November 5, 2012
Guests: Dana Milbank; Michelle Cottle; Barbara Boxer; Catherine Crier; Fredricka Wilson; Lee Saunders; Cecile Richards; Marcia Fudge
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks, Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in. I`m Al Sharpton. We`re live tonight from Democracy Plaza
in New York`s Rockefeller Center.
It`s one day until millions stream to the polls to decide the future
of the presidency and the future of this country. After months of
campaigning, this election is down to a few fleeting hours. There`s so
much focus right now in the details for this close race. Where are the
independents? What`s the latest from Ohio? Who can turn out their voters?
But let`s step back for a moment. This election is about much more than
the details. What`s at stake is a big -- very, very big thing. It`s about
protecting decades of progressive ideas. It`s about protecting the
security that FDR Social Security program has given generations of
Americans. It`s about preserving LBJ`s Medicare program with 50 million
seniors depend on. It`s about depending the president on the president`s
health care law, a program progressives have fought for 100 years.
Presidential elections are important. They are battle of ideas that
only come around every four years. In 2012, the question is, are we better
off together or should we lead people to face their troubles alone? For
decades, we`ve known the GOP`s answer. They have been against government,
just like the hero Ronald Reagan was against Medicare 50 years ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RONALD REAGAN, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Behind it will
come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we
have known it in this country, until one day, as Norman Thomas said, we
will wait until we have socialism. One of these days, you and I are going
to spend our sunset years telling our children and our children`s children
what it once was like in America when men were free.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Government has not taken our freedom. It`s preserved and
expanded our freedom. But the same narrow view has fueled the tea party
and powered the Romney/Ryan ticket. They despise government and they told
us as much and the only thing that`s worse than government, the millions
who rely on it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: There are 47 percent who are
with him, who are dependent upon government who believe they are victims.
REP. PAUL RYAN (R), VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Seventy percent of
Americans want the American dream. They believe in the American idea.
Only 30 percent want the welfare state.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: One writes off 30 percent. The other thinks it`s more like
47 percent. That explains their plans to gut Medicaid, to change Medicare
as we know it, to make big government the enemy, except when big government
needs to interfere with women`s rights. But here`s the thing. There`s an
The storm last week made one thing so clear. Government is vital.
And the last four years have driven the same point home.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No matter how bad a
storm is, no matter how tough times may get, we are all in this together.
We rise or fall as one nation and as one people.
We`ve come too far to turn back now. We`ve come too far to let our
hearts grow faint. Now is the time to keep pushing forward.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Now`s the time to keep pushing forward. Not turn back.
That`s what is at stake for millions in this country tomorrow, it`s about
what kind of country we`re going to have. Like I`ve all said, this
election is about more than just Obama. It`s about your Mama.
Joining me now is journalist and former judge, Catherine Crier and
Michelle Cottle, Washington correspondent for "Newsweek" and "Daily Beast,"
and Dana Milbank, columnist for the "Washington Post."
Thank you all for being here.
MICHELLE COTTLE, WASHINGTON REPORTER, THE DAILY BEAST, NEWSWEEK:
DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Thank you,
SHARPTON: Michelle, let me go to you first. This is no normal
election. Isn`t this a huge decision point for this country?
COTTLE: It is. I mean, we are always talking about this is the most
important election in our history. But there`s at least one item on the
table and that`s the health care plan. That`s -- the fate of it is going
to depend heavily on who ends up in the White House. And we`ve talked
about elections are big ideas and you have big choices to make.
So, I think it`s notable that Mitt Romney has spent a great deal of
time on this back half of the election trying to kind of cover up exactly
what his big ideas are, kind to align the differences and step away from
the severe conservatism he was peddling earlier towards a more moderate
version where, you know, he wouldn`t dream of dealing with abortion
legislation or, you know, giving tax breaks to the wealthy, that sort of
SHARPTON: Yes. But, Dana, you know, the Romney/Ryan ticket have
supported massive cuts, to her point, cuts to government despite taking a
more moderate stand lately. They have said they supported -- that they
talked every day about repealing the health care law, for example. They
both love the Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it and that
same budget pushed for cuts in Medicaid, food stamps, Pell grants, and
FEMA. I mean, we`re talking about a radical change if it Romney and Ryan
MILBANK: Right. And Reverend, there is always a tendency to say that
this is the most important election at least since the last election but
for a couple of reasons this is very significant.
