predecessors have done.

But we start with tonight`s lead. The closer. Just four days to go
and President Obama is sprinting to the finish line with a passionate pitch
to Ohio voters and he`s doing so by dismantling governor Romney`s rationale
in this race one line of the Obama argument, I am the guy you know.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: After four years as
president, you know me. You may not agree with every decision I`ve made,
you may be frustrated sometimes at the pace of change, but you know that I
say what I mean and I mean what I say. You know what I believe. You know
where I stand. You know I tell the truth. And you know I fight for
working families every single day as hard as I know how.
(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: We know what this president believes. But governor Romney
--

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOE BIDEN, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: With these guys, it
all depends on who you`re talking to, where you are, what time of day it
is, what state you`re in, what the polls say. How the weather is. It
always, always depends, everything depends. I never met more two guys who
everything depends more on. I don`t know what they are for, ladies and
gentlemen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mr. Romney made changes, too, depending on the weather, but
not this president. This week President Obama has shown why he is above
the man who wants his job and he`s made Mr. Romney seem downright laughable
on the issue.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He promised to be a post
partisan president but became the most partisan, blaming, attacking,
dividing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The most partisan president? Someone who is dividing the
country? What a joke. How about this picture? President Obama coming
together with a Republican governor to tackle the damage from hurricane
Sandy.

Need another image, here`s another. He`s our country leader
comforting a jersey resident hit by the storm. That is the man bringing
this country together. Need proof of this president being a uniting
figure? Here`s the tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: The president is great.
The president has been all over this. The president has been outstanding.
I appreciate that type of leadership.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But it wasn`t just that kind of leadership that sets
President Obama apart in this natural disaster. He exposes how wrong the
Romney ticket is about the role of government. We are better together, not
apart, not alone.

And today, yet another Romney argument disintegrating. He argued
today`s jobs report is, quote, "a sad reminder that the economy is at a
virtual standstill." A standstill? We`ve had 32 straight months of
private sector job growth. That`s nearly 5 1/2 million jobs. President
Obama took us back from the brink of an economic catastrophe. That`s
leadership. That`s a heck of a closing argument and what governor Romney
is offering doesn`t even stand.

Joining me is Krystal Ball, co-host of "the Cycle" on MSNBC and Alicia
Menendez, host and producer for "Huff Post, Live."

Thank you both for being here.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks, Reverend.

ALICIA MENENDEZ, HOST, HUFFPOST LIVE: Hi, Rev.

SHARPTON: Krystal, let me go to you first. Will we look back and say
that this is the week that decided this election?

BALL: I think we will look back and say this is the week and say this
was the week that he sealed the deal. Now, if the president came into this
week with a lead in the critical battleground states, he came in even with
a little bit of momentum, although things were relatively static. But I do
think this between the response to hurricane Sandy, between the way that
governor Christie embraced him this week, mayor Bloomberg`s endorsement,
the (INAUDIBLE) magazine endorsement and then the jobs number today, I do
think it really sealed the deal.

And what you said in your open, I think it`s the critical piece. You
know, as we respond as a country to a natural disaster to a crisis
situation, we realize ultimately that we really are in this together. We
can`t go it alone. We need each other. We are our brother or sister - our
brothers` keepers, our sisters` keeper. And seeing that this week, I
think, is the final closing argument from the president.

SHARPTON: Alicia, same question. Is this the week you think in times
to come we will say this is the week that decided the election?

MENENDEZ: I don`t think anyone week decides the election. But as you
said, he came in this week as a very favorable position and it`s as good as
it gets. Listen, we knew that the closing arguments would be very much the
same as the opening argument. We go back to the economy. We hear Obama
making a case for his last four years, for his economic steward ship and we
knew that we`d see Romney making the complete opposite case, saying that
the policies failed. So, we are sort of backward. We start to think the
good news for the president is that these job numbers really reinforce the
narrative that we`re headed in the right direction a to more danger -- .

