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PoliticsNation, Friday, September 23, 2011

Guests: Bob Shrum, Mark McKinnon, Gary Johnson, Jonathan Capehart, Alex Wagner, Joe Crowley

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans, this time what happens on
the road is not staying on the road.

Tonight, our awards for what happened in that GOP debate.


before --


SHARPTON: No, Governor Perry. It`s tonight.

Joining us on planet reality, political strategist Bob Shrum and Mark

Plus, meet the candidate. He made his debate debut last night, and he
shot to number one on Google search today. He`s former New Mexico Governor
Gary Johnson, and he joins us live.

Also, shutdown showdown. John Boehner`s GOP is at it again, and this
time disaster victims are at the center of another storm.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: This is why people don`t
like Washington.


SHARPTON: You got that right, Eric Cantor.

And fear and loathing Republicans claim to support the troops. So why
was there booing for a soldier at last night`s presidential debate?

POLITICS NATION starts right now.

Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton, live tonight from
Washington, D.C.

Our lead, Republicans make believe in the land of make believe.
Things got crazy during the presidential debate in Orlando last night.


BRET BAIER, MODERATOR: Now, let`s meet the candidates.

PERRY: It`s not the first time that Mitt`s been wrong on some issues

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: So you better find that Rick
Perry and get him to stop saying that.

claim, nor did I make that statement.

what Ronald Reagan told us so beautifully.

PERRY: You could take Herman Cain and mate him up with Newt Gingrich.


SHARPTON: In fact, the candidates in this debate were so outrageous,
so over the top, so fact-free, that we decided the only way to talk about
it was with an awards show.

So I present to you the first time ever, The Revvies.

To help me present tonight`s Revvie Awards, let`s bring in Bob Shrum,
Democratic strategist and senior adviser to John Kerry in 2004, and Mark
McKinnon, "Daily Beast" contributor and cofounder of No Labels, and former
adviser to George W. Bush and John McCain.

Guys, thank you for being with me tonight on this big night.



SHARPTON: Now, first up, there was no contest when it came to the
award for foreign language performance.

And so, without further ado, we present the award for Best Foreign
Language Performer. And the winner is Rick Perry.

Here`s the moment that really clinched it. Perry was asked what he
would do if Pakistan lost control of its nuclear weapons. Take a listen.


PERRY: You`d have to build a relationship in that region. That`s one
of the things that this administration has not done.

Just yesterday, we found out through Admiral Mullen that Haqqani has
been involved with -- and that`s the terrorist group directly associated
with the Pakistani country -- so to have a relationship with India, when we
had the opportunity to sell India the upgraded F-16s, we chose not to do
that. We did the same thing with Taiwan.


SHARPTON: Wow. That response wasn`t really in English. In fact, I
haven`t seen such a strong foreign language performance since the 2007 Miss
Teen competition.


CAITLIN UPTON, MISS TEEN: Osama -- people out there in our nation
don`t have them, and I believe that our education, like such as in South
Africa and Iraq, everywhere like such as --



PERRY: A terrorist group directly associated with the Pakistani
country --


UPTON: -- should help the U.S. -- or should help South Africa --



PERRY: -- to have a relationship with India.



UPTON: -- and should help Iraq and the Asian countries.


SHARPTON: Well, Bob and Mark, there is a serious point here for
Governor Perry. The debate did not go well for him.

Mark, did he go from hero to zero last night?

MCKINNON: Well, Superman got his cape taken off, and it appears that
debates are his Kryptonite.

Perry`s been up to the debate plate now three times, he`s swung three
times and he`s missed three times. And there are three times really in a
presidential campaign where you have an opportunity to really move the
needle -- when you announce, when you do your nomination speech and pick
your VP, and debates.

They are really critical. And you have got to play an A game when
you`re on that stage and the spotlight comes on. And it`s really clear.
We kind of gave him a pass on the first debate, but you would expect some
improvement by the second, and certainly by the third. And he just looked

And, you know, you only get so many shots at this. And Mitt Romney
showed what comes with having been through this before, because he`s been
very smooth, very consistent, and very prepared.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, Mark said something that I agree with. The first
time, we said, well, he`s new, he`s been on the national stage before. The
second time, he`s just adjusting. But now he`s just starting to look like
he`s not ready for primetime, at least in the debates.

