PoliticsNation, Friday, October 7, 2011

Guests: Ed Rendell, E.J. Dionne, Joan Walsh, Dana Milbank, Erin McPike,
William Barber

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans. America needs jobs.
What`s on your agenda?


going at it and hammering away.

SHARPTON (voice-over): The White House says new unemployment numbers
show we need the jobs bill now. What`s the response from Speaker Boehner?

powers that be here in Washington is more of the same.

SHARPTON: You`ve got that right, Mr. Speaker.

Ed Rendell and E.J. Dionne on Republicans plans to slow-walk the

Meet Willard Mitt Romney`s foreign policy team. It looks a lot like
team Bush.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I will devote myself to an
American century.

SHARPTON: I don`t think so, Romney/Bush.

And in North Carolina, how the Koch brother billionaires are helping
Republicans re-segregate public schools. Parents are fighting back. And
tonight, we will too.

POLITICS NATION starts right now.


SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, help wanted now more than ever.

New job numbers today are driving the point home hard. Employers
added 103,000 jobs last month. It`s a positive step, but the unemployment
rate is still at 9.1 percent, and 14 million Americans are still looking
for work.

To them, each day that Congress doesn`t pass the president`s jobs plan
is a day wasted. But Republicans are stuck in reverse.

Remember what President Obama said at his news conference?


OBAMA: Here`s a little homework assignment for folks. Go ask the
Republicans what their jobs plan is, and have it assessed by the same
independent economists that have assessed our jobs plan.


SHARPTON: Well, today, the homework was due, John Boehner. Listen

An economist that advises the Federal Reserve said Republican
proposals would have "little immediate affect." And Mark Zandi, John
McCain`s former economic adviser, said Republican proposals "won`t mean
much for the economy and job market in the next year."

Mr. Boehner, your jobs ideas are getting a failing grade.

But Boehner`s answer is that government should do even less.


BOEHNER: Americans continue to be left asking the question, where are
the jobs? It`s high time we trust the American people to liberate our
economy from the shackles of this government.


SHARPTON: Now, joining me now is Ed Rendell, former DNC chairman and
current NBC News political analyst, and E.J. Dionne, columnist for "The
Washington Post" and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. His
latest article argues that American politics reached a pivot point this

Thank you both for joining me tonight.

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

SHARPTON: Now, let me say, E.J. and Governor, before I go to you, I
want to show you something, E.J. At lot of people say to me why do I keep
talking about President Obama, am I just being partisan? We can have
different opinions, but we can`t have different facts.

Here`s a graph from "The Washington Monthly." This is where we were
when the Bush plan went into effect in terms of unemployment.

As we went on, we went all the way down to here with George Bush.
When Mr. Obama came in, we went to here, then here, then here, and then
unemployment started going up, up, up here, decreasing. And then we
actually started seeing numbers go up, then down as the stimulus money ran
out, up, then down, up, then down.

When you look at this graph where we went from here, all the way down
here to unemployment, and the peak of unemployment down here under Bush,
and then how this president has gradually brought it back, incremental,
slow, but clearly a dramatic reverse, then how can anyone argue with me
that the facts say that the Bush policies put us in this and that the Obama
policies have slowly began turning this around?

Governor Rendell?

ED RENDELL, NBC NEWS ANALYST: Well, Al, I think that is absolutely
right. And one other thing. The Obama policies helped stop make it worse.

There`s no question, without the first stimulus, which is much
maligned, but without the first stimulus, the conservative OMB, Office of
Management and Budget, has said -- and the conservative CBO -- that we
would have had a point to two points worse unemployment without the first
stimulus. So, give the president credit for making sure that things didn`t
slip over the abyss, number one.

And number two, we`ve made progress. And the sad part about it is
everyone knows for every billion dollars spent on infrastructure, we create
25,000 jobs. The president in this new stimulus wants to spend $75 billion
right away, in the next 18 months. That would create close to 1.6 million
new jobs by itself.

SHARPTON: Now, E.J., you said this week was a pivot week, this
changed the whole conversation going on.

What do you mean by that?