SHARPTON: So you don`t accept Romney`s attack on the job numbers that
came out, 170,000 new jobs, he says, it mean that --

MENENDEZ: I mean, but this is the type of attack they have come to
extract from the Romney campaign. And it is unfortunate, but an attack
they have to make because their entire argument is predicated on this idea
that we`re headed in the wrong direction. So these jobs numbers were good
news for America, they were good news for the Obama campaign, but they were
bad news for the Romney campaign. They take whatever win he had in this
bailout.

SHARPTON: Now, when we look, Krystal, at the polls, "Real Clear
Politics" average of polling, the president is up in the swing states, up
by five in Wisconsin, more than four in Pennsylvania, over two in Ohio, two
in Iowa, and New Hampshire and a slight edge in Colorado. Governor Romney
is ahead by a little over a point in Florida and just barely beating Obama
in Virginia. So if these polls prove right, the president edges out in the
swing states and is re-elected?

BALL: That is exactly right. And I would look specifically at Iowa
and Wisconsin. Romney basically has to win one of those states. If he
wins Ohio, then you know, he has a shot. But, if he can`t get Ohio, he
still has a plausible path if he can get Wisconsin.

What has to be really troubling to the Romney campaign is that still
drunk this week as we`re seeing more and more polling in Ohio and
Wisconsin, those states are not moving in his direction. And the
president`s turnout machine particularly in Ohio has been very strong, very
robust. So I think those two states in particular are going to prove heat.
And looking on the other side of the board, at Florida and Virginia, I
still think the president has a very strong chance to win in Florida and my
home state of Virginia as well. I think that those two states could also
end up in the blue column.

SHARPTON: Well, they have to let everybody vote. But I`ll get to
that later on in the program.

Let me ask you this, Alicia. The economic argument where you talked
about the jobs numbers and that`s what the Romney people have to say, well,
a lot of that was based on how people felt about the economy. But there`s
been a huge shift in how people look at the economy when you look at
polling, last year this time, only 21 percent believed the economy would
get better the next year. Now that number is 45 percent.

Last year, 17 percent thought the economy was headed in the right
direction. Now 41 percent believe that. So they are losing the rationale
for their argument because people have changed their view on the state of
the economy and on where the economy is headed.

MENENDEZ: Agreed, but at the same time I don`t want to overstate the
case because I think you know better than anyone because you`re out there
on the road, a lot of people are still suffering.

SHARPTON: No doubt about it.

MENENDEZ: It`s very real and I think this gut feeling is what people
are going with. The truth of the matter is, most people have made up their
minds and I think you see even based on early voting numbers that those
numbers are going with the president for this very reason because his
economic argument has been much stronger than Romney.

So, you look at a series of battleground states that we`ve been
talking about, whether it be Colorado, North Carolina, Romney is now at a
point where he has to win over 50 percent of the remaining votes in each of
those states in order to cross the finish line. So I think Democrats, to
your point, Krystal, have done a fantastic job of front ending this.

SHARPTON: Well, I also think that Romney has not been able to
identify with middle class and working people, that he understands their
pain. I agree with you, Alicia, that we still have a lot of people in
pain. But when I go to the dentist, I feel better when he can find the
thing. You know, when they have the wrong side of your mouth, you kind of
go with the other dentist.

BALL: Yes.

SHARPTON: But let me bring this to you, Krystal. When we look at the
fact that this governor has put out this jeep ad that is misleading and the
president even went after him today on it. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: By the way, when you try to change the facts, just because
they are inconvenient to your campaign; that definitely not change. I
understand Romney has had a tough time here in Ohio because he was against
saving the auto industry and it`s hard to run away from that position
saying the words let Detroit go bankrupt and I know we`re close to an
election. But this isn`t a game. These are people`s jobs. These are
people`s lives.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, this certainly resonates in Ohio where a lot of
people`s jobs and outsourcing jobs that are not being outsourced for people
that need those jobs. This is not funny to those people.

BALL: No. That`s exactly right. And out of everything that the
Romney campaign has lied about during the election season, I think this is
the lowest of the low for exactly what you`re saying. This isn`t a game.
These are people`s lives. It`s their livelihood and you`re intentionally
soaking fear about the fear about the future and intentionally misleading
them.