SHRUM: I agree with that with one caveat. Look, he was unprepared.
He set out to give Romney a tongue-lashing, and instead, he biffed and
farbled his way into complete incoherence.

The Republican establishment was horrified, but I think we have to
wait and see how these primary voters react. Because, in a way, this is a
race between Perry and his defense of the HPV vaccine, and his saying that
Republicans are heartless on immigration, and Romney`s record on Obamacare
-- on Romneycare -- excuse me -- on Romneycare and flip-flops.

I don`t know which is going to make the Tea Party seethe more, but I`m
sure of one thing. If, after that performance, Perry still leads the
polls, then the Republican Party is headed basically in a direction that`s
going to make it very tough to be competitive in the election.

SHARPTON: Now, Mark, did, in your judgment, the other candidates on
their platform last night, did they take advantage of the clear bad
performance and, at times, incoherence of Governor Perry, who is the front-

MCKINNON: Well, yes. I think Rick Santorum took advantage last night
and had a very strong performance.

You know, Perry is starting to bleed a bit. And if he bleeds in Iowa,
you have got to look for Herman Cain or Rick Santorum or Michele Bachmann
to take advantage of that.

Michele Bachmann didn`t do that last night. Rick Santorum did. So
there`s still an open race in Iowa if Perry doesn`t get as much traction as
we thought he might.

So, Santorum had a good performance. And I was glad to see Gary
Johnson on the stage. He deserves to be on the stage, as does Buddy Roemer
and others who have been shut out of these debates for inconsistent and
unfair reasons of the criteria of the debate.

So, good to have Johnson up there. He stole the night with his one-
liner about the dogs and the shovel-ready projects.

SHARPTON: Yes. We`re going to have him on in a minute.


SHARPTON: Well, I think maybe, Bob, that Governor Perry`s team is
insisting Johnson and others be on, because that will mean he has less time
to mess up.

SHRUM: Well, that wouldn`t be a bad idea.

Look, it`s not just that he had a lack of preparation. They don`t
seem to be very surefooted about this process works.

Their excuse afterwards, for example, was, well, gee, he`s like Ronald
Reagan, who wasn`t a great debater. First of all, that`s not true.

Secondly, there`s kind of a basic rule. If you`re a Republican, don`t
compare yourself to Reagan. If you`re a Democrat, don`t compare yourself
to JFK. The comparison is not going to stand up very well.

Thirdly, he telegraphed every line of attack he had before the debate.
And if you do that, someone like Mitt Romney is going to be prepared, and
he`s going to handle it very well.

I thought it was amateur hour.

SHARPTON: All right.

Well, the next up, the award for Best Editing. And this award goes to
Willard Mitt Romney, because, once again, last night he was forced by the
other candidates to edit his history on Romneycare.


PERRY: Your economic adviser talked about Romneycare and how that was
an absolute bust, and it was exactly what Obamacare was all about. As a
matter of fact, between books, your hard-copy book, you said that it was
exactly what the American people needed. In your paperback, you took that
line out.


SHARPTON: It`s clear that Romney appeared stronger than the other
candidates last night, but won`t this history of flip-flopping hurt him in
the end, Mark?

MCKINNON: Well, actually, I think the one thing that`s been
remarkable about his campaign so far is that he hasn`t taken more water
over his health care plan. He`s done a pretty good job of blowing through
it, as he did last night.

So -- and the one thing I`ve been impressed by, by the way, is the
extent to which he`s gone to some of these Tea Party forums and he hasn`t
kissed the ring. He hasn`t turned himself into a pretzel. And he`s really
been more of the Mitt Romney that I think he really is, which is the
governor and the jobs creator, and has stayed really focused on that
message. And he`s not making the same mistakes that he did last time,
which was to show those inconsistencies by going and really genuflecting
before the folks on the far right.