DIONNE: Well, I think when you look at where we were for most of the
year, we were talking about the Tea Party, we were talking about deficit
cutting, we were talking about a conservative insurgency and resurgence. I
think what you have seen in the last few weeks are a number of things.

One, the anti-Wall Street demonstrators have replaced the Tea Party as
the object of our attentions, and they`re saying the concentrated power we
need to worry about most is not in Washington, it`s on Wall Street. You
have seen the president finally start talking almost inclusively about
jobs. We`re off of the deficit conversation, and he`s got some real
passion for this jobs bill. I don`t think you saw him talking with this
kind of passion earlier this year.

And then you`ve got the Republican race settling down. And it looks
like Mitt Romney is going to be the guy at the center of the conversation.

His advantage is that a lot of moderates don`t think he really
believes the conservative things he says. His disadvantage is a lot of
conservatives don`t believe the conservative things he says. So I think
the conservative candidates are going to put a lot of scrutiny on Romney.

All those things together, to me, say we are in a different political
place now than we were a couple of months ago, and I think it`s a better
place for progressives.

SHARPTON: Now, I think that that is true.

And Governor Rendell, when you look at where the American people are,
if you look at the polling of the American people, yes, Occupy Wall Street
is part of the conversation. Yes, we see the buildup for the National Jobs
March next Saturday. Yes, we see the president`s strong statement. But
the American people themselves are saying in poll numbers, tax cuts for
small businesses they support 85 percent; additional funds for civil
servants, 75 percent; funds for infrastructure, 72 percent; unemployment
benefit extension, 56 percent.

So, when you look at these poll numbers, it is clear that this is not
just those of us that are marching next Saturday or those that are on Wall
Street or in (ph) occupation. The American public want to see this whole
new kind of economic policy that is being expressed in large part by the

RENDELL: And, Al, I would even go further. The American public
supports the way the president wants to finance this.

I think it`s 72 percent of Americans favor taxing millionaires. And,
in fact, 66 percent of Republicans favor that.

You know, I would love Harry Reid to put that bill to a vote in the
Senate. I want to see Republican senators raise their hands and vote no on
taxing people who make a million dollars, taxing them a tiny bit more, to
the Clinton tax rates, where we had economic boom. I would love to see
them vote no on that.

SHARPTON: Now, E.J., despite the fact that I just showed you those
poll numbers, it`s still a tough election season. And the president`s own
allies, including his running mate, says he`s the underdog. Look at what
Vice President Biden said in a conversation yesterday with Brian Williams,
because I think that -- with David Gregory, I`m sorry, of "Meet the Press"
-- at a forum, though.

And this is what the vice president had to say that clearly show,
despite the fact the ideas are way ahead, it`s going to be a tough


people are dissatisfied for the state of the nation at the moment. That
all by itself is enough to make you the underdog.

DAVID GREGORY, MODERATOR, "MEET THE PRESS": Is it strong enough of a
Republican Party for its nominee to beat this president?

BIDEN: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. It`s strong enough to beat both
of us.


SHARPTON: Now, John Boehner responds by saying, well, our priority is
jobs, our priority is helping Americans get jobs.

Let me show you John Boehner.


BOEHNER: Helping Americans get back to work is our number one
priority, and it starts with a pledge to Americans, and it will start with



BOEHNER: Republicans have been focused on job creation since the
beginning of this Congress.


SHARPTON: Really? But if they`ve been focused on it, they never got
to it. Their priorities have been investigating Planned Parenthood,
crippling EPA pollution rules, about cement plants, expanding funds to
defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

I don`t see a jobs plan today brought before Congress, so if this has
been their priority, they have a strange way of getting around to it, E.J.

DIONNE: You know, I think it`s true. I mean, there is a
philosophical disagreement here, where the president is saying, look, the
way you get the economy moving when no one else is investing money is to
have the government step in. And you look at the stimulus numbers, my own
view is the stimulus should have been bigger than it was --

RENDELL: Absolutely.

DIONNE: -- but at the size it was, it did begin to reverse the

But on the underdog question, I think it`s good that the president
thinks that he is an underdog for two reasons. One, I think he actually
is, because he`s got to move his approval numbers to better places than
they are now.