You know, Neil Newhouse (ph), pollster, said early on that this is not
a campaign that was going to be run by fact checkers and they have
certainly lived up to that. Not only with this ad but there`s another ad
that they brought back out that says that President Obama ended the welfare
work requirement, totally utterly false by every objective source and they
have no problem putting it right back out there on the airwaves.

SHARPTON: Governor Romney, Alicia, says, that my closing argument is
that I`m the candidate of change. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: The question of this election comes down to this. Do you
want more of the same or do you want real change and we bring real change.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But let`s show the change that he`s bringing about. He is
bring to the rally, attending Romney`s victory rally would be secretary
Condoleezza Rice which is secretary of state, Elaine Chao, Bush`s labor
secretary, governor Bobby Jindal, Bush`s assistance secretary of health in
human services, governor Tomorrow Ridge, Bush`s director of homeland
security, senator Rob Portman, Bush`s budget director. Some change,
Alicia.

MENENDEZ: This is like blast from past. And you know, this would be
less disturbing if all of his policies didn`t fall in line with Bush era
policies whether that is the way that we are talking now once again, about
welfare, we are talking Social Security, Medicare, I mean, across the
board, we`re really seeing a reversion back to the way things were and we
know what we get from that. What we got from that. Americans know what
they get from that and it`s a very weak closing argument to put forward on
behalf of the Romneys.

BALL: Well, I`ll tell you one area where he`s different from George
W. Bush from is on immigration. Bush was a lot more reasonable and Romney
is way further to the right on immigration.

MENENDEZ: Did you ever think that you would say the day when you have
been saying, George W. Bush?

BALL: It is a scary thing.

SHARPTON: Yes. Let me go. You`re scaring me. Now, I`m almost
missing George Bush. I`m getting frightened.

Krystal Ball and Alicia Menendez, thanks for coming on the show
tonight.

And don`t forget to catch Krystal on "the Cycle," weekdays at 3:00
p.m., right here on MSNBC.

Right now people in Florida are waiting two, three, even four hours in
line simply to vote. This is Republican voter suppression. It is a big
story and we`ll talk about it with the state`s former Republican governor,
Charlie Crist.

Plus, Mitt Romney`s hail Mary play to win the election. Is it just a
bluff? We will tell you how Republicans have tried and failed with it
before.

Also, Donald Trump is putting his birther hat back on embarrassing
himself and Mitt Romney. You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: This is a close election, no doubt about it. We will go
inside to talk to campaign expert Bob Shrum. He has been there in the big
moment. And he will tell us what he sees for Tuesday`s vote. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: In these final frantic hours of the campaign, both
candidates are using every last opportunity to get their pictures to the
voters. Over these four days, the president has hitting seven battleground
states from Colorado to Florida. Mitt Romney will also be in seven
battleground states to lay out his closing arguments.

So what`s going on behind the scenes in these final days? What`s the
real story of the campaign here at the end?

Joining me now is a man who has been on the inside, Bob Shrum. He was
a former senior advisor to the Kerry and Gore campaign. He is now a
professor at NYU. His new "Daily Beast" article outlines all of the Romney
mistakes that could spell defeat for him on Election Day.

Bob, thanks for your time.

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Good to be here, Rev.

SHARPTON: What is the main focus inside the campaign in these final
days?

SHRUM: Well, I think inside the Romney campaign there`s a desperate
attempt to find a route to 270. That`s why they are, for example,
scheduled a rally in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania has been fool`s gold for
years. John McCain went there at the end of the campaign last time.
George W. Bush went there at the end of the campaign in 2004.

In the end, I think, they can`t crack Ohio. And because they can`t
crack Ohio, they`ve got to look somewhere else. They are looking are to
Pennsylvania. They are looking to Minnesota. I don`t think they are going
to win either of those states.

SHARPTON: Now, the campaign`s closing argument, we keep talking about
closing arguments but they sound very similar to the opening arguments.
Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I will lead America to a better place where confidence in the
future is assured, not questioned. This is not a time for America to
settle. We`re four days away from a fresh start. Four days away from the
fresh day of a new beginning.

OBAMA: America has always done best when everybody has a fair shot
and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody is playing by the
same rules. That`s what we believe. That`s why you elected me in 2008 and
that`s why I`m running for second term as president of the United States of
America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: So we`re still basically talking about fairness and about a
new direction?

