updated 11/13/2012 10:52:03 AM ET 2012-11-13T15:52:03

POLITICS NATION
November 12, 2012

Guests: Cynthia Tucker; Jan Schakowsky; Michael Isikoff; Dana Milbank; Edith Childs


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

Tonight`s lead, hey Republicans, elections have consequences.
Remember that. They may not like it, but some Republicans are starting to
cave into reality. And ignore their tea party dead enders. President
Obama is healthy. He`s planning a national campaign to rally support for
his vision of fairness. The same vision that American voted for on
Election Day. He`ll take his message beyond the beltway asking the public
to pressure Republicans back in Washington about raising taxes on the rich.
Some in the GOP know they lost badly and are starting to deal with it.
Conservative pundit Bill Kristol surprised a lot of people when he went on
FOX News and started talking sense.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BILL KRISTOL CONSERVATIVE PUNDIT: It won`t kill the country if we
raise taxes a little bit on millionaires. I really won`t, I don`t think.
I don`t really understand why Republicans don`t take Obama`s offer to
freeze taxes for everyone below $250,000, make it a million. Really
Republican party going to fall on sort of on a bunch of millionaires?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: It won`t kill the country? Take the president`s offer?
That almost sounds rational. And now some top Republicans in Congress are
also admitting they need to compromise. But not all conservatives are able
to handle the new reality. In fact, some are beginning to lose it.

For years Grover Norquist has been bullying GOP lawmaker there is to
never ever agreeing to raise taxes. But now he`s claiming this election
wasn`t about taxes at all.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GROVER NORQUIST, PRESIDENT, AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM: The president
was committed -- elected on the basis that he was not Romney and that
Romney was a poopy head and you should vote against Romney.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Really? That`s how one of their leading guys explains
their drumming. Maybe Republicans were just take their toys and go home,
too. Far too many in the GOP just can`t handle the truth of what happened
in this election. President Obama won and the American people clearly
support the balanced approach to taxes and the deficit that he campaigned
on over and over again.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I refuse to accept any
roach that isn`t balanced. I`m not going to ask students and seniors and
middle class families to pay down the entire deficit while people like me
making over $250,000 aren`t asked to pay a dime more in taxes. I`m not
going to do that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president wants fairness. And so do the American
people. Republicans need to show they can handle the truth.

Joining me now is congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois
and a proud member of the progressive caucus, and Cynthia Tucker, Pulitzer
prize-winning columnist and visiting professor of journalism at the
University of Georgia.

Thank you both for joining me.

CYNTHIA TUCKER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Good to be here.

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D0, ILLINOIS: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Let me start with you, congresswoman. Do you think
Republicans are feeling the pressure when it comes to raising taxes on the
rich?

SCHAKOWSKY: There`s no question about it. John Boehner was sounding,
you know, like there might be some way to compromise on that issue. And I
love Bill Kristol, what he had to say about it who is somewhat of a leader
of the more conservative branch of the Republican party.

And so, I think I`m optimistic. But you know what, Reverend Al, we
don`t need all the Republicans to go along. We need enough rational
Republicans and then the Democrats can provide the rest of the votes in we
get a fair compromise. But anything less than fair that protects the
middle class, the president has said he`s not going to sign it.

SHARPTON: Cynthia, the "New York Times" reported on a conference call John
Boehner the speaker had and it`s very interesting what tone he set and a
GOP senator. Let me give you the both. The quote from the "Times" is that
quote "their party lost badly, Mr. Boehner said, they had to avoid the
nasty showdowns that marked much of the last two years. Members on the
call subdued and dark, murmured words of support." That`s interesting.

And then you had senator Bob Corker, a key member of the banking
committee, went on FOX News and said the wealthy should contribute more.
Listen to this, Cynthia.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. BOB CORKER (D), TENNESSEE: We know there has to be revenues and
I think -- look, I haven`t met a wealthy Republican or Democrat in
Tennessee that`s in the willing to contribute more as long as they know we
solved the problem.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, we know there has to be more revenues. I haven`t
met a wealthy Republican or Democrat that`s not willing to contribute more.
It`s amazing, not amazing, amazing what an election can do to some people.