SHARPTON: Yes, but, Bob, let`s take the point that even Governor
Perry brought up last night. If you have a candidate, say he`s the
standard-bearer of the party, in a hardcover book he praises the health
care plan, it goes to the soft-back print, and he takes it out. I mean,
this kind of blatant editing and flip-flopping and playing to the public is
almost intellectually insulting to voters, don`t you think, if it`s brought

SHRUM: Well, listen, it`s going to hurt him, and he`s going to face a
lot more scrutiny if he`s the nominee on the flip-flops, on his record at
Bain Capital and everywhere else. But I agree with Mark. He`s largely
handled this pretty well in a very difficult situation for him inside the
Republican Party.

The party`s heart is never going to be with him. He`s trying to get
this nomination by appealing to the party`s head, convincing that maybe he
can win this election.

And by the way, Mark will recall -- you don`t even need to look at his
book. He sat in a debate with John McCain in 2008 and said Romneycare
should be a model for the nation. The Perry people obviously don`t do
their research, they don`t prepare their candidate, and he`s not prepared
for the second-level response.

SHARPTON: All right.

Before you go too far there, I`ve got to keep going with my awards.

And next in the Revvie Awards, we come to the award for Best Makeup.
Wait a second. Don`t get offended. We don`t mean makeup. We mean
literally making it up.

Tonight, we present Michele Bachmann with the Makeup Award. Clearly,
she spent too much time in the Magic Kingdom last night, because she was
living in a land of make believe when it came to the facts.


BACHMANN: President Obama has the lowest public approval ratings of
any president in modern time.


SHARPTON: Michele, that`s true if you leave out Truman, Johnson,
Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 41, Clinton, and Bush 43.

How long can this fact-free campaign go on?

Mark, is Michele Bachmann finished after last night?

MCKINNON: Close to it. She`s really having a problem with
consistency and her facts. And that has stripped her of the credibility.

She had a great breakout performance in the first debate. Actually,
had a pretty good last time, until her comment about the HPV woman and the

And there`s a consistent pattern of her not talking about facts and
with any sort of credibility. And so I think her campaign is running out
of gas, she`s running out of money, and running out of steam.

SHARPTON: And there`s not a gas station in sight.

Bob, let me ask you, is this down to a two-man race, Perry and Romney?

SHRUM: Fundamentally, it is, although last night you saw some of
these Republicans who were very upset with Perry, who still don`t trust
Romney, people like Bill Kristol, who wrote a column that began, "Yikes!"
saying Chris Christie has to get into this.

I imagine what he wants is a Republican candidate for president who
didn`t make the mistake of writing a crazy book just before he announced.

SHARPTON: Mark, is it too late for Chris Christie or even Sarah Palin
whose PAC is raising money? Could they still come in this with any shot
and any credibility?

MCKINNON: Absolutely, they could. It`s a different environment
today, and people can get in late given the avalanche of media. Look what
happened with Rick Perry. I mean, he became a sensation overnight. He got
in late.

Sure, absolutely could. So the Republicans are looking at the on-deck
circle now for Palin or Christie or somebody to come up. You know Christie
could clear the bases. And it would be great if he got in. He would be

SHARPTON: Well, Gentlemen, I`m going to have to let it go here.

And by the way, to any of you award winners tonight, if you want to
pick up your trophy, get in touch with me. I`ll make sure that we make
those arrangements.

Bob Shrum, Mark McKinnon, thanks for joining me tonight. Have a great

SHRUM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, this one is worth no award. None. A gay
soldier booed at the debate, but nobody on stage said a word.

Plus, you will not believe what Governor Mitch Daniels said about the
president today. It was over the line and it needs to be addressed.

But first, I`ll talk to the most searched person on Google today,
former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson. Can he turn a one-liner into a

That`s next.


SHARPTON: Most folks who watched last night`s Republican debate agree
that the best line belonged to the new face on the stage, Gary Johnson.


GARY JOHNSON (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My next-door neighbor`s two
dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration.



SHARPTON: It`s a good line even if it isn`t really true. The
original stimulus created 2.9 million jobs, and the American Jobs Act would
create another 1.9 million jobs.