Two, he really needs young people to turn out, and there`s some
dispiritedness among young people who are suffering from unemployment.

But also, I think Barack Obama has always been a more effective
politician when he was running from an underdog position, so I think he
kind of likes saying that, because I think it puts him in the right frame
of mind to fight the election.

SHARPTON: I heard an "Amen" from you, Governor Rendell, when he said
he wished there had been more money in the stimulus plan.

RENDELL: Absolutely. And remember, stimulus, despite what the
Republicans say, had $350 billion of tax cuts. Forty percent of stimulus
wasn`t spending, it was tax cuts.

We should have spent the money, we should have spent it on
infrastructure, spent it on things that created well-paying jobs. The
president`s learned by that mistake.

In this stimulus, the things that he`s talking about are clearly
stimulative, will clearly help the economy. And John Boehner ought to be
ashamed of himself. At least Mitch McConnell tells the truth.

Their number one priority is to defeat the president. McConnell said
it, and that`s the way they`ve acted.

And John Boehner, you haven`t offered anything that would create jobs
other than the same old Republican formula -- cut taxes, eliminate
regulations that didn`t work during the Bush presidency. It hasn`t worked
at any time in the last 50 years, it won`t work now.

SHARPTON: Well, maybe Speaker Boehner should have just done what the
president suggested. He should have just done his homework. Maybe I`ll
send him mine, the graph. I dug it up myself.

RENDELL: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Ed Rendell, E.J. Dionne, thank both of you for your time,
and have a great weekend.

RENDELL: You too, Al.

DIONNE: You too, Reverend.

SHARPTON: And join me in Washington on Saturday, October 15th, in for
our March for Jobs and Justice. You need to be there.

Ahead, if you like W`s foreign policy, you would love Willard Mitt
Romney`s foreign policy team.

Plus, one of Rick Perry`s biggest supporters says Mormonism is a cult.
The attack that`s tearing the Republican Party apart today.

And Scott Walker`s balancing the budget on the back of the middle
class. But wait until you see what I caught him splurging on.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Welcome back.

We know the Bush presidency was a colossal failure, but apparently
somebody needs to tell that to Willard Mitt Romney.

Today, Romney delivered a speech at the Citadel outlining his foreign
policy views on the same stage, in the same hall where George W. Bush
delivered his foreign policy speech a year before the 2000 presidential
race. Coincidence? I don`t think so. Because Romney`s new foreign policy
team is loaded with Bush cronies.

It`s back to the future with Willard Romney Bush.

People like Cofer Black, who oversaw so-called enhanced interrogation
-- in other words, torture -- for the CIA. He later became vice chairman
of Blackwater USA, the private security firm accused of killing Iraqi
civilians while taking millions of dollars from the U.S. government.

Great move, Willard.

Also, Michael Hayden. As director of the CIA and NSA, he designed
Bush`s illegal domestic spying program, conducting surveillance of U.S.
citizens without a warrant.

Way to go, Willard.

And another pick, Robert Kagan. He founded the critical group that
rallied neoconservatives to support the invasion of Iraq, another great

These are the people now advising Romney. So if you think launching
two wars and illegally spying on Americans is a great idea, then Willard is
your candidate.

Joining me now, Joan Walsh, editor-at-large for Salon.com.

Joan, thanks for being here tonight.


SHARPTON: Tonight, are Willard Romney and other Republicans
completely tone deaf to the realities of what we`ve been going through in
the last 10 years? I mean, can we say tonight they`re just tone deaf?

WALSH: I would say so. You know, I mean, it`s like he`s putting the
old band back together, Reverend Al. He`s having a good time bringing them
all back without any regard for the foreign policy disaster they got us

You know, I think all this team needs right now is a running mate, Liz
Cheney. I think she would be an excellent pick for Mr. Romney. And then
they would really have the full Bush/Cheney effect. It`s ridiculous.

SHARPTON: I`m laughing to keep from crying, but let me show you this,

WALSH: It could happen.

SHARPTON: If you look at what Mr. Romney said today about President
Obama on foreign policy --


ROMNEY: I will never, ever apologize for America. I will not
surrender America`s role in the world.