One is, there is going to be something done about this looming debt
crisis and it`s either going to be done by eviscerating the safety net that
has built up over decades or it is going to be done by change in the way
taxes are paid in this country. It`s a huge he decision. And I think in
another sense, we`re not really just resolving just the 2012 election here.
We are probably resolving the 2016 election here because the economy has
begun to improve and in part because of the policies put in place, things
should be humming along quite nicely by 2016.
So probably the party that is elected tomorrow will be in power for
the next eight years and likely the congressional majorities will follow
and give that party a great deal of power implement its will.
SHARPTON: Catherine, it`s even beyond, in my opinion, the next eight
years. Because whoever is elected tomorrow will probably select one to
three Supreme Court justices who will make decisions for the next several
SHARPTON: And if this court is tipped further to the right, we could
lose roe versus wade, we could lose voting right acts. There`s many things
that the court will decide in the next couple of years and whoever is
president is going to decide who sits in that sit and that will affect us
not just for the four to eight years. It will affect us for decades.
CATHERINE CRIER, FORMER JUDGE: Yes. When you look at the campaigns
for presidency and for the Senate and congress, we`re talking about a $3
billion campaign and we can see where much of that money came from, thanks
to citizens united. So, there is the biggest example of how critical. And
the Republicans snapped very early to the fact that they were smart to
appoint young people to the court. So, you`re talking about justices who
could serve for 30, 40 years.
And this kind of thing is -- when you talked about government in your
introduction, I fail to see why many people think that free from government
is the concept in this country. The whole idea was to create a government
of the people that would work to preserve and protect freedoms, liberties,
all sorts of things. But, the general welfare clause in the constitution
makes it clear that our government came together, in part, to protect the
welfare of the American people, not to abandon them.
SHARPTON: Now, let`s go to Michelle. Let`s deal with the election.
The Electoral College, the electoral vote - as far as the electoral
vote goes "New York Times" 538 blog says that the election, if it were held
today, President Obama would win, he would get 307 electoral votes. Mitt
Romney would get 231. Of course, the magic number is 270 to win the White
House. The "Times" also gives the president by far the greatest chance of
winning. "The Times" blog gives the president an 86 percent chance of
winning the election. Romney only has a 14 percent chance.
So if we are to look at the electoral lineup and what the times is
projecting, President Obama wins the numbers come out, if his support shows
as they have been polled.
COTTLE: Exactly. And this is why you already have a lot of
Republicans complaining about that "Times" blog saying the numbers are
cooked or that they are biased or all of the usual arguments that you would
Now, what Nate Silver and "the Times" blogs tend to look at are state
polls, you know, swing states. Ohio is obviously the central one here.
And traditionally, the state polls have done a pretty good job at
predicting sort of thing. And that`s what kind of they are counting on.
So, if that all holds, then yes. I think at this point, much of the
media has kind of got behind the idea that Obama has the better chance of
going into tomorrow.
SHARPTON: But Dana, when you look at the fact that the president is
stripping his edge in swing state, corner to "Real Clear Politics" average
polling, you still build leads in every single swing state except for one.
Today, Virginia was added by a row margin to the president`s column.
But at this point Romney only leads in Florida by roughly two points.
So, if we are dealing even on the state by state in the swing state,
the president appears to be in great shape.
MILBANK: He appears to be, reverend. I was just out at a Romney
event out in Virginia. And I - it seemed to be less than the level of
enthusiasm, you would expect to see on the last day of a campaign.
I think we need to be careful because all of this could be wrong.
Yes, it does appear that, certainly, since last week`s storm things are
moving in Obama`s direction. That`s where a lot of these things seem to be
pointing. But we, in the media, have blown these things before. So, I
think predictions are precarious, but if things do develop tomorrow the way
things are pointing I this direction, it does look like it`s going to be a
good night for Obama.