But the line has gotten Gary a lot of buzz -- a lot of great buzz, in
fact. He`s even the number one trending topic on Google.

Joining me now, the trending man himself, former New Mexico governor
and current Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson.

He just got a glowing profile in "GQ" magazine asking, "Is this the
sanest man running for president?"

Governor, thank you for your time tonight.

JOHNSON: Reverend, it`s great to be on with you. And, you know, the
jobs plan is to throw out the entire federal tax system and replace it with
the fair tax, which is a federal -- which would be federal consumption tax
by all free market economists` reckoning. It is what the name implies.

It would be fair. It would eliminate all federal tax, income tax,
IRS, corporate tax, business tax. In a business environment with no
corporate tax, that`s where, in my opinion, you see the business community
creating tens of millions of jobs in this country, because why would you
grow, nurture, develop a business anywhere in the world other than this
country given that environment?

SHARPTON: Well, let me start with your line last night. First of
all, where did the line come from?

JOHNSON: You know, I was in -- everybody that I knew yesterday before
the debate e-mailed me with suggestions on what I should do. Maybe you`ve
had that same phenomenon, but a radio personality in New Mexico sent me
suggestions of some zingers that he had invited listeners to call in and
talk about over the last couple days. "Help Gary out." So it was really a
New Mexico organic effort coming up with that.

SHARPTON: Oh, very interesting, because Rush Limbaugh, I understand,
said he said something similar. I didn`t know if maybe you all had the
same next-door neighbor.

But the other thing is, if I had your e-mail, I would have sent you
how the stimulus really brought 2.9 million jobs. So unless your next-door
neighbor`s dog is doing a whole lot of digging, I don`t think factually,
you can say that. The stimulus provided --

JOHNSON: You know, Reverend, one of the things --

SHARPTON: Just a second. Hold it. Let me finish the question and
you can respond.

It was 2.9 million jobs. That`s a fact. We can have different
opinions, we can`t have different facts. We cannot say jobs were not

JOHNSON: You know, one of the unique perspectives I think I bring to
this job is, is that I started a one-man handyman business in Albuquerque
in 1974, and grew it to employ over 1,000 people. I became the largest
construction employer in the state of New Mexico.

As governor of New Mexico, I never claimed to create one single job in
the state. I don`t think government creates jobs, I think it`s the private

So, let`s just say that 2.9 million jobs were created by the current
administration. What is real job growth?

Now I come back to implementing the fair tax, throwing out the entire
federal tax system, abolishing the IRS, and coming up with a way that`s
really fair. The more money you earn, the more money you`ll pay with the
fair tax, the more it will promote savings, and it will really set the
groundwork for the private sector being able to hire tens of millions --
creates tens of millions of jobs that perhaps otherwise aren`t being
created here.

SHARPTON: You know, that`s cute, Governor. I asked you about the
jobs, I go to your next-door neighbor`s dog and talk about the jobs he
created, and the dog and you start telling me about fair tax and what
you`re going to do. But anyway, let`s go to another point, that I think
you are unique in the party.

How do you feel about the intolerance, the mean-spiritedness that`s
coming out in your party? You seem, as the "GQ" article says, to be much
more of a person that wants to deal with ideas, whether I agree with them
or not, and with a different continued of tone. But look at this statement
in July. I want to put this statement up and have you respond to this

This is what you said on "Family Leader Pledge." "The Republican
Party cannot afford to have a presidential candidate who condones
intolerance, bigotry, and the denial of liberty to citizens of this
country. If we nominate such a candidate, we would never capture the White
House in 2012."

I mean, I think that`s a very mature, adult statement. Are you
disappointed with the tone of some of your opponents?

JOHNSON: Well, the booing that occurred last night at the event is
not the Republican Party that I belong to. It happened. It`s a group of
individuals that booed.

I was champing at the bit to be able to respond to that. And, you
know, in retrospect, I regret maybe not putting my fist down and pounding
it, but I`ve been excluded from these debates and I`m feeling a bit like
I`m walking on eggshells.