SHRUM: Yes. And the new direction has no content because he can`t
afford to talk about the content. He can`t afford to say, I`m going to
take away your home interest, mortgage deduction, I`m going to give the tax
cut to people at the top.

I mean, what`s very interesting is that Romney always wanted this
campaign to be a referendum. If you feel bad about the economy, why don`t
you give me a try. I`m a little more moderate than you think.

But as the economic numbers have gotten better, as people have watched
the president during the last week and it`s been an extraordinary week,
perform his duties as commander in-chief, Romney`s argument loses its
force. And it also loses its force in states like Ohio, out in the
Midwest, a lot of these battleground states where the president defined
Romney throughout this summer and that definition has stuck and that`s why
I think they can`t move Ohio.

SHARPTON: Now, let`s talk about this week. What impact did this week
hurricane Sandy, how that president handled it and the jobs numbers today?
Just the last several days, this week, what is the impact, in your opinion,
on this election?

SHRUM: Before I do the politics, you and I both live here and we both
gone through inconveniences.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: As for your hearts have to go out to people who have lost
everything.

SHARPTON: No doubt. And you`re hearing more and more stories as time
goes by.

SHRUM: And the president`s response has been extraordinary. I do
have to say, who thought the October surprise would be Chris Christie, who
stepped up to the plate, who said what he thought, who said the president
was doing an incredible job? And I think the impact of that is real. I
think people in real times saw Barack Obama`s as president of the United
States, saw the same kind of coolness, sense of command that he had when he
made the decision to go after Osama bin Laden and I think it`s helped him.

Beyond that, you look at this jobs numbers today and Romney is trying
to quibble with it, he`s openly rooting for the economy to fail. And I
think people get that. these job numbers show that we are improving. We
are not where we want to be, but we are on a steady climb upwards.

And as you said in the last segment, the fact of the matter is, a lot
more people think the economy is on the right track today than thought that
a year ago. That`s really important.

SHARPTON: When you see all that you have outlined with the president
last week, and you contrast that with Romney and his jeep ads and even
today two more Ohio newspapers called him out for his far as jeep ads
yesterday, the "Youngstown Vindicate" writes Romney`s GM and Chrysler ads
are an insult to Ohioans while "Toledo Blade" says, auto toxin blasting
Romney for an exercise in deception about auto industry issues that is
remarkable even by the standards of this campaign. I mean, you have one
guy getting blasted for something that he won`t pull off the air while the
president is in this kind of posture that you`ve described.

SHRUM: I think every time those ads run in Ohio they hurt Romney. And I
will tell you why. There are a lot of ads running on those news
broadcasts. Those newscasters are saying, Romney has a false ad.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: Jeep is not moving its production to China.

SHARPTON: Right.

SHRUM: Now, let`s go to a commercial break and they see the false ad.
I think people react against it. And of course, bozo the trump tweeted out
the same line, and you saw what the vice president of Chrysler tweeted
back. He said, Donald Trump, you`re full of stuff.

SHARPTON: Bob Shrum, thank you for your time.

Still ahead, how Republicans are using long lines and fewer hours to
suppress the vote in Florida. It`s an important story with national
implications. I will talk solutions with the state`s former GOP governor,
Charlie Crist.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

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

Today, folks were cheering on the jobs report.

Leslie says, even though the GOP has the brakes on, the economy is
still improving.

And everyone loved this photo of the president at a baby sharing a
smile on the campaign trail.

As Gail says, the baby whisper at work again.

Susan says, babies know a good person when they see one.