SHARPTON: But Catherine, the GOP`s argument, things are not going the
we are saying. They are not going right. Listen to the Romney surrogate,
John Kasich, what he had to say today. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KASICH (R), GOVERNOR, OHIO: I think god created pollsters to
make astrologers look accurate, you know. You don`t want to over indulge
in the polls, but our internal polling, the Romney internal polling shows
that we are still slightly ahead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So here you have the governor of Ohio, surrogate for
Romney, saying the pollsters are wrong, their internal polls show that they
are slightly ahead. Are they spinning? Is he in denial? Do they know
something we don`t know?
CRIER: Well, but then, you hear people -- I believe it was Karl Rove,
who has already started to spin a narrative about wealth. It was all
hurricane Sandy that may have shifted if he loses. So, they are beginning
to create a conversation about what if Romney loses, which to me is in
direct contradiction to what they say their internal polls are showing.
SHARPTON: Well, it will be an interesting night. We`ll be here
starting at 6:00 tomorrow. All of us will be here all night long.
Catherine Crier, Michelle Cottle, and Dana Milbank, thanks for coming
on the show tonight.
MILBANK: Thanks, Rev.
COTTLE: Thanks, Rev.
SHARPTON: Since when that the GOP become the party of less voted?
Those outrageous lines in Ohio and in Florida are not an accident, they are
part of a deliberate attempt to suppress the vote, but Democrats are
Plus, new ugly attacks in the final hour of the campaign. Now
Republicans are accusing the president of attacking Christian values.
Also, from Roe Versus Wade to Planned Parenthood, we`ll talk to
Senator Barbara Boxer about what is really at stake for women in this
You`re watching a special edition of "Politics Nation," live from
Democracy Plaza here in New York`s Rockefeller Center.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: And after all we`ve been through together, we can`t give up
OBAMA: Because we`ve got more change to do.
OBAMA: We`ve got more change to make.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: A story about early voting was of huge interest in our
facebook community today.
Paula sent us this photo of 104-year-old grandfather. He was nearly
on his death there, but fought back, made it out of the hospital and got
his absentee ballot so he could vote. His story inspired a lot of people.
Mykell says, thank you, sir, for your determination.
Shawn says, wish I was there voting by his side. A true patriot.
Ava says, this right here shows no one has an excuse for not voting.
She`s right. We want to hear what inspires you to vote. Please head
over to facebook and search "Politics Nation" and "like" us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.
SHARPTON: We are one day away. After all of the talks, the debates,
the speeches, the coverage, it comes down to tomorrow and the stakes could
not be higher.
Governor Romney has spent the past several weeks trying to hide his
record, trying to appear moderate on women`s issues. But don`t be fooled.
This is not a secret.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I hope to appoint justices to the Supreme Court that follow
the law and it would be my preference that they reverse Roe V. Wade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: My preference is that they reverse Roe V. Wade. That is
why tomorrow is so serious. The future of the Supreme Court is very much
on the ballot.
Joining me now is Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat from California and
a great champion for women`s rights.
Thank you for joining me, Senator.
SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Reverend.
SHARPTON: I want to play for you a newly uncovered video of Governor
Romney from 2007 talking with a radio show host about his real record on
women. Was not on the air during this exchange. Watch this, senator.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I was governor four years. I had a number of pieces of
legislation that came to my desk to dealt with abortion, absence education,
RU-486, and so forth. I vetoed any bill that was in favor of choice. I
was entirely consistent in favor of life. So, it is not just my word you
have to take, look at my record.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Look at my record. But lately he`s been trying to hide
from that record. And run to the middle. How extreme is the real Mitt
Romney, Senator Boxer?
BOXER: He`s very extreme. You know, I`m very interested to hear this
;attest clip because Romney always said how well he work with the Democrats
when he was governor, he vetoed so many bills. I forget the exact number.
And he was overwritten by the legislature because he was so out of the
But you know, all you have to do is go back to the convention.
Remember, the Republican platform makes abortion a criminal act.