I shouldn`t have done that. If I have one regret from last evening,
it`s that I didn`t stand up and say, you know, you`re booing a U.S.
serviceman who is denied being able to express his sexual preference?

That`s not right. That`s not right, and there`s something very, very
wrong with that.

And when it came to "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell," I think we should have
repealed that a long time ago. And we can look from supporting that
notion, really, A through Z.

SHARPTON: Well, I respect you for saying that, Governor. Let me push
you a little.

Would you have also had the same position if you were on the stage
tonight and they booed when they talked about a person dying if they were -
- didn`t have their health insurance, and people cheered, and one -- a
couple people yelled out, "Let him die!" Or when they applauded when the
question of 234 people killed under Governor Perry in the state of Texas,
whether you agree with the death penalty or not, I mean, cheering for
people dying, would you also say those two incidents -- each debate now has
had these kinds of incidents. Don`t you think this is ugly to the American

JOHNSON: I do. I`m a different voice in that debate.

I changed my opinion on the death penalty as governor of New Mexico.
It was very high-profile. Naively, Reverend, I really didn`t think that
the U.S. government put innocent people to death. But as governor, I came
to recognize that I don`t think there`s any question that we put innocent
people to death, and I`m not in the camp that wants to punish or put to
death one innocent person who -- to put to death 99 that are.

As public policy, it`s flawed public policy. It costs more money to
put a person on death row than it does to put them to death.

And when you find out that an attorney gets someone off death row
because they`re absolutely innocent, the fees paid to that attorney really
are priceless. And that`s what actually happens in this country.

And talking about health care and "Let him die!" no, that`s not this
country. We`re a country of compassion.

These are the people that we want to help. I`m in the camp that
really believes that government perhaps is the only entity that`s available
for those that are truly in need.

Now, the notion of truly in need, I think we have gone way overboard
when it comes to that. And I am advocating a balanced budget.

Reverend, I think that if we don`t balance the federal budget, we`re
going to experience a monetary collapse, and we`re going to all be left
with nothing. And if you want an example of a monetary collapse, it`s

So I`m promising to submit a balanced budget to Congress in the year
2013. I`m promising to veto legislation or expenditure that exceeds
revenue. And I`m promising to advocate on the part of throwing out the
entire federal tax system and replacing it with the fair tax. And for more
details for those watching, get online,, to check it all out.


JOHNSON: Yes. It`s been around for a while.

SHARPTON: Well, Governor, I thank you for being with us tonight. You
said some things that are very different than your opponents. Thank you
for coming on the show tonight. I hope you`ll come back again and we`ll

When I hear you talk, it makes me wonder, maybe there is some hope for
some real bipartisan discussion if there`s at least a sane discussion and
adults in the room. Thank you again for being with us.

JOHNSON: Thank you very much for me being on.

SHARPTON: Coming up, we were just talking about the worst debate
moment I have seen in a while.


STEPHEN HILL, SERVING IN IRAQ: Do you intend to circumvent that the
progress that has been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?


SHARPTON: Booing a gay soldier, the silence from the stage because
deafening. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Welcome back. We`re live tonight from Washington, D.C. As
we mentioned, last night`s republican debate gave us another glimpse at an
ugly side of the GOP. Stephen Hill, a gay soldier, serving in Iraq was
introduced with this taped YouTube question.


HILL: In 2010 when I was deployed in Iraq, I had to lie about who I
was because I`m a gay soldier. I didn`t want to lose my job. My question
is, under one of your presidencies, do you intend to circumvent the
progress that has been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military?


SHARPTON: But not one candidate on that stage spoke up. Not one
candidate told those people not to boo a soldier. But the crowd cheered
after Rick Santorum said he wanted to reinstate "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell."
So, these are the things cheered at debates. Reinstate "Don`t Ask, Don`t
Tell," capital punishment, and letting an uninsured 30-year-old with cancer
die. It might not be the entire party, but these people are no longer the
fringe. They are driving the Republican Party.

