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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Read the transcript from the Wednesday show

Guests: Bob Shrum, Richard Wolffe, Mara Schiavocampo, Sherrod Brown, Russell Simmons, Dee Dee Blase, Nia-Malika Henderson

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Hey, Republicans, President Obama`s bringing out
the big guns.


MICHELLE OBAMA, FIRST LADY: This announcement is a huge deal.

SHARPTON (voice-over): The first lady joins her husband on his jobs bus
tour --

have to do is fight for a job when you come home. Not here, not in the
United States of America.

SHARPTON: -- pushing today for veterans and teachers.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: He`s completely out of touch.

SHARPTON: But wait. Republicans have a plan, too.

MCCONNELL: The president is out there doing his best Howard Dean

SHARPTON: How is that going to get anybody a job, Mitch McConnell?

Tonight, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown on the jobs fight.

And when Republicans attack --

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Because that just doesn`t --

facts are.

ROMNEY: I`m speaking. I`m speaking. I`m speaking.

It`s time for you to tell the truth.

ROMNEY: I`m speaking.

SHARPTON: Lions and tigers and Perry, oh, my.

Bob Shrum and Richard Wolffe on the snarling GOP.

The Tea Party congressman who just can`t stop laughing at his constituents.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re a congressman. Don`t laugh at us.

SHARPTON: Keep laughing, Congressman. We`ll see who gets the last laugh
at your reelection time.

Plus, Russell Simmons on Occupy Wall Street and the coming election.

work for the people.



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

Tonight`s lead, America has a choice. It`s a choice between a party that
wants to get this country back to work and the one that doesn`t.

Today, the president and the first lady announced a series of initiatives
aimed at getting jobs for the nation`s veterans.


M. OBAMA: Everyone can do something. Everyone can do something to honor
and support the brave men and women who have served us all so well.


SHARPTON: Getting jobs for our nation`s veterans is something both sides
have backed in the past, and the president isn`t going to let the
Republicans forget that.


B. OBAMA: When I first proposed this idea in a joint session of Congress,
people stood up and applauded on both sides of the aisle. So when it comes
for a vote in the Senate, I expect to get votes from both sides of the

Don`t just applaud about it. Vote for it. Vote for it.



SHARPTON: Republicans, don`t just applaud job creation, vote for it next

The Senate GOP will be able to vote for $35 billion toward jobs for
teachers and first responders next week. It will create and make and
protect the nearly 400,000 education jobs.

And we will ask the question of, will Republican senators who are up for
reelection next year have the nerve to vote that down? That will be our

Senators like Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, Dean Heller, you have a choice.
Are you really going to say no for 400,000 jobs? Senators, you better
thing long and hard, because next year, Americans have a choice, too.

Your choice is next week. Ours is next year. It`s between a side that
says yes to job creation or no.


B. OBAMA: Let`s focus on what will actually put people back to work.
Keeping first responders on the job, that`s a jobs plan. Putting more
teachers in the classroom, that`s a jobs plan.

We`re going to let them vote on each of these ideas separately. And we`ll
see if they fight just as hard for your jobs as they fight for their own


SHARPTON: And another side that thinks even having this conversation is


MCCONNELL: It`s completely preposterous at a time when 14 million
Americans are looking for a job in this country for the president to be
riding around on a bus saying we should raise taxes. The president is out
there doing his best Howard Dean impersonation. He`s completely out of


SHARPTON: Only in a party where corporations are people and where the
wealthiest are continuously defended does this make sense. It doesn`t in a
country with 14 million unemployed.

Senator, the president`s not preposterous. You are.

Joining me now is Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat from Ohio. He`s also a
member of the Committee on Veterans Affairs.

Senator, thanks for coming on the show this evening.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be with you, Al. Thank you.

SHARPTON: What will it take to get the first portion of the president`s
jobs bill passed?

BROWN: Well, it`s going to take a lot of pressure from the public. It`s
going to take your show and others putting pressure on Republicans.

I mean, this is such a clear case. It`s, do we put police and fire and
teachers back to work, and pay for it with the one half of one percent tax
on people already making a million dollars a year, and not even paying a
tax increase on their first million, but above that? And it`s going to
take a lot of pressure.

I