BOXER: And it had no exception for rape and incest. Mitt Romney
could have said, this is wrong, I don`t want to do this. But instead, he
did nothing to change it and he picked Paul Ryan who agrees with that.
And right now, we know that Mitt Romney has cut commercials for two
candidates, one in Indiana, one in North Dakota, these candidates support
criminalizing women and doctors and one in North Dakota apparently
supported making abortion at even in the case of rape or incest a class --
I think it was a AA felony, meaning a woman or her doctor could spend the
rest of their lives in jail.
So Mitt Romney can run for president, but he cannot hide from his true
feelings. And he said he would be delighted to sign a bill if we sent him
such a bill, which we never would as long as I am in the Senate overturning
Roe V. Wade. He said he would be delighted. He`s going to quote/unquote
"get rid of Planned Parenthood" which serves three million people in our
country. Not -- 97 percent of it is health care, pure and simple
preventive health care, breast cancer screenings, cervical screenings. So
I`m just saying this man cannot hide from his record.
SHARPTON: When you look at -- you`re talking about Rick Berg who is
the North Dakota representative running for the Senate and Berg actually
said -- I`m quoting him. "He voted to criminalize abortion in the state as
a class AA felony including that in the case of rape or incest.
In fact, there are 13 senate candidates that include rape and incest
as to what they would support. These are people running for the Senate,
Republicans that include incest and rape as not being barred from their
opposition that women have the right to chose. I mean, this is about as
far right as you can possibly get.
BOXER: Reverend, it`s more than being far right. It is cruel. Rape,
incest, those are horrific crimes. They are so serious that in half the
states, there is no statute of limitations. In other words, 20 years after
a rape, if you have DNA evidence, you can go after the perpetrator.
We are talking about a criminal act that scars women and when you talk
about Paul Ryan saying that Barack Obama doesn`t have values, let`s talk
about his values, Paul Ryan`s values, Mitt Romney`s values where they are
supporting people who would actually put a woman in jail if she tried to
end a pregnancy that came from rape or incest. And, by the way, I can`t
resist saying this. I hope -- give me just another second -- the nuns, the
catholic nuns were so upset at Paul Ryan`s values that he demonstrated in
his terrible budget that the catholic nuns went on a bus trip all across
America protesting Paul Ryan`s budget.
So don`t tell me -- yes. I mean, they are wonderful. Those nuns,
they are brave. They are courageous and they have looked at Paul Ryan and
said, no. You don`t share the same values.
SHARPTON: Let`s look at the politics of this. When you look at the
new NBC/"Wall Street Journal" poll, it shows the real gender gap that has
come out of all of this. Romney has a seven-point lead among likely male
voter. Obama has an eight-point lead among women voters. Women are voting
more than men in every election. Nearly ten million more women voted than
men in 2008. They are a force to be reckoned with.
BOXER: Oh, without a doubt. And we could have the year of the women
this year. Not only seeing more women in the Congress elected but more
women voting than ever and, by the way, I don`t know if you`re aware of
this because it was a surprise when I learned it a little bit of go. The
undecided voters are mostly women and they are looking at this and they are
very smart at the end of the day, they are going to come home to President
Obama and the Democrats because these guys who were running and is -- I
include Mitt Romney who think so little of women and their judgment, who
have so little respect for women that they would put a woman in jail if she
tried to end a pregnancy because of rape? I mean, I have to say to you.
That just does not fit any value set that I`m aware of in this country.
Eighty percent of the people disagree with that view. And I hope that we
win big. I mean, I know we don`t know which way --
SHARPTON: Senator Boxer, I`m going to have to leave it there.
BOXER: We have to vote.
SHARPTON: But, thank you, as always, for coming on, and keep on
SHARPTON: Ahead, Ohio secretary of state has a last minute Hail Mary
making it harder to vote. But tonight one democratic governor is making it
easy. Go figure.
And one day before the election, the Obama/Christie friendship takes a
new twist. You will not believe the surprise President Obama had for him
This is a special edition of "Politics Nation," live from Democracy
Plaza here on the place for politics, MSNBC.