We have more pictures from the campaign trail on our facebook page and
we want your captions for them. Please 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: There is just one day left for early voting in Florida and
all right that state is showing major strains dealing with the vote. The
"Miami Herald" simply says it`s a nightmare. It`s a new form of voter
suppression. Long lines that could turn the tide in this critical swing
state.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Early voting ending tomorrow. A lot of
people are trying to vote early while they can. But look at the long line
of people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You can see the parking lot heck full of
cars knock there in the distance. That`s not even the half way point.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: Down this very long line. These folks
are arriving between 9:00 and 10:00, their estimated wait, up to four
hours.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: The wait from the back to the voting
booth takes about an hour here at civic center.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I waited for like four hours and then left.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: It should never be this hard just to
vote.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: He`s right. It should not be that hard to vote. Just take
a look at this. In some places it takes as long as four hours just to get
inside the polling place. Democrats are asking governor Rick Scott to
extend voting hours, something other governors have done in the past, but
governor Scott is saying no.

Today, we called to ask why and we`re still waiting for an answer.
But the head of Florida`s Republican party said, quote, "for one side to
demand that we break the law because they feel like they are losing."

Break the law? Since when is voting breaking the law?

Decades ago we faced Jim Crow and the poll tax. Today, it`s fewer
hours and longer lines. But the goal is the same. Voter suppression.

Joining me now is former Florida governor Charlie Crist. He served as
a Republican and is now an independent. Tonight, he`s introducing former
president Clinton at an Obama rally.

Governor, thanks so much for your time tonight.

CHARLIE CRIST (I), FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR: Reverend, it`s great to
be with you, Reverend Al. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you directly. Wouldn`t extending voting
hours be the right thing for governor Scott to do here? You did it in 2008
as the governor of Florida and you are Republican. What would be wrong
with Scott doing that today?

CRIST: There would be nothing wrong with it, Reverend. And you said
it exactly right. It would be the right thing to do. It`s right to make
sure that we encourage democracy, people`s opportunity to vote. It is a
precious, cherished right that all of us ought to have an opportunity to
exercise.

Yesterday, I was in Miami guard dense in North Dade County. And also,
it happened sure, the wait was 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours. It`s unconscionable
to let that go on. The people of Florida deserve better and they deserve a
right to vote.

SHARPTON: I have been down in Florida with some nonpartisan efforts
about voting. I saw the lines last weekend in Miami-Dade and Broward, all
over the state. Some waiting as much as three and four hours. It would
seem, we would want people to vote.

What exactly is behind this idea of stopping people from voting or not
extending the hours, particularly when you set the precedent as a
Republican yourself in the next general election when you saw long lines?

CRIST: The only thing that make sense - it`s a little loud here, I`m
sorry. The only thing that makes sense is if you want to suppress the vote
of people that they think might vote for President Obama. I mean, one of
the other things that you know that they Reverend Al, they took out Sunday
voting, the Sunday before the news day of Election Day.

SHARPTON: Right.

CRIST: There`s a tradition in the African-American community to go
out after church and vote but we did that last Sunday resolves to poll.

SHARPTON: Right.

Now, the other thing that has compounded it is that these ballots in
Miami-Dade are ten page ballots. You are dealing with extensive ballots
that take time for people to go through. So people around the country need
to know it`s not just walking in and choosing a name. These are ten-page
ballots with people lined up outside waiting for their opportunities.

CRIST: You couldn`t be more right. We put 11 amendments on this
ballot. It makes it ridiculously long. People get in and they start to
vote and they stay there for a long time because they are trying to read
and decipher everything on that ballot. And you have to wonder if the
intent was to do just that, slow people down.

But that`s where we are right now. But I have faith. That I have
faith that the people are going to do the right thing. They are going to
vote for President Obama. They are going to continue to give him four more
years. And he will continue to heal our nation and he`s been a great
leader for all of us.

SHARPTON: In 2008 when you extended early voting, governor, you said,
I have a responsibility to the voters of our state to ensure that the
maximum number of citizens can participate in the electoral process and
every citizen can exercise the right to vote. That`s what you said when
you signed that emergency act.

Governor, you did it in 2008. Governor Scott will not do it today.
That`s why many of us are wondering, is this voter suppression? Is this
partisan politics over Democratic presidents?

CRIST: IT is heard to interpret it any other way, Reverend Al. I
think it is voter suppression. I think it`s ridiculous and unfortunate.
My heart bleeds for the people of Florida. They ought to have the
opportunity to exercise, as I said, this cherished precious right to vote.
We`ve got to remember, you know, a lot of people fought very hard for
people to have that right. Some died for it. We ought to respect that.