Joining me now, Jonathan Capehart, editorial writer for The Washington
Post, an MSNBC contributor. Jonathan wrote a powerful piece about the
booing today. And Alex Wagner, MSNBC analyst and reporter for the
Huffington Post. Thank you both for joining me. Jonathan, that was a low
moment in the debate.

We`ve had three debates already. And at each one, when you think it
couldn`t get any lower, it does. And for the Republican Party, which has
used patriotism as a cudgel against its opponents. For someone in the
Republican Party to boo a member of the military, who is in Iraq -- let`s
not forget, he didn`t just do this YouTube video from his living room. He
is overseas in Iraq fighting in a war that this country is waging.

SHARPTON: Right. He`s in danger`s way.

CAPEHART: Yes. He is in the line of fire. And you had him booed?
And then you didn`t have any of the nine people on stage condemn the
booing, not from the stage and certainly not after. Now, to be fair, Rick
Santorum on FOX today.

SHARPTON: Yes, today. Well, let me put this up that Rick Santorum
today did say this on FOX.


people who booed that gay soldier. The soldier is serving our country. I
thank him for his service in our country. I have to admit, I seriously did
not hear those boos, had I heard them, I certainly would have comment on
it. But as you know, when you`re in that sort of environment, you`re sort
of focused on the question, and formulating your answer and I just didn`t
hear those couple of boos that were out there. But I certainly had I, I
would have said, don`t do that, this man is serving our country and we are
to thank him for his service.


SHARPTON: Alex Wagner, I mean, we can debate whether he heard them or
not. I mean, I was in presidential debates in `04. I heard everything in
the audience, but notwithstanding that, the fact that none of them
responded, all of them can`t say they didn`t hear it. And they certainly
heard it when we heard, in the last debate the whole booing and reaction
about an uninsured 30-year-old dying.


SHARPTON: And we heard it in the first debate when they cheered --
when Brian Williams was just raising the question about 234 people executed
under Governor Rick Perry. Perry hadn`t even got to the answer, just the
question, they started cheering.

WAGNER: Right.

SHARPTON: I mean, has this party gone so far to the right that they -
- I mean, off the cliff to the right, that they are not concerned about the
moral tone you`re saying to what the voters support you or not? There`s a
level of civility that people should have at this level of political

WAGNER: I do think that it`s pretty shocking that the reactions that
we have seen from the crowd in the last few debates. You know, it`s almost
like the Roman Colosseum. You sort to expect the lions to be tried it out
there, so much polyglass (ph) in the audience. You know, Rev., I think
that there are certain parts of the GOP establishment that find this kind
of behavior very disturbing. But at the end of the day, it`s really up to
the guy on stage to curtail it, to address it, to speak to it. And they
didn`t as you`ve said. I would also point out what Rick Santorum said
about the repeal of, "Don`t Ask, Don`t Tell," basically calling it social
experimentation, is just a wild distortion of the truth. This is a policy
that had months and months of studies surrounding its repeal. Seven
hundred thousand active service members were asked about it. Seventy
percent of the respondents said, hey, the repeal of "Don`t Ask, Don`t
Tell," is not going to endanger the United States military. You had, you
know, the Joint Chiefs of Staff signing on to this, secretary of defense,
former and current are advocates of it. You know, I think that there`s an
irresponsibility with the facts with a lot of this stuff that is quite
shameful in a lot of respect.

Well, let me give you something else, Jonathan Capehart and Alex.
Mitch Daniels, a respected member of the party establishment, governor, all
of that, let me show you something that he said today that to me was very


GOV. MITCH DANIELS (R), INDIANA: His life has been so far removed
from the world in which jobs and wealth and prosperity are made, that he
doesn`t understand and probably cannot understand how damaging his policies
are. He just inhabits a different planet, I think, in that respect.


SHARPTON: He being President Obama, life is so foreign, so different
to a life of wealth and jobs. I mean, this other person, you`re different
-- what does that mean? What do you mean his life is so different?

CAPEHART: Well, if I heard that clip correctly, he was talking about
the president`s policies, the president`s economic policies.