SHARPTON: The new friendship between President Obama and Governor
Christie has gone to a new level. The president started the last day of
the campaign in Wisconsin where he was joined on stage with New Jersey`s
rock legend Bruce Springsteen.
After Wisconsin, Bruce and the president hopped on Air Force One and
touched down in Ohio where Bruce urged Ohioans to vote for the president
and move forward. And this is where it gets good.
The other jersey guy getting attention and praise these days for his
handling of Sandy is Governor Chris Christie. But there`s one person that
really matters to the governor. The Atlantic recently reported that the
governor has been to 129 Bruce Springsteen shows. He knows every word to
every Springsteen song and dreams of playing drums in the e street band.
But Springsteen studiously ignores Christie at shows because of a major
difference in politics.
So the governor of New Jersey gets snug for ignoring - gets snub and
ignored by his own New Jersey idol. But those days are over.
Governor Christie took a call from President Obama today and here`s
what he said happened on that call.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), GOVERNOR, NEW JERSEY: And he was calling from air
force one. And he told me that in times of real difficulty he thought that
the only thing better than one jersey guy were two jersey guys and he put
Bruce Springsteen on the phone. We had a good conversation today and it
was great to talk to the president and even better to talk to Bruce.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Wow. This friendship might last.
SHARPTON: We`re back with the Romney campaign going dirty to the
finish line. From the start they have been an ugliness to this campaign, a
meanness, a vision of division. They have done their best to hide it.
But in these final days, it`s been seeping out for all to see. Saying
the president wants Americans to be dependent on government, saying he
doesn`t understand what it takes to make this country work, saying he`s un-
American. It adds up to one thing. He`s not one of us. He`s the other.
This election is about choosing a future for this country. And the
future Republicans are presenting in these last hours of this race. It`s
one of divisiveness, one of us versus them. And it`s the wrong choice for
Joining me now are two people who have been on the front lines for the
fight for fairness in this country, Lee Saunders, president of the American
federation of State County in municipal employees and Cecile Richards,
president of Planned Parenthood.
Thank you both for being here tonight.
LEE SAUNDERS, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE COUNTY: Good
SHARPTON: Lee, let me start with you. I want to talk to you about
something that`s getting a lot of attention tonight. Last night on an
unscheduled conference call with evangelical Christians, Paul Ryan was
talking about the president`s policies for America and he said, quote,
"It`s a dangerous path. It`s a path that grows government, restricts
freedom and liberty, and compromises those values, those Judeo-Christian,
western civilization values that made us such a great and exceptional
nation in the first place."
Lee, what is Mr. Ryan really trying to say here?
SAUNDERS: Well, I think that I would flip it on them and ask them to
maybe travel to New Jersey, travel to New York, travel to Connecticut where
we had complete devastation last week with hurricane Sandy. And the folks
that ran immediately into that problem to help, to save lives, to rebuild
those communities, were public service workers. That was government at its
best. That`s what we do.
I was in Connecticut, Al, a couple of days ago. And I visited
Bridgeport, Connecticut, where they had a lot of devastation, a lot of
flooding. The electricity is out. Homes damaged, homes destroyed. And
public service workers, the first responders, police, fire, public works
department employees, they were there providing essential services to those
citizens that have been affected.
I would say to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, go to those areas and see
what government workers do. See what government means in a time of crisis.
I was there. You should go.
SHARPTON: Now, Lee, you`ve been on the front line, president of the
largest municipal county and state union and you`ve seen the radical form
of being anti-government and union busting.
But, Cecile, you`ve been one to see first-hand how they have been so
bent on trying to come after Planned Parenthood, women`s right to choose,
even contraception. You`ve seen ugliness from another side. Romney has
repeatedly said if he wins he will get rid of Planned Parenthood. Listen
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROMNEY: I`ll cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.
I`ll cut the subsidies to Amtrak and funding for Planned Parenthood.