TUCKER: Indeed. It does sound as though reality is beginning to
intrude because all we`ve heard up to now is absolute other intransigence,
no we are not raise taxes for the wealthy at all, ever. Forget about it.
So, it sounds like reality is beginning to break through.

However, having said that, Reverend Al, I`m still a little bit
concerned that Republicans hope to do is just get away with acting as
though they`re ready to compromise, gesturing towards compromise. I think
the president has to watch them very carefully. He cannot allow them to
say just let the tax -- let the -- go ahead and renew tax breaks for the
wealthy and we`ll work on this next year in some big grand bargain over tax
reform. Don`t let them get away with that because they will then have
suckered the president and Democrats and not be willing to tow the line
when it comes down to it.

So, I think the president has to insist that they sign on to a deal
right now for keeping the tax cuts only for people under $250,000. I think
he has to be very careful and not let them get away with something.

SHARPTON: Now, he did say, congresswoman, that he had to bend, he was
willing to sign right now an extension of the tax cut for the middle class
and then negotiate about the wealthier later. And that was the position he
took in his comment and just offer what Cynthia just expressed to concern.

Paul Krugman wrote in "the New York Times" expressing liberal fears
about grand bargains on taxes and entitlements. He wrote you know what
could really produce the kind of dispirited bates that was supposed to doom
Obama in 2012, a sellout on key Democratic values as a part of a grand
bargain. Do you have those fears, congresswoman?

SCHAKOWSKY: You know, I don`t. The fact that the president in his
acceptance speech and then the day after when he talked about the fiscal
cliff made it very, very clear. And the fact that he`s going out on the
stump now to talk to the American people who already agree that the
wealthiest Americans need to pay more.

The fact it that he said he`s not going to let senior citizens, you
know that half of all older Americans make under $22,000 a year. Are you
serious, you`re going to take it out of those people and have them pay down
the deficit? No.

But since we all agree, and we do all agree, Republicans and
Democrats, that the middle class tax cuts should not be eliminated, he`s
right, let`s just go ahead and do that right now. But I do not see this
president selling out not after 332 electoral votes. No, he is not going
to do that.

SHARPTON: Now, Cynthia, the fact is that the congresswoman is right,
according to NBC exit polling, Americans want to see the wealthy taxes
raised when you look at the exit polls, 77 percent of Democrats, 59 percent
of independents, 42 percent of Republicans.

So it would be the will of the American people when you look at the
exit polls of what they want. And yet we`re faced with the fact that
Republicans have to look at though they maintain the house 54.3 billion
voted Democrats to go to congress, 53.8 million voted for Republicans.
Actually more people voted for Democratic members of Congress than
Republicans even though we didn`t gain the majority on the democratic side,
Cynthia.

TUCKER: Indeed. And it is absolutely true that the president
campaigned on this throughout the past year. He`s been saying this for the
last four years. And when he was re-elected, he clearly had a mandate and,
yes, I use the word mandate very deliberately here to raise taxes on the
wealthiest Americans and keep taxes where they are for people who earn less
than $250,000 a year.

But let`s be very close that while there are signs of reality breaking
through in some places, they`re not breaking through everywhere. Mitch
McConnell, senate minority leader, still sounds much like he sounded when
Obama was first elected. He doesn`t sound as if he`s ready to compromise.

And I want to hear business leaders are now saying we`re ready to fix
the debt problem. I want business leaders to start a campaign that says
I`m ready for the president to raise my taxes. That`s where they could
have some real influence with the Republican party I think. So when
business leaders get ready to say that, I think compromise a fair and
balanced compromise could be close.

SHARPTON: Well, and Cynthia, we don`t want business leaders to have
that campaign in quiet rooms.

Congresswoman Schakowsky, Cynthia Tucker, thank you so much for your
time tonight.

Coming up, inside the Petraeus investigation. We are learning much
more about the two women at the center of it. NBC`s national investigative
correspondent Michael Isikoff joins us.

Plus, the bloom is off the road. Karl Rove under fire from the
billionaire boys club. And just wait until you see his (INAUDIBLE) in
"SNL."