This is very simple. If you do not want America to be the strongest
nation on Earth, I`m not your president. You have that president today.


SHARPTON: He doesn`t want America to be the strongest president on
Earth, and he`s an apologist for America. That`s what he said about
President Obama.

But interestingly enough, let me show you what Speaker Boehner, who is
Willard`s party chair in the Congress, let me show you what Speaker Boehner
said about President Obama.


BOEHNER: I`ve been very supportive of the president`s decisions in
Iraq and Afghanistan. When you look at the prosecution of the war effort
against the enemy in the tribal areas, there`s clearly more that has been
done under President Obama than under President Bush.


SHARPTON: More been done under President Obama than President Bush.
This is what Boehner says, Joan. Maybe Willard needs to talk to some
people other than the Bush cronies in his own party.

WALSH: John Boehner is telling the truth for once. I mean, our
president got Bin Laden, something that they couldn`t do in seven years.
He`s waged a very, very strong -- some would even say militaristic -- some
of his supporters are a little bit disappointed, but if there`s one area
where he`s been very successful, frankly, it`s been in the military area.

And so this is just -- it`s really wrong for someone to say that this
president doesn`t want us to be the strongest country in the world. He`s
also -- I mean, he told a flat-out lie. He said he would reverse the
defense cuts.

There haven`t been defense cuts. Defense spending has grown under
President Obama.

So he`s just starting with fiction and bringing back the Bush team,
bringing back the greatest hits. And I think it`s got to scare even

SHARPTON: Well, if you think he`s writing fiction, let me tell you,
he`s not by himself. Let me show you what a lot of Republicans are saying
about the president. And mind you, what you said, which even some
progressives disagree with, some of the foreign victories he`s had, but the
facts are what they are.

But let me show you what some of the Republicans have been saying.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The United States air power could have
shortened this conflict dramatically, and unfortunately, we chose not to.
We led from behind.



SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: I applaud President Obama for ordering
the raid that finally brought Osama bin Laden to his just fate. I only
wish that he had shown more commitment to the cause of freedom.



not know where America will be on any given day because of the muddled,
aimless, wavering foreign policy that we have coming out of the White


SHARPTON: So, I mean, clearly, they`re going to try to do this
drumbeat and redo the facts.

But Joan, what scares me when you brought this up about the Bush
cronies is their almost obsession with a real pro-military kind of culture
and a move no matter what toward warfare. And -- in my opinion.


SHARPTON: And when I think about Iran and I think about the prospects
of this crowd getting the White House, seeing what they did in Iraq when
there was no weapons of mass destruction, when we have the whole situation
with Iran, I`m afraid -- really afraid if this crowd gets back in charge of
the military.

Listen to what Romney said about Iran himself, who has gathered this
team, because I think once we get this -- I want them to give me the tape
on that, because once we get this -- put it up and let me show Joan what
I`m talking about. Because once you understand what Romney is thinking,
and then see the Bush Iraq team, the Bush interrogation team around him,
and think of Iran, it`s not funny anymore.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: Let me show you what he said.


ROMNEY: It will enhance our deterrent against the Iranian regime be
ordering the regular presence of aircraft carrier task forces. And I will
again reiterate that Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is unacceptable.


SHARPTON: What do you read from that when he`s already saying the
threat of Iran and nuclear weapons, when you know the team around him that
saw weapons of mass destruction that wasn`t there? It`s a little scary,

WALSH: Well, yes, more than that, Reverend Al, because he`s got
people on his team now who have actively called for military intervention.
There are several people -- Michael Hayden among them -- who have said we
can`t rule it out, I don`t like to see it taken off the table.

Eliot Cohen (ph) has said that, who was a big Iraq hawk. Some of the
Iraq hawks moved on to Iran, and really believe that we should be -- either
we or Israel need to hit Iran, take that out, and start another war.

So it`s not theoretical. It really is that there are people around
him who think that that is a positive option for the United States, and
then we would have three wars.

SHARPTON: Wow. Joan Walsh, thank you for your time tonight. Enjoy
your weekend.

WALSH: Thank you. You too.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Scott Walker`s state of Wisconsin is so broke, a
lesson involved buying expensive toys.