SHARPTON: You heard it here. Governor Crist and I are talking voter
suppression.

I know you`ve got to go and introduce the president. Thank you for
talking about this important issue, governor Crist. Thank you.

CRIST: Reverend, it`s an honor to be with you. Thank you, sir. Keep
up the good work.

SHARPTON: Now I want to bring in Melissa Harris-Perry, host of the
"Melissa Harris-Perry" show here on MSNBC.

Melissa, thank you for being with us tonight.

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC ANCHOR, MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY SHOW:
Absolutely.

SHARPTON: What do you make of governor Scott`s refusal to extend the
voting?

HARRIS-PERRY: There is anything to be made of it except that this is
clearly a tactic to suppress the vote, to suppress the vote that he
believes will benefit President Obama. It`s the governor`s attempt to
steal the election. Because look. The only thing we could care about when
it comes to an election, this question of law and rule, is fundamentally
what is the will of the people? Are the people who are voting, are they
legitimate voters? Is it their right to cast the vote and do we have every
reason to believe and it`s absolutely true that it`s the will of the voters
to cast the vote. And the issue of hours, one hour here or there, I mean,
it`s ridiculous for them -- for the governor in particular in this case, to
act as if this is a law and order issue. This is a basic issue of
democracy.

SHARPTON: If people are standing in line, and as you know, I`ve been
in Florida half this week.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes.

SHARPTON: If they are in line for hours, clearly they want to vote.
And then, you start with saying that people are fraudulently using phony
I.D., you go from I.D. to lessening the day.

HARRIS-PERRY: Yes.

SHARPTON: Now, you won`t even he can tend the hours --

HARRIS-PERRY: And purging the roles.

SHARPTON: They give people a ballot. This is a ballot. Ten pages
that you have to go through. Every voter has to go through this to vote,
through all of these pages. Now, you`ve got thousands online, you have
people trying to read and vote properly so they are supporting whatever
amendments and whatever initiatives that they agree.

HARRIS-PERRY: Exactly. Yes.

SHARPTON: All of this to make it more difficult to practice democracy
yet we`ll send kids out of Florida to fight for democracy all over the
world and we do this to them at home.

HARRIS-PERRY: There is not an American, Democrat, Republican, Obama
supporter, Romney supporter who should be anything other than completely
disgusted with what is going on in Florida right now. This is about a
fundamental health of our democracy. This is about a Republican elected
official being willing to change the outcome of an election, purely based
on partisan interest, not based on the protection of the vote. This is
about the suppression of the vote.

SHARPTON: And see, let me be clear. This is not partisan because we
just had on a governor who was a Republican governor in 2008 when President
Obama was winning who extended the voting hours to protect the rights of
the citizens of Florida.

HARRIS-PERRY: Reverend Al, they are always talking about how
government should be like a private industry. If you go into a retail
establishment five minutes before the close of business, but you`re already
in there, they might close the door behind you. But you will always be
able to finish your purchase. If you are in line when -- the vote at the
point in which the polls close, then you cut off the line and let the line
go all the way through. It`s a very simple solution. And since they like
private industry, they ought to follow the standards of that.

SHARPTON: Well, maybe not in a democracy business, maybe you assume
the store was opened for other reasons. But governor Scott, we call to
raise the question, you didn`t call us back. You don`t have to call me
back but call the people of Florida back and tell them that you`re a
governor that believes in democracy.

Extend the line, let people vote, seniors that have stood out there
all day. Let your own citizens, vote.

Melissa Harris-Perry, thank you.

And you can watch, of course, Melissa`s show on Saturdays and Sundays
here on MSNBC.

We will be right back. We`re going to talk about Donald Trump jumped
back on the birther van wagon and it`s causing big headaches for Mitt
Romney.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Donald Trump is back. Mitt Romney thinks that will help?
That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You now entering another dimension. A dimension
of sound. A dimension of sight. You are moving in to the land of
falsehoods and extreme ideas. You just crossed over into the Republican
zone.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: That`s right. A lot of folks on the right have entered an
alternate universe, called the Republican zone. A bizarre world that there
is no resemblance to reality at all.