And a new video showing President Obama behind the scenes with
campaign staffers. You will want to see what happens in this one.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Today, all across the country, federal officers and many
public schools were closed in honor of our nation`s veterans. On Sunday,
the president marked veterans day by laying a wreath on the tomb of the
unknowns and addressing those who gave so much in the service of their
country.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: This 9/11 generations who stepped forward after the towers
fell and in the years since have stepped in to history. Running one of the
greatest chapters of military service our country has ever known. Tour
after tour, year after year, you and your families have done all that this
country has asked. You`ve done that and more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: The president noted that this is the first veterans day in
a decade in which there are no American troops fighting and dying in Iraq.
There are still 68,000 U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan, but President
Obama has promised to pull them out by the end of 2014. An entire
generation of Americans have grown up with a nation at war. It is now time
to focus on peace. It`s time to take care of our veterans. And as
President Obama says, it`s time to do some nation building here at home.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

We are learning new details about the affair that ended David
Petraeus` career as head of the CIA. NBC reports the unraveling of the
affair began as a cyber harass the probe late this spring. That`s when
Jill Kelly, a close friend of the Petraeus family, reported she had
received several anonymous and harassing e-mails. The e-mails referred to
Kelly socializing with other generals in the Tampa area, suggesting it was
inappropriate and should stop. And warning her to stay away from Petraeus.

Ultimately will the FBI traced the e-mails back to Petraeus`
biographer, Paula Broadwell. And during the investigation, they discovered
e-mails from Petraeus to Broadwell that showed the two were having an
extramarital affair. There`s still a lot we don`t know about the Petraeus
resignation. Why would Paula Broadwell send threatening e-mails to Jill
Kelley? Did Broadwell have access to confidential information?

While there are legitimate questions that need to be answered, some on
the right are back to their old tricks trying to turn this into something
it`s not.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER NEW YORK MAYOR: This is an administration that
is practicing now serial deception. This is a very convenient way to get
the administration out of a very, very difficult situation. But this is
inevitable. It`s like Water Gate.

PRE. PETER KING (R), NEW YORK: It seems it has been going on for
several months and now they`re appearing that the FBI didn`t realize until
Election Day that general Petraeus was involved. Just doesn`t add up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would suggest that we have a joint select
committee of house and Senate members, and we do this together, not have
three different committees going off in three different directions so we
can get to the about the bottom of it like we did in Watergate and Iran
contra.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Watergate, Iran contra, please. Let`s ignore the hype of
ventilating on the right and just focus on getting the facts.

Joining me now is Michael Isikoff, national investigative
correspondent to NBC news. He`s been breaking some of the big details in
this case over the last few days.

First of all, Michael, thanks for being here tonight.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, NBC NEWS NATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Good
to be with you.

SHARPTON: What do we know about how this investigation got started?
The e-mails that Paula Broadwell September to Jill Kelly, is that really
how it started?

ISIKOFF: Well, that`s basically it. In late May Jill Kelley, who is
in Tampa, has known general Petraeus for quite some time, is quite
prominent socially in the Tampa area, starts getting these anonymous e-
mails that are quite menacing a source close to her says, suggesting that
she`s been socializing inappropriately with high level generals from the
U.S. southern command and central command which are based in Tampa and that
she ought to stop it. And then, as the e-mails continue, they make
references to her socializing with general Petraeus.

And perhaps more menacing, if you will, the e-mails seem to indicate
that the sender, anonymous sender of these e-mails knows the comings and
goings of general Petraeus and some of the generals. And that`s what
causes her to turn the e-mails over to the FBI and the FBI to take them
quite seriously.

SHARPTON: Now, what can you tell us about Paula Broadwell who they
traced these e-mails back to?

ISIKOFF: Well, look, it took some time because as one source told me,
she had covered her tracks quite women and it was not at all clear who the
sender was originally. But they did trace it back to Paula Broadwell.

Paula Broadwell clearly was quite public about her friendship with
general Petraeus, how she worked with him closely to write the biography.
Actually, I was on a panel with Paula Broadwell at the Aspen security forum
last July in which she was quite open about how much access she had to
general Petraeus when she was writing the biography of him, how she also
had access to classified information. This made people uncomfortable. She
made a point of saying she had a high level security clearance and that she
didn`t consider herself a journalist.

And I should point out that there were a lot of people close to
general Petraeus who wondered why he had chosen Paula Broadwell who had no
background as a journalist, no background as a biographer, to be write a
book about him, to be his biographer. But this was at a stage in general
Petraeus` career when very few people were going to question his judgment.