SHARPTON: Yes. But he referred to his life, his life, he`s coming up
-- I mean, are we back to where you`re if a woman, if you`re African-
American, Latino, if you`re different than the -- are we back to white male
landowners, are the models of what Americans are? What do you mean his
life is so different?

CAPEHART: If that`s what he said, then I`m with you. I heard
something different.

SHARPTON: Wait a minute, let`s be fair. Let me play it again.

CAPEHART: Great. Terrific. Let`s play the tape again. Because I
wasn`t there when -- I wouldn`t want Alex to go back to the Huffington Post
and say that I got it wrong. Can we play this again? Let`s go back to the


DANIELS: His life has been so far removed from the world in which
jobs and wealth and prosperity are made, that he does not understand and
probably cannot understand how damaging his policies are. He just inhabits
a different planet, I think, in that respect.



SHARPTON: life has been so far removed. He inhabits a different


SHARPTON: That`s not policy. His life.


It`s not his policies.

CAPEHART: No, no. I got you, Rev.

SHARPTON: No, I got him.

CAPEHART: You got him and I got you. And, you know, it is actually
rather surprising, because Mitch Daniels is supposed to be someone who is
the establishment, the grownup within the Republican Party, and he is
espousing this line of argument that continues this notion that President
Obama is from -- he`s the other.

WAGNER: Yes, exactly.

SHARPTON: He`s not one of us. And who is us? I mean, that`s what
I`m saying, Alex? Who is us? This kind of language. This kind of trying
to imply some otherness is so polarizing.

WAGNER: Yes. He`s trying exactly. It was impugning, you know, his
experience -- he`s saying, it`s in furtherance of, you know, there are
uncomfortable strains of the birther thing, I think the idea that Obama is
from so outside the American mainstream. He can`t possibly understand the
real concerns of Americans. You know, I will say in his defense, he did
rebuff talk of Obama being a socialist in the same breakfast. And I think
that that`s important, as we talk about people on the national stage who
are not, you know, who are not part of the problem of inflammatory
rhetoric, but at least trying to combat it on some terms. And Mitch
Daniels I think to some degree was trying to do that.

SHARPTON: Quickly Jonathan.

CAPEHART: This is very different from what Speaker Boehner said last
week when he said that sometimes he thinks he and the president, when they
talked to each other, that the two of them are talking to each other from
different planets.

SHARPTON: Well, he did say a different planet. I mean, I give Alex
said, he said he wasn`t a socialist, he just said, he was from another
planet. That`s all.

CAPEHART: They both are.

SHARPTON: Jonathan Capehart and Alex Wagner, have a good weekend.
Thank both of you for being with us.

WAGNER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up. A record year for damage from natural
disasters, but republican leaders have no problem playing politics with
relief money. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today, President Obama announced a dramatic change in
education policy that could affect tens of millions of school kids across
the country. He`s giving states a new flexibility to meet school
performance requirements, fixing a key flaw in no child left behind that
had been criticized by both parents and educators. A poll this year showed
that 74 percent of Americans familiar with the law wanted it fixed or
totally eliminated, yet lawmakers have done nothing.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Congress hasn`t been able to
do it. So I will. Our kids only get one shot at a decent education. They
cannot afford to wait any longer. So, given that Congress cannot act, I am


SHARPTON: We saw a very different approach in last night`s GOP
debate, when candidates went after teachers and said they would abolish the
Department of Education. We do not need to play the blame game. We need
to bring everyone together and make education work. The future of our
nation rests in how we develop and educate our young people. I think we
need to concentrate and move forward, as the president showed today.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m Warren Buffet`s secretary and I pay a higher
tax rate than my billionaire boss.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m Warren Buffet`s secretary.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I`m Warren Buffet`s secretary.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I have three kids, makes $40,000 a year. And I
contribute a great percentage of my income in many billionaires and

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Most Americans want Congress to raise taxes on the
wealthy but the GOP refuses to do it. Why?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Call Congress and tell them. Raise taxes on
millionaires and billionaires, so all Americans pay their fair share.