I`ve got you, Scott.

And billionaire conservatives working to re-segregate our schools.
It`s scary and it`s real.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker doesn`t think the state has
enough money to pay teachers, but he`s more than willing to fork out cash
for some high-tech toys.

Earlier this year, Walker said the state`s financial problems were so
bad, he needed to cut public workers` collective bargaining rights to save
money. That prompted weeks of protests in Wisconsin, but Walker wouldn`t
back down.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We`re broke. Like nearly every state
across the country, we don`t have any more money. We`ve been broke for


SHARPTON: You`re broke, Governor Walker? So why did you spend
$60,000 on new iPads for employees at the Wisconsin Economic Development

Republicans always say government is like a family that needs to cut
back when times are tough, but when times are tough for Governor Walker, he
runs to the Apple store.

Nice try, but we got you.

Still ahead, a key Perry supporter accuses Mitt Romney of belonging to
a cult. How will it affect the race?

Also, conservatives have called President Obama lot of names, but last
night they said something that may be the worst yet. You bet I have some
thoughts on that.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Today is day 21 of the Occupy Wall Street protest. The
movement is spreading across the country and getting international
attention. And Democrats are speaking out.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The core is the bargain has been breached with the
American people. The core is the American people do not think the system
is fair or on the level.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And God bless them for their spontaneity. It`s
an independent, people coming, it`s young, it`s spontaneous, it`s focused,
and it`s going to be effective.


SHARPTON: The protests are a legitimate movement, but to Republicans,
it`s just mob rule. First Willard Mitt Romney called the protesters
dangerous. And now there`s a new attack trend.


SEN. RAND PAUL (R), KENTUCKY: As far as this Occupy Wall Street
movement goes, you know, I see it sort of like a Paris mob.

REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), VIRGINIA: I for one am increasingly concerned
about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street, and the other cities across
the country.


SHARPTON: They`re concerned about growing mobs. Funny, there was no
words Cantor and the Republicans two years ago, when the Tea Party is
carrying guns and threatening violence on signs, just listen to how they
talked about them last year.


CANTOR: Tea Party is an organic movement, this is not some movement
that started in Washington. It`s about the people. They represent and
reflect the frustration that Americans have at what`s going on in


SHARPTON: So, what makes the Tea Party organic and Occupy Wall Street
just a mob? Here`s a hint. Wall Street Republicans always stick up for
their corporate buddies, so anyone attacking corporations must be bad. As
I said last night, corporations aren`t people, they`re Republicans.

Joining me now is Dana Milbank, national political reporter for "The
Washington Post." And Erin McPike, the national political reporter for
Real Clear choices. Thanks for joining me.

Dana, how can President Obama use this 99 percent movement against

DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, he`s got to be a little
bit careful because the movement, the leaders of this new movement are very
rightfully wary of getting too entangled with President Obama. They feel
that look, they got behind him in 2008 and he really ditched progressives,
you know, as he tried to govern the country. They don`t want to allow him
become the face of the movement again. He does wants to channel that
energy almost in a mirror image of the way the Republicans have used the
Tea Party. You know, what`s surprising Reverend Al is that it took so long
for there to be a sort of a real populous rebellion. We had a Tea Party
populism but they wound up defending tax cuts for people making over a
million dollars. I think you`re seeing a reaction to that now that`s more
of a genuine populist movement.

SHARPTON: Now, Erin, let me ask you. How do we explain to people
that are watching that are totally objective, how Mr. Cantor calls this mob
at the conference today, the values conference, and on that same stage two
years ago. Let me show you what he said. Same stage, same group. He
said, and I`m quoting him now, "Fighting on the fighting lines of what we
know as a battle of our democracy." Still talking about the Tea Party.
Now, the Tea party was gathered around buildings, some violence suggested
in somebody`s signs, some of them even gun-toting. They were not a mob

ERIN MCPIKE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: You`re absolutely right. It does
seem hypocritical. I mean, what these people are doing, this Occupy Wall
Street movement, it`s full of people just exercising their first amendment
rights. So you`re right, the Republicans don`t really have a leg to stand
on when they`re criticizing them, because they too speak about people
needing to exercise their first amendment rights. So, as far as Cantor is
concerned, I`m really sure why they`re doing it. But it`s just really that
this movement is bad for the Republicans politically, it gets in the way of
the momentum that they have built up over the last couple years. And
that`s why they`re speaking out against it. It`s politics.