SHARPTON: Yes. Because a lot of people are asking if Broadwell had
access to too much confidential information. Listen to what she said about
the Benghazi consulate attacks in a speech just last month. Listen to
this, Michael.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PAULA BROADWELL, GENERAL DAVID PETRAEUS` BIOGRAPHER: I don`t know if
a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of
Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the
consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that`s
still being vetted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: I mean, is that something she should have known, is there
evidence that she had confidential information about Benghazi or anything?

ISIKOFF: Well, that would be certainly something you would want to
ask her about. Because that is an intriguing tidbit. Of course the CIA
has denied this is the case. If it were true, it would seem to potentially
violate one of President Obama`s original executive orders.

And she does say in there that this is still being vet vetted
suggesting this was a piece of intelligence that was not clear, although
you would think the CIA would know for sure whether it was hold be a
prisoner in be Benghazi.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, we will be watching this. Michael Isikoff,
thanks for your time tonight.

ISIKOFF: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama`s emotional speech to staffers
was one surprise. And today, a new behind the scenes video of the
president with his staffers. You need to see what happens in this one.

Plus the GOP in crisis. Republicans are throwing Karl Rove under the
bus. And it could get very ugly.

And who is pointing fingers at Rush Limbaugh? It`s a big story
tonight. Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We`re back with another great look of President Obama
behind the scenes with his campaign staff. Last week we saw President
Obama getting emotional as he thanked campaign staffers for all their hard
work.

Today we see him back in August with his staffers. Watch what happens
when Sarah told the president she just got engaged.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: What`s your story?

SARAH: I just got engaged yesterday. And it was to someone who works
in analytics.

OBAMA: So I`m responsible?

SARAH: You`re responsible.

OBAMA: What`s his name?

SARAH: Matt.

OBAMA: Matt. What`s Matt? Come over here. Hey, let me point at it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: But the president didn`t just let Sarah show off her new
rock, he wanted full story of the proposal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: You didn`t say?

SARAH: And then I said we gave a high five and I said five years.
Put a ring on it.

OBAMA: Put a ring on it.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

It`s not every day you get to see the president channel Beyonce. And
while those staffers are enjoying a big win, last week the GOP is in full
blown silver wall. That`s next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: It`s been nearly one week, but the GOP just can`t shake
that post-election hangover. Even Newt Gingrich is just shocked by how
badly Governor Mitt Romney lost.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

NEWT GINGRICH (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you would have
said this to me ago, Mitt Romney would get fewer votes than John McCain and
it looks like there will be two million fewer. I would have been dumb
founded.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Mr. Gingrich is dumb founded and apparently so he is this
guy. He has the Romney logo tattooed on his face. Now he says he`s
totally disappointed. Man, I`m the guy who has egg all over his face. But
instead of egg, it`s a big Romney/Ryan tattoo he said. Good luck with
that.

But, hey, if he wants a matching t-shirt, they`re on sale. This
Romney merchandise is now selling for 60 percent off at Reagan national
airport. Get your holiday shopping done early.

Even Facebook`s giving the governor a cold shoulder. On Saturday,
Romney was losing 593 friends per hour. And there is someone else the
party is trying to de-friend. The $300 million man, Karl Rove. Everyone
is still talking about his on air election night meltdown. Politico
reports, Rove is the leaning scapegoat of the party. It`s not just donors
who are piling on. He`s getting needled in the opening credits of the
Simpsons.

I will not concede the election until Karl Rove gives me permission.
And here is how you know it`s bad for the former GOP king maker. "SNL" is
piling on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Mitt.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello, Karl Rove.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I still think you can win Ohio. Now might not be
the best time, but could I were borrow $300 million? Is it possible -- I`m
OK.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: All jokes aside, what we`re seeing is a Republican party
that has a silver wand in his hands. The blame is being passed all around.
Rove, the pollsters, even Rush Limbaugh. How will it end?

Joining me now is Dana Milbank, columnist for "the Washington Post,"
and Victoria Defrancesco Soto, a fellow at the University of Texas Thank
and an NBC Latino contributor.

Thank you both if being here this evening.

DANA MILBANK, POLITICAL COLUMNIST, THE WASHINGTON POST: Hi, Reverend.