For example, did you know that New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg
endorsed Mitt Romney yesterday? That`s what FOXNews.com said. Of course,
you and I know that the mayor actually endorsed President Obama.

In the Republican zone, Karl Rove predicts Romney will be our 45th
president, winning by at least 279 electoral votes, probably more. And the
right winger is trying to askew (ph) the poll, have him winning by
landslide. Just look at all of those red states. But they real experts at
`the New York Times" say it`s President Obama who has the edge on the
electoral map.

And just today, governor Romney stepped into the Republican zone to
claim the economy is at a, quote, "virtual standstill.` This is despite 32
straight months of private sector job growth adding 5.4 million jobs.
These people are living in an alternate universe. But they may wake up to
reality. The morning after Election Day.

Joining me now is E.J. Dionne, columnist for "the Washington Post" and
an MSNBC contributor and Ana Marie Cox, Washington correspondent for "the
Guardian."

Thank you both for being here.

E.J. DIONNE, COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be with you.

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

SHARPTON: E.J., is there any method behind the madness on the right
to you?

DIONNE: Well, first of all, I want to say that I`m both a nuclear
physicist and a major legal baseball player. I mean, if you can make it up
as you go along, why not.

I mean look, on elections it`s an old game to say my guy is winning
whether my guy is winning or not. They`ve launched a huge campaign to
discredit Nate Silver of the "New York Times" even though he`s one of the
best number crunchers and, in fact, used to be a baseball number cruncher.

Some of it is normal but some of it isn`t. I mean, I think of, in
particular, the governor Romney`s claim that jeep was moving jobs to China
and people at the plant as President Obama said today were worried that
their jobs were going to disappear. And when you have corporate executives
saying, wait a minute, the Republican candidate is making stuff up, you
really have entered some kind of strange zone at that point.

SHARPTON: You know, Ana Marie, Donald Trump got in there. He was
questioned on why President Obama didn`t respond to his $5 million offer
for his college records? And Trump says, obviously, he wasn`t born in this
country. I mean, bless his little heart, what is he talking about?

(LAUGHTER)

COX: Well, obviously, right? My favorite thing about that Trump
announcement is when he said only a stupid person would believe that Obama
was not born in the United States.

In any case, I think he`s calling himself stupid in some way there,
which I`m perfectly willing to believe. And of course, it`s just offensive
at this point for someone to sort of dangle $5 million in charity as a
treat for someone who has to prove something he shouldn`t have to prove and
also at a time when I don`t know, is there some cause that`s been in the
news recently, something that New Yorkers could really benefit from if they
got some money for it? I mean, it`s just galling that he would use these
particular arguments to make these kinds of arguments that are
preposterous.

SHARPTON: Yes, E.J.

DIONNE: If I could say, one of my favorite moments of the campaign so
far, is President Obama went on a late-night show and he was asked what is
Trump have against you. And said, oh, it goes back to our childhood
together in Kenya. It was on the soccer field. And you know, I don`t know
why they are trotting this out. Because if Mitt Romney hasn`t wrapped up
the birther vote by now, there`s no way he`s going to win this election.

SHARPTON: Well, you think that is reaching well, they have an ad
running in Ohio that uses Abe Lincoln as the reason African-Americans
should vote Republican.

Dan says, well, let me let you hear the sound bite.

COX: OK.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a big lie that Democrats are for black
Americans and Republicans are against black Americans. Abraham Lincoln who
freed the slaves was a Republican.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in 1863. This is 2012.
Somebody might want to tell them to find some Republicans at least this
century? Maybe even last century. I mean, this is ridiculous.

DIONNE: I want to go On the Record saying that at this rate saying if
this 1860, I would vote Republican for Abe Lincoln.

COX: Yes, I was going to say that us Americans have a lot to owe to
Abe Lincoln. I mean, that person, that Republican for sure. But, you
know, let`s look at the Republican party just lately and see what African-
Americans have to owe them for. Would it be voter suppression? I don`t
know. You`ve been doing a lot of coverage for that. And I think that`s a
little bit some recent history that would put me in a different mind if
that was my issue.