The federal government should not tax these people to pay for Planned
Planned Parenthood, we`re going to get rid of that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: I mean, in the last two years, the GOP has tried to cut
Planned Parenthood, February 2001, the house voted to defund Planned
Parenthood. 2011, 2012, ten states made efforts to defund Planned
Parenthood. March of this year, Mitt Romney said he would get rid of
Planned Parenthood. Union Busting on one side, women`s right to choose,
even contraception on the other side, I mean, these people have an
extremely aggressive program that really is dangerous.
CECILE RICHARDS, PRESIDENT, PLANNED PARENTHOOD: I agree, Reverend.
And I think that`s why we are seeing historic gender gap in this election,
is when Mitt Romney says he`s going to get rid of Planned Parenthood, it`s
not just about the organization. It is about the three million folks who
count on us every year for affordable health care. It really shows to me
that he doesn`t get it when it comes to what women need.
And I do think what we are seeing in his last few days is that women
are looking for a president that they can trust. And not only they can`t
trust Mitt Romney with their future, but they can trust President Obama.
He has been the best president for women, for women`s health care in my
He`s done more to make it affordable, accessible to women to get
access to health care. He`s obviously fought for equal pay for women. We
need a president who is on our side and that`s what really what this is
coming down to. Women trust President Obama and that`s why they are voting
for him in historic numbers.
SHARPTON: Lee, they have a robo call out that is targeted at
Christian voters and swing states. Listen to what the robo call says. I`m
not going to read it. I want you to hear this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember when Obama forced Christian organizations
to provide insurance coverage that was contrary to their religious beliefs.
That`s the real Barack Obama. That`s the real threat to our religious
Mitt Romney understands the importance of faith and family. That`s
why so many leaders of the Christian community are supporting Romney. They
know we can`t underestimate the threat Barack Obama poses to our faith, our
values, our freedom.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The threat he poses to our faith, our values, our freedom,
yet he wants to bust unions who represent our first responders, he wants to
eliminate women`s right to make basic decisions or even contraception.
This is what is being targeted to voters in swing states right now, Lee
SAUNDERS: Well, this is what we`re doing in Ohio, and Wisconsin, all
across the country. We`re talking, we are mobilizing, we are organizing,
we are educating our members. Clearly, there`s a major difference between
what Mitt Romney stands for and there is a major difference in what
President Obama has done.
Mitt Romney came to Ohio and stood next to John Kasich, the governor
of Ohio, when he was trying to take away the bargaining away from
government workers, from public service workers. And Mitt Romney said to
John Kasich that he supported his efforts 110 percent.
The Republicans want to see a national right to work for less law
passed across this country. They want to take rights that have been
bargained for in the private sector and public sector by unions. We are
not going to stand for that. That`s why our folks are mobilized, are
excite about this election.
I was on (INAUDIBLE) avenue, a major thoroughfare in Cleveland today.
And I thought there was an accident because there was so much traffic. I
found out that there was a voting place there. People were getting out of
their cars and voting. They are doing that by record numbers in Ohio.
Union numbers are coming out and supporting President Obama and vice
president Joe Biden by record numbers. We`re going to continue that
SHARPTON: Cecile, what do you expect tomorrow? What are you looking
to see happen tomorrow?
RICHARDS: Well, obviously as Lee said, what matters is who comes out
to vote. Again, we are seeing -- I just left Ohio. Record gender gap with
women supporting the president again, because what he stood for, not only
birth control access for women but screenings, health care screenings, well
women visits, the things that make a difference to women, equal pay to
women. What really matters are and what I think is so important is that it
depends on who goes and votes. And we just got to make sure that if women
vote, this president is going to get re-elected and it will be a good --
and move this country forward.
I think all of the things you were mentioning tonight, this campaign
and Mr. Romney, it`s gotten increasingly desperate. It is a campaign of
divisiveness. What people in this country want to do is come together and
move this country forward. That`s what Barack Obama`s all about.
SHARPTON: Lee Saunders and Cecile Richards, thank you for your time
RICHARDS: Thanks for having us.
SAUNDERS: Good talking to you, Al.
SHARPTON: Still ahead, GOP voter suppression. Republicans want you
waiting in long lines at the ballot box. But Democrats are fighting back
in Ohio, Florida, and beyond.