VICTORIA DEFRANCESCO SOTO, NBC LATINO CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Dana, let me start with you. Rove is at the center of a
GOP civil car. Will he end up being the scapegoat for this big loss for
your opinion?

MILBANK: Well, this loss is too big for just one scapegoat there.
You got a need a whole block of them. But, he`s certainly an inviting
candidate to be that scapegoat because there`s not a lot of love lost in
many quarters there.

He`s been doing this for any number of cycles coming out with terrific
predictions about the big roll licking victory that was to come and even
when the victories came, they weren`t as big as he thought. This time we
actually saw it fall apart in live television and the fact that there were
hundreds of millions of dollars wasted as many people feel.

But I expect four years from now Karl Rove will find a way to get
himself right back there. George W. Bush called him the third blossom. So
he manages to make the best of a bad situation. I expect he`ll do that
again.

SHARPTON: That`s a graphic description by George Bush. But, you
know, Rove is getting a lot of backlash. The GOP Rick Tyler former
strategist for the pro-Newt super PAC, he says the effort was, quote, `a
colossal failure. I don`t think donors are ever going to invest in that
level again because it turns out that the architect didn`t know what he was
talking about. That`s a pretty hard charge."

SOTO: You know, Reverend, as a Texan --

SHARPTON: Go ahead. Go Ahead. Victoria, go ahead.

SOTO: I was going to jump in as the defense of Karl Rove because you
can`t underestimate him. He`s like the phoenix that keeps rising again.
But most importantly, I think what we`ll see in the future is his ability
to reach out to Latinos. And that`s what Republicans desperately need to
do in the short to medium term. And Karl Rove is the guy who can do it.
He gets it. He know how to reach to Latinos. So, after the hard feelings
are set aside, he`s going to be called upon to strategize and how they
bring a lot of Latinos back into the tent like he did with Bush`s governor
and Bush`s president.

SHARPTON: Well, we can talk about that but there`s a lot more than
Rove. I want to finish this point first, Dana. A lot more are being
blamed on Rove like Rush Limbaugh is having to increasingly move the party
to the right is another thing being attacked. Politico points out this
quote, "for nearly six years since President Bush`s second term went south,
Republicans have been effectively without a leader. And into that vacuum
has stepped a series of conservative figures whose incentives in most cases
are not to win votes but to make money and score ratings by being
provocative and even outlandish. That`s very interesting point there,
Dana.

MILBANK: Yes, I think so, Reverend. And you know, this whole notion
that there is some civil war under way within the Republican party, the
only problem with that is it`s basically over the tea party won that war.
It`s more like the invasion of Grenada. There is not just a whole lot of
resistance.

You have John Boehner get up there now and suggest that well, maybe
he`s going to be the leader. You can already see them sharpening their
knives for him. It seems to me and then he`ll be replaced by somebody else
who will be in the same position, it just seems that anybody who will try
to get into some position of being rational and talking straight is going
to be undermined by his own party.

SHARPTON: But Victoria, you do have some moderate Republicans
increasingly calling out the conservative media establishment. Listen to
this for example.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The conservative follow-ship has been pleased,
exploited and lied to. People who put this dimension (ph) so to speak, are
now blaming him for sinking.

JON HUNTSMAN (R), FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have the media
elite in a sense on the right, they`re making millions of dollars talking
about all the incendiary aspects where we need solutions as suppose to
people in search of a larger audience.

JOE SCARBOROUGH, MSNBC HOST, MORNING JOE: If I were a donor, my
biggest problem would be that I was laid to. The conservative media
establishment, they lied to the donors. They lied to the base. They lied
to everybody about how Romney was ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Now, Victoria, can these more moderate voices at least
moderate compared to the tea party, can they gain traction and influence in
the Republican party?

SOTO: I believe there will, but it will be a long road, you know,
because these moderates are very frustrated. Not only did they lose this
election, but they also lost a huge business investment. So with regards
to crossword GPS and other super PACs, there`s millions of dollars thrown
down the drain and their confidence in the establishment in letting the tea
party take the lead is going to start shortening and we`ll see them take a
tighter and teeter rein in terms of the party leadership. Because
ultimately they`re the ones with the cash.

SHARPTON: And see, Dana, I think that that touches on another point
because what was really, really interesting is how badly the GOPs internal
polling was.