SHARPTON: Republicans are once again using disaster relief as a
bargaining chip to push their radical agenda. Today, Senate Democrats shot
down a GOP spending bill because it would have cut more than a billion
dollars from job creation programs. But if Congress fails to pass a bill,
FEMA could run out of money by Tuesday. This year is on track to set a
record for damage caused by natural disaster. FEMA says, claims are still
rolling in. Democrats say, this is not a time for Republicans to play
politics with people`s lives. But today House Speaker John Boehner refused
to budge, saying that if Democrats don`t go along with his cuts, they`ll be
to blame.


JOHN BOEHNER, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: And any delay that occurs because
of inaction in the Senate will only imperil needed disaster relief.


SHARPTON: I wonder if John Boehner remembers what John Boehner said
just last week, you know, about the need to compromise?


BOEHNER: We want to create a better environment for job creation.
Politicians of all stripes can leave the, you know, my way or the highway
philosophy behind.


SHARPTON: Joining me now, Congressman Joe Crowley, democrat from New
York, he`s a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Congressman,
can you believe Republicans are playing games with disaster relief?

REP. JOE CROWLEY (D), NEW YORK: I`m shocked. Reverend, I can`t
believe it. It`s mind-boggling. It`s unfortunately par for the course.
We`ve seen the Republican Party once again use a deadline, in this case the
continued resolution to keep government running, and in this case really in
such an obnoxious way, use the issue of disaster relief, and require a pay-
for for disaster relief. Let me remind your viewers, when we went into war
in Iraq and Afghanistan, no one asked how much it would cost. When
Halliburton was building roads, and bridges and schools in Afghanistan and
Iraq, no one asked what the cost was, but we get hit by tornadoes, by
hurricanes, wildfires, and all of a sudden, my republican colleagues say,
well, how are we going to pay for this?

You know, these are natural disasters. We`ve traditionally not paid
for them immediately. Because we just, we don`t ask questions. We just
fix. We build it back. We build America back, and it really is
unfortunate to use this as the linchpin here in terms of the last minute
and hold up the continuing resolution on this. And in fact, Reverend Al,
it actually is a job cutter. They want to take money out of the green
energy fund that we`ve created that is actually creating jobs in this
country, and they want to shift that to pay for the disaster relief. It
just is unconscionable.

SHARPTON: Well, and then when you talk about job creation, and when
you talk about taking care of the middle class and the poor, they call it
class warfare. Paul Krugman wrote a piece today in "The New York Times"
that I think is worth noting, where he says, and I`m quoting Krugman, and
he says, it amounts to a demand that a small number of very lucky people be
exempted from the social contract that applies to everyone else, and that
is what real class warfare looks like. And he was really addressing the
statement that had been made by Elizabeth Warren that no one got rich by
themselves in this country, yet they act as though everyone in the middle
class, everyone in the lower class ought to lift themselves by their
bootstraps when we`ve been left with no boots.

CROWLEY: That`s right. The fact is, Reverend Al, that no country in
the world allows wealth creation like the United States. Not Great
Britain, not a friend in France, in Germany. And in fact, the only the
country that have similar types of wealth creations of dictatorships, and
you have to pick the right side. This is a wonderful country, and I think
what people looking for, the American people want us to see Washington
working together in a bipartisan way. And I don`t use the words shared
sacrifice. I use the words shared responsibility. We all have a
responsibility to contribute, to keep this country up, in its
infrastructure, in its laws, structures overall. And that includes paying
our fair share, and I think that`s where the president so rightfully has
done now is clearly laid the demarcation down. They are for cuts to
welfare, Social Security, and to Medicare, and not for a shared sacrifice,
or in this case not for a shared responsible action, asking the wealthiest
country to pay their fair share.

SHARPTON: Congressman Crowley, thank you for joining us tonight.
Have a great weekend.

CROWLEY: You too, Rev.

SHARPTON: And I want to wish that to everyone. And I hope that you
and your family are safe. Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton.
Please have a great weekend. One programming note, starting this Sunday,
NBC News will start a special Education Nation series, it begins with the
Teacher`s Town Hall live on Rockefeller Plaza in New York moderated by
Brian Williams. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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