SHARPTON: But I think and clearly it`s so disgusting, it`s laughable.
But I think what the real point is that they really don`t get it. They are
in an alternate universe because only people who have stepped out of
reality would try things like these ads and the analysis they are giving on
pollsters and all. It`s almost like they have gone in a zone all to
themselves.

DIONNE: Well, you know, Reverend, it`s really odd that they are using
the Lincoln thing. Because if you look at the map of 2008 and the likely
map this year, it`s exactly reversed. All of the Lincoln states of last
time and almost the Lincoln states this time are going for Barack Obama.
So there is a line here but it doesn`t quite go in the direction that they
are suggesting.

SHARPTON: Well, do you feel that they will sober up and come back to
reality the day after the election and deal with the deficit and deal with
problems that this country is facing or are we in a permanent state of the
Republican zone?

DIONNE: Well, I heard a Republican -- go ahead, Ana Marie.

COX: I was going to say, I hope not. History doesn`t suggest that
very well. I mean, there is something to be said for simply truth and
reality. To paraphrase Todd Akin, you know, facts have a way of shutting
that stuff down when it gets too crazy. But, we have kind of had a crazy
election period. We have a crazy Congress. And I can only hope that
reality does settles in, when the dust settles, E.J., I`d love to hear your
point of view on that.

DIONNE: You know, I heard a Republican suggest today, and he was
worried about this, that if they did lose, they are going to blame the
whole thing on hurricane Sandy which is a convenient way of getting around
what the problems in the party are.

SHARPTON: Right.

DIONNE: And the problems with the Romney campaign might have been. I
hope they have a big conversation with themselves if they lose. And
actually ask, why did the country turn on them after they turned far to the
right?

SHARPTON: Well, they might look at real issues.

E.J. and Ana Marie, I`m going to have to leave it there. I have to
call my friend Donald and see if he has a (INAUDIBLE). Thanks for your
time tonight.

(LAUGHER)

DIONNE: Thank you.

COX: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Tonight, I was honored to interview President Obama
himself. We will have part of that interview where we talk about the
importance of voting and the key to winning the election. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Earlier today I had a chance to interview President Obama
on my radio show. He spoke about the importance of getting health care
passed and economic fairness. He also talked about the importance of the
vote.

Remember, there is still active early voting in Florida and North
Carolina, in Iowa, and Ohio. Here`s part of the interview where the
president spoke about voting in the election.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Well, what I`m really happy about is the enthusiasm that we
are seeing in voters. You know, there was a lot of talk during the course
of this election about maybe the folks who are trying to get me out of
office would be more enthusiastic than the folks who want to keep me there.
But I think as the campaign season has unfolded and people under the stakes
that are involved, when it comes to making sure that young people can
afford to go to college or Medicare is not turned into a voucher or
bringing our troops home from Afghanistan and then treating our veterans
with the care that they deserve and have earned or when they start thinking
about, you know, policies creates jobs, you know. I think people
understand what the stakes are. And my attitude has always been that if
our voters turn out, we win. And the key now at this point, in this last
weekend, is making sure that the people are turning out. We`ve still got
early vote all the way through Saturday, all the way through November 3rd
in North Carolina and Florida. And then, in Iowa and Ohio people can early
vote all the way through Monday, November 5th.

So I`m just hoping that everybody takes advantage, if you`ve got early
vote and if not, then Tuesday come rain or come shine I need people to get
out there and cast their ballot and hopefully cast their ballot for a
future that is going to be brighter for a lot of people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The entire interview will air on my show, Sunday morning.
But I talked to the president about he had dealt with things and he said
something interesting about how he`s always thought about this was a more
than him. It was about more than him as a person. It was about the world
we live in.

I think you and I ought to think about this. You there in early
voting state. You`re not just voting - you are not just being asked to
vote for yourself but for your children, for your children`s children, for
the country. It`s about more than us. That`s why people are standing in
long lines in Florida. That`s why you need to get online early. Or if
you`re in a voting state that does not have early voting, be online Tuesday
rain or shine. He`s right. He`s more than just about you and I.

It`s about all of us. And those behind us.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton.

"Hardball" starts right now.

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

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