Romney campaign expected to win Colorado, Florida and Virginia. It
expected to be neck and neck in Ohio and have a shot in Pennsylvania.
Clearly they were wrong on all counts. But wasn`t just team Romney. Just
look at what they thought about the Indiana Senate race. One national
Republican senatorial committee poll showed tea party candidate Richard
Mourdock running even with Joe Donnelly. Then he lost by six points. So,
I mean, it was just one or two, it was like across the board they were
totally off base.

MILBANK: Right. There are two things going on here. I mean, one
could just be their numbers were bad and they were off. But I think there
was something more cynical going on and that it was the ideas if people
knew how far back these actually were, he would have as in many of the
public polls indeed were showing, you would have had, first of all,
financial troubles. The donors would be bailing and more importantly, the
voters don`t want to be on board with a loser. You want to create that
sense of momentum. Now, clearly this fell well short of that.

And the problem that you have here, though, is that in the House of
Representatives, these guys think they ran a terrific campaign and the
Republicans think that they have been rewarded for the very positions that
Romney was punished for holding. So nobody will tell these guys now to
start compromising.

SHARPTON: Which is why no one can relax in this climate. But there
are some breakthroughs, Victoria, that makes one begin to wonder whether
the civil war on the Republican party is going to last a little more than a
few weeks. I was just handed former Bush adviser Karen Hughes said some
tough words for people like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock. In "Politico"
she wrote, "if another Republican man says anything about rape other than
it is a horrific ad violent crime, I want to personally cut out his tongue.
The college age daughters of many of my friends voted for Obama because
they were completely turned off by the Neanderthal comments like the
suggestion of legitimate rape."

So, you have, on one hand as Dana say, some of the far right saying
they`re right and proud of their stance and you have others now saying they
would have liked to have cut off somebody`s tongue if they say this again.
I just want to see where it goes and whether or not if there are more
moderate voices that can bring some balance to a party that seems out of
control.

Dana Milbank and Victoria Defrancesco Soto, thank you both for your
time this evening.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

SOTO: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, you know the phrase. And you love the phrase.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Fired up! Ready to go!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Who knew there was an incredible story behind it? The
woman who gave the president his rallying cry joins us next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: Fired up! Ready to go! Fired up! Ready to go!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Fired up, ready to go. It`s of course President Obama`s
signature rallying cry. And it`s been that way since 2007. As we know,
this did not begin by accident. He adopted it after a spur of the moment
trip to South Carolina five years ago. Last Monday on election eve, the
last campaign of his political career, President Obama told the story
behind the chant.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OBAMA: We landed in Greenville, South Carolina at around midnight.
We get to the hotel about 1:00 in the morning, I`m wiped out. I`m
exhausted. A few hours later, I wake up and I feel terrible. I think a
cold`s coming on. And I open up the curtains to try to get light to wake
me up, but it`s pouring down rain. Terrible storm. By the time I`m in the
car, I`m wet and I`m mad and still kind of sleepy. And it turns out
Greenville is several hours away from every place else.

So we drive and we drive and we drive. Then, we pull up to a small
field house. And she was going to organize a little meeting for us and we
walk in and there were about 20 people there and they`re all kind of wet,
too, and they don`t look very excited to see me.

But you know what, I`m running for president, so I do what I`m
supposed to do. And I`m shaking hands. And I say how to you do, nice to
meet you. And I`m making my way around the room and suddenly I hear this
voice cry out behind me, fired up. And I`m startled and I don`t know
what`s going on. But everybody in the room, just a small room, they act
like this is normal.

And when the voice says fired up, they all say ready to go. I looked
around, I turn around and there`s a small woman, about 60 years old, looks
like she just came from church. So for the next few minutes, she just
keeps on saying fired up. And everybody says fired up and she says ready
to go and everybody says ready to go. And I`m thinking, you know, this
woman is showing me up.

Now, here`s the thing. After a few minutes, I`m feeling kind of fired
up. I`m feeling like I`m ready to go. So I start joining in the chant.
My staff starts joining in the chant. And I feel pretty good. For the
rest of the day, even after we left Greenwood, even though we still weren`t
getting any big crowds anyplace, even though people still couldn`t
pronounce my name, I felt good. And I`d see my staff and I`d say are you
fired p up. They would say, fired up. Are you ready to go? We`re ready
to go.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: Joining me now is the woman the president was talking
about, Edith Childs.