SHARPTON: Now, I think it is politics there but I think in some
point, you`ve got to get beyond the politics deal with the interests of the
people. But let me say this, going back to you a minute, Dana, when you
talk about President Obama not being the face of this and I think that
they`re right, no matter what, who`s opinion you may have politically, they
ought to be a movement where anybody who deals with any partisan politics
or not, can stand up and say that one percent shouldn`t control the wealth,
whether you`re for Democrats, for Republicans, independents, anybody should
stand up. But if they were looking for a president that could be a
spokesperson that is not Obama, let me show you what Ronald Reagan said
that would be very much in line with some of the feelings that`s being
expressed, the Wall Street that will be expressed next weekend. The jobs
march. Ronald Reagan, in fact, why don`t we just have Reagan and Obama
clips if they want to have a bipartisan analysis. Let me show you what
President Reagan said about the rich paying their taxes.


RONALD REAGAN, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: We`re going to close the
unproductive tax loop holes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to
avoid paying their fair share. In theory some of those loopholes were
understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for
millionaires to pay nothing while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his
salary, and that`s crazy. Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more
in taxes than the bus driver or less?


SHARPTON: Do you think a millionaire ought to pay more than the bus
driver in taxes or less? Dana, I love every time I hear Ronald Reagan say
that. In the words of my colleague, Chris, it just makes something go
tickling up my leg.

MILBANK: The funny thing is, Reverend Al, is that, I mean, Ronald
Reagan is of course, the Patron Saint of this Republican Party. But in
many ways, his ideas, and whole range of things including negotiating with
the Democrats, would make him no longer at home in this party. I don`t
think it matters particularly much what Erin Cantor and others are saying
about this new movement, just as, you know, Nancy Pelosi dismissed the Tea
Party as Astroturf, there were the allegations of racism, of violence. I
saw them toting automatic weapons myself at one of these rallies. But
ultimately, that didn`t have an effect on the movement itself. Because
that was generated from within. And I don`t think that republican
statements about this movement that are going to do anything but embolden
them further.

SHARPTON: Now, I want to shift gears to some big news that happened
at the republican conference today. Rick Perry was introduced by an
evangelical Pastor Robert Jeffress, he`s one of the organizers of Perry`s
big summer prayer rally. After formally endorsing Perry today, he dropped
this bombshell.


He is an evangelical Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, Mitt Romney is
a good, moral person. But he`s not a Christian. Mormonism has not
Christianity. It is always been considered a cult by the mainstream of
Christianity. So it`s the difference between a Christian and non-


SHARPTON: Now, Rich Perry`s spokesman responded by saying Perry does
not believe Mormonism is a cult. And I remember, I had this debate and
these discussions where I had views based on the history. And I went to
Salt Lake City. They`re not a cult, whether I agree with their
denomination or not. I mean, how will this Erin play in the campaign
through the primaries when you`re dealing with some very conservative
Christian voters in some of the primary states?

MCPIKE: Well, Mitt Romney had to deal with these four years ago.
And I was with him in a lot of events in Iowa, especially four years ago,
and he got questions all the time about his faith. And he always had to
answer them. Mitt Romney has not been on the campaign trail yet very much
and is just starting to pick it up. So, he hasn`t had to deal with this
most of this year. As we see him campaign more, it`s very likely that
he`ll get more of those questions. How he responds, we have yet to see.
As you know, four years ago, he gave a big speech on religion and that
really came about finally after he was prodded by many political types to
address this issue. There was a push/pull in Iowa essentially when a firm
connected to Mike Huckabee was asking voters in Iowa what they thought
about Mormonism.

And then after that Mitt Romney gave a very contentious press
conference in addressing the issue. And that`s what really sparked him to
start writing this big speech on the freedom of religion which he gave in
December. And it was almost too late and he couldn`t really get beyond the
issue. So, we`ll see how he addresses it this time. But as you also know,
there`s another Mormon in the race, Jon Huntsman, who has talked about it
and has said that religion is not that strong for him. And he gets
satisfaction from all kinds of religion, so he`s kind of walked away from
the religion, whereas Mitt Romney has said he`s proud of his faith. So we
don`t know how he`s going to handle it this time. But he may try and hold
it off until after he gets the nomination if he gets the nomination. And
then he`ll have to address it again. How is this going to play out? It
depends on the states that he campaigns in...

SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you this, Dana. It seems like we were
told at the end of 2008 that we got past bias, and religion and race, and
now we`re talking about Mormonism. Tonight we spent a lot of this week
having to deal with the "N" word with Rick Perry, something offensive to
me. It seems like all of this post racial, post religious bias was more of
us dreaming that we`ve gotten pass certain things and the reality in
American politics.

MILBANK: Well, maybe so, Reverend Al. But they`re also I think there
could be some good news in this. It looks that there`s reason to believe
that this will turn out to be against Rick Perry, to turn to be his
disadvantage. Look, Mitt Romney is not going to get that segment of the
republican electorate that believes Mormonism is a cult. Bus his idea is
to carve them up among the other candidates there. I think what you may
see here is some of the establishment supporters behind Rick Perry after
seeing the painted over rock and this business with the Mormons begins to
step back and say, wait a second, this is not necessarily what we bargained

SHARPTON: Well, they first have to drag them from under the rocks.
Dana Milbank from the Washington Post and Erin McPike from Real Clear

Thanks both of you, and have a great weekend.

MILBANK: Thank you, Reverend Al.

MCPIKE: Thank you, too.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the Koch Brothers might have a hand in re-
segregating our schools. It`s a story you need to hear.

And the hate for President Obama just went too far.


NEAL BOORTZ, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Barack Obama is a bigger disaster
to this country than 9/11.


SHARPTON: I`m responding, ahead. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: From new voter ID laws to abortion restrictions, the right-
wing conservatives are doing in states across the country, what they do
just seems crazy. Extremism may be crazy, but it`s real, and it`s taking
place all over the place. Now comes this. North Carolina might be days
away from re-segregating the schools. More than 50 years after the Brown
versus the board of education, it seems Republicans bail want to refight
this battle. Two years ago, conservative multimillionaire Art Pope and
billionaire Koch Brothers bankrolled three new members on the Wake County
school board. And why would they do this? Wake Country has this amazing
program that helped diversify schools from buzzing kids between rich and
poor neighborhoods. But these corporate sponsored board members are
pushing to get rid of the program. Outraged parents and students


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: This is really ridiculous. I don`t think anybody
that has an ounce of sense should even think that this is OK to try to get
rid of a diverse...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The Wake County public school systems, board of
the education is single handedly destroying our school and everything that
has made it great.



SHARPTON: It hasn`t happened yet, but this Tuesday, the board faces
reelection, and first up on the agenda, on doing it on effective diversity
program and moving back towards segregation. As I said, it`s crazy, but
it`s real.

Joining me now is one of the people on the front lines of this fight,
Reverend William Barber. President of the North Carolina conference, the
NAACP. Reverend, welcome to the show.

good to be with you, and thank you for all you do.

SHARPTON: Now, when I heard about this from somebody from associate
on National Action Network. I couldn`t believe it. Then, I talk to you.
And I`m finding about this is a Tuesday vote, clearly the program worked.
Tell us first around the country how this kind of program in terms of
comparing the students and the grade levels with that they were prepared
for growing the college and graduating, with the surrounding counties that
did not have this kind of diversity program?

BARBER: Exactly. And in fact many times, some of the media hasn`t
gotten it wrong. It run really about buzzing. Because less than three
percent of the kids will buzz for the purpose of diversity and 99 percent
of the students go to school within five miles. Blacks and whites came
together in 2000, and basically said how can we make healthy schools?
What`s the formula? And they understood that the formula was to have
diverse schools with resources. So the goal was to have no more than 25
percent of students at any one school that were underperforming, and no
more than 40 percent that were free or reduced lunch. It was amazing in
how this program began to work. Scores went up. Wake County is the number
one a school systems in North Carolina. One of the number one school
systems in the country. Then touted all over in the "New York Times."

SHARPTON: And it wasn`t that before this program, is that correct?

BARBER: Oh, no, no, no. That`s exactly right.

SHARPTON: But now 63.8 percent low income students in that county has
passed their high school exams?

BARBER: Exactly. And when you look at advanced, for instance,
examined the system, it says that you don`t have these kind of numbers in
any other urban area. Gerald Grant actually wrote a book, Harvard
professor, "Why There Are No Bad Schools in Wake County." And yet, when
this crowd came in, it was financed by Art Pope and the right wing, the
first thing they did, the first meeting without any research, any data,
they had a premeditated ideological regressive attitude to vote to
dismantle the policy that blacks and whites had put together to move this
county forward.

SHARPTON: What is their motive in your opinion, Reverend?

BARBER: Well, what we find is that they`ve used this code word
neighborhood schools which you know was on the lips on George Wallace and
others. It`s very divisive. When you look at where the money flows,
thousands of dollars have come in from Art Pope. He put in $2 million to
basically define candidates, and sent them over $40 million over the last
10 years. It is a very, very ultra-conservative notion, and neighborhood
schools is nothing more than a code word for re-segregated schools. You
know, schools in our neighborhood and then you all over there. We actually
have an e-mail that was sent by one of the republican operative on the
public Wake County email to the chairman saying, Art Pope`s plan worked,
has worked upon the election.

They have spent their time dismantling. The first students that they
moved after they dismantle the golf program were black students. The first
school that they opened is predominantly black, minority and more than 50
percent of students are under performance. This is a dangerous trend, why
we have to fight it. Why you see in North Carolina and Wake County, not
just the NAACP and blacks, blacks and whites and business people saying
this is the wrong direction. It is almost like Mr. Pope and those who fund
with this money. They want to get their money, to get on the bus and then
tell the bus driver to put the bus in reverse and go back with sometime
rather than forward for a progress.

SHARPTON: Well, they`re doing it across the board. Reverend William
Barber there in North Carolina, we`ll be watching this. Thank you for your
time. And good luck on Tuesday.

BARBER: Everybody needs to vote.

SHARPTON: The hatred of President Obama crosses the line. That`s


SHARPTON: I thought I heard it all, until I heard radio host Neal
Boortz on Hannity last night.


BOORTZ: Barack Obama is a bigger disaster to this country than 9/11.
Killing the individualism, the self-reliance and self-respect of the
American people like Barack Obama has done is much more of a tragedy.


SHARPTON: Barack Obama, a bigger disaster than 9/11 and a crowd
cheering? How about we get here? Earlier this week, Hank Williams, Jr.
was fired for saying this.


HANK WILLIAMS, JR., MUSICIAN: Remember the golf game? That was one
of the biggest political mistakes ever.

Boehner played golf with President Obama?

WILLIAMS: Oh, yes.

CARLSON: What did you not like about it? It seems really to be a
pivotal moment for you.

WILLIAMS: Come on, Come one. That would be like Hitler playing golf
with Netanyahu.


SHARPTON: Comparing Hitler to the president. Sadly this is nothing
new from the Tea Party, from the birthers, to "You lied" Joe Wilson, to
palling around with terrorists. These guys won`t stop. I`ve learned
throughout my career words matter. I said things that I had to think and
say, you know what? I shouldn`t have said that. And these guys have gone
even more extreme than some of the extremists I grew up with. But I`ve
learned that if you have a real belief and a real point, you don`t need to
be ugly, and you don`t need to be poisonous to make a point.

That`s why when we marched next Saturday for jobs and justice in
Washington, we`re going to use the language and the style that Dr. King and
others would be proud of since we are dedicating his memorial, because I
understand now what I didn`t understand when I was young, that it matters
as much what you say and how you say than what you stand for. And when you
find people that would make equal and equate, rather, is the word I should
use, the lives of 3,000 innocent Americans for partisan politics, it tells
you more about them than it does the president.

Thanks for watching. I hope you had a great weekend. I`m Al
Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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