Plus, we will look at the sacrifices others have made so we can
exercise our right to vote.
We will be right back on this special edition of "Politics Nation,"
live from Democracy Plaza just one day before Election Day 2012.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: In other words, their back is on cynicism. Well, Wisconsin,
my bet is on you. My bet`s on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: People will wait for hours to vote in places like Florida
and it`s exactly what Republicans want. It`s the new voter suppression.
But Democrats are fighting back. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Big news tonight on voting in the aftermath of hurricane
sandy. Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York says New Yorkers displayed by the
storm can cast their ballot anywhere tomorrow. This is how democracy
should work. Our leaders should make it easier to vote, not harder.
But for more than a year, Republicans have been conspiring to take
away voting rights. In two key states, Florida and Ohio, Republican
officials have cut back early voting so much that people have been forced
to wait in line for two, three, four, as much as eight hours.
The GOP has succeeded in turning the civic duty of voting into a test
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Election headquarters, opening at 8:00. The
line is wrapping around the building. Monday morning calm, the line
moving, unlike Sunday.
They brought out the absentee ballot boxes. They are out front right
now because they are trying to streamline this so the folks dropping off
absentee ballots don`t have to wait in a long line.
This is the line outside of the Cuyahoga County board of elections
today. We are told that some people waited up to two hours to cast their
UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: How long have you been waiting in line?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It seems like forever.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Couple of hours.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two hours, two 1/2 2 1/2 hours.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: This is not how election should be held in America. Voting
is a fundamental right. It shouldn`t change based on which party is in
Joining me now are two lawmakers who have been standing up for voting
rights, Ohio congresswoman Marcia Fudge, live out of Cleveland tonight and
Miami Florida Congresswoman Fredricka Wilson.
Thank you both for being here.
REP. MARCIA FUDGE (D), OHIO: Thank you, Reverend Al. Happy to be
REP. FREDRICKA WILSON (D), FLORIDA: Thank you, Reverend Al.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman Fudge, let me start with you. Are these long
lines are dangers to another form of voter suppression, in your opinion?
FUDGE: Oh, I certainly think that they are. I know the form. But,
let me say this, Reverend Al. I`m happy to see the long lines because that
says to me that all of the dirty tricks that have been pulled by our
secretary of state are not working. And our people are determined to vote
no matter what it takes.
SHARPTON: You know, Congresswoman Fredricka Wilson, down in your
district I was there for operation lemonade with Bishop Curry and other
networks. Long lines from the first day of early voting, you were there
helping to lead the way. It seems like this has backfired. The more the
right wingers tried to stop people, people have said we`re going to stand
up anyway. But should they have to suffer through this kind of deliberate
form of trying to try their patience and wear them down?
WILSON: It is totally outrageous. This is the classic example of
voter suppression. We have 30 items on the ballots, half of which are led
by the Republican-led legislature. So, the ballot is ten pages long with
30 items. It takes one person at least 30 minutes to vote. Plus, they
have cut back on the amount of early voting days from 14, now we have
I think in Washington District, they won a lawsuit, we didn`t. And
there are only 20 sites opened in the whole Miami-Dade County and we have
actually 829 voting precincts. They opened 20.
So consequently, when the polls closed at 7:00 p.m. each night, there
are hundreds of people still in line and they are not able to vote until
1:00 and 2:00 in the morning. People are standing in line for seven and
eight hours. They are bringing their chairs, they are bringing lemonade,
they are making friends. They are not going to stop us. However, this is
SHARPTON: Now, Congresswoman Fudge, we`ve seen the fight from Sb5 all
the way through to now in Ohio. Secretary of state that seemed determined
at every turn to try to stop people. Has this backfired? Have they really
awakened to sleeping giant of people surely determined to have their
democratic vote and their democratic empowered values protected?
FUDGE: There is no question, but that it`s backfired on the secretary
of state, Reverend Al. When you look at what early voting has done across
the state already.
Now mind you, we lost nine days. The secretary of state did
everything he could possibly do to keep us from voting this weekend, even
including today. We had to go to court. He appealed to the Supreme Court
of the United States to try to prevent us from having voting this weekend.
So, even with nine days fewer voting days and restricted hours, we
have surpassed everything anyone thought we could do. And not because
people have this desire to vote early but they know if they don`t they
don`t know what will happen because of all of the things going on in Ohio.
So it has backfired.
People are taking it very personally. We look at an election which in
2008 we said was historic. This election is personal and we are not going
to allow the secretary of state or anyone else to restrict or in any way
hamper our ability to go out and vote.
SHARPTON: Congresswoman Wilson, what`s going to happen in Florida
tomorrow? Who`s going to win?
WILSON: Oh, Barack Obama. This is Barack Obama territory. And we
will stand in line for two days because as long as you are in line by 7:00
p.m. on Tuesday, you can vote. And we have our mayor has opened the
elections department. So we have people going in voting with absentee
ballots today, which is something that the NAACP and Democratic Party filed
a lawsuit in Florida and we got permission.
So we`re working all of the angles but the people who were denied the
right to vote during early voting, you will see them in record numbers on
Tuesday and we will be shuffling them back and forth in buses and taxis and
all kinds of transportation to and from the polls and just call us. Let us
know and we will be there because this is Obama country.
SHARPTON: What`s going to happen in Ohio, Congresswoman Fudge?
Reverend Al, I am so confident that the president is going to win in
Ohio. Certainly Cuyahoga County where I represent is a major portion of
the state of Ohio as it relates to the Democratic vote. Understand -- I
say this to all of our residents, if you have any problem, we will be
there. We will have as many observers as they will have. We will make
sure that we make the process as easy as we possibly can. We are certain
that there are going to be some problems with provisional ballots but we
have people there to help and provide whatever assistance you might need.
I am confident that right will win and when right wins our president is
going to win. So I expect a victory in Ohio tomorrow.
SHARPTON: When you say proper provisional ballots, what should people
do if they see a problem? Will you have people at the polls in Ohio and
Florida, Congresswoman Wilson.
Let me start with you, Congresswoman Fudge.
FUDGE: Yes, we will have people at the polls. We have not only
observers, there are judges, what they call judges in every single polling
place. We have a direct line to the board of elections. There is a direct
line to an attorney`s group. We are prepared for whether it`s true the
vote or whoever it may be.
SHARPTON: And you as well, Congresswoman Wilson, said people can
call, organizing a lot of our groups are nonpartisan but certainly they are
not going to let people be robbed of their vote.
WILSON: Yes. And we have the justice department here.
Congresswoman Wilson -
WILSON: The justice department is here also.
SHARPTON: -- Marcia Fudge, thank you both for your time tonight.
FUDGE: Thank you so much, Reverend Al. My pleasure.
WILSON: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Your right to vote has been paid for with the blood and
tears and generations of sacrifice. We`ll look at the long road in 2012
and what it took to get here. That`s next.
SHARPTON: Tomorrow, tens of millions of Americans will vote on the
future of this country exercising a fundamental right that`s been under
attack. It`s something that we`ve been covering since the start of this
In March, I was in Alabama helping to retrace the path of the historic
1965 march from Selma to (INAUDIBLE). We marched to remember the
sacrifices of those who marched and died for the civil rights of this
country and the right to vote of its people.
Now we`re seeing people stand up for those rights again, literally
standing for hours in Ohio and Florida, just to exercise their right to
When you head to the polls tomorrow, it might be cold. It might be
raining. In Florida, it might be hot. You may not like to face the long
lines or maybe not like the inconvenience or there may be poll watchers
trying to intimidate you.
But you must remember, the long struggle to secure your right to vote.
My mother passed in March of this year. She was born and raised in
Alabama, came north, had my sister and I and raised us in New York. She
could not vote in her home town until she was 40 years old in 1965 but her
generation made it possible for me to vote, for me to run for president,
for me to sit in Rockefeller Center on election eve. I owe my children
more than I have. She gave me more than she had. Tomorrow I like Obama
but I`ll be voting for my Mama.
Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "Hardball;" starts right
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