Ms. Childs, thank you so much for joining us.

EDITH CHILDS, STARTED FIRED UP, READY TO GO CHANT: Thank you,
Reverend Sharpton, for having me.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, what did you think when you heard the
president tell that story last week?

CHILDS: Well, I sat there and I kind of wondered why, you know. You
just did what you have to do and you do it because it`s the right thing to
do at that time. And when I heard him, I just kind of sit there, oh, my
goodness. He`s talking about me. So it was nice to hear him.

SHARPTON: Now, take us back to 2007 when you first met President
Obama. What impression did you get from him on that rainy day this
Greenwood, South Carolina?

CHILDS: Well, first of all, when he came in, it wasn`t really a field
house, it was actually the civic center. And there was actually 38 of us,
you know. Not many from 20, but 38. And he came in. He began to tell us
why he wanted to be president and some things that he would like to do. Of
course I was impressed with it.

And then Robert an attorney there in Greenwood said, mow Ms. Childs,
you need to say fired up for the senator. And I`m saying, no, I don`t need
to do that, I just came to rely come him to Greenwood. So, he kept saying
Ms. Childs, you got to it. You have to do it. And so, I said OK, fine.

So after he finished his speech and he began to greet all of us and I
waited until he got about middle ways of the line of greeting us, and I
began to say fired up, fired up. Ready to go. Fired up.

SHARPTON: Now, you spoke about the chant in the Obama -- in an Obama
campaign ad this year. Why did you do that?

CHILDS: Well, because he was the kind of person that I felt that I
was comfortable in committing to, helping to do whatever I could do to get
him elected for a second term. That`s why. It was so important to me as
well as to other people all over the United States.

SHARPTON: Now, he`s told the story that he had invited you to come
and join him last week and you said you had to stay home and get him
elected. So I guess you`re still fired up.

CHILDS: I am. I am. What happened, I had gotten a group people from
Greenwood, we had gotten together and we were going to go up to -- we
thought we was going to Gastonia, but we got the call to go to Concord so
that`s where we went. We went up to knock on doors. And it was a joy for
us to be there to meet and greet those folks. And almost all the house --
doors we knocked on, those people was in favor of the president. And it
was just an honor for us to do that.

And then on our way back, we got another call, we had to stop in
Charlotte. And we got to Charlotte and there was 250 to 300 young people
there ready waiting to go out on the next day. And I fired them up and
they were so fired up when I left, they were crying and I thought what did
I do to them, but they were just overjoyed because I stopped by to just
fire them up for that day.

SHARPTON: Well, we are very appreciate tip of you joining us tonight.
Great story. Edith Childs, thanks for your time tonight.

CHILDS: Thank you so much, Reverend Sharpton for having me.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

SHARPTON: We have a call to report tonight. Yes, nearly a week
later, we can report President Obama won the state of Florida by 74,000
votes. It was important due to a 90 percent of the African-American vote.
He gets 29 electoral votes. But let`s be honest, Florida is a complete
voting mess. It took four days to count all the ballots. People waited in
line for seven hours. Governor Rick Scott who scaled back early voting is
now calling for review. But he also said everything worked out just fine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: We did the right thing. What we`re
doing is the right thing. The right thing happened. We did the right
thing.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SHARPTON: You call this the right thing? Voters stuck in line for up
to seven hours and election workers shutting their doors in some voters`
faces? Some members of Congress comparing the process to a, quote, "third
world country," a calling for a national overhaul of the system. It`s no
wonder why. And it`s not just Florida p.

In Arizona, they`re still counting more than 300,000 provisional and
early ballots. Some Latino civil rights groups are worried those votes may
end up getting tossed. That`s why civil rights groups like mine, national
action network, went on the road. We marched in Alabama to protect people
from not being suppressed and disenfranchised.

I joined Bishop Victor Corey (ph) and others in Florida with operation
lemonade. When you see how close these votes are, imagine if some people
were not allowed to vote. It might have altered the outcome. We didn`t
tell people how to vote. We made sure people could vote. And because
people could vote, it only increased democracy. It only increased people`s
participation.

We need to overall and make sure as the overall system people can vote
in a nation that stands and claims to be a shining light of democracy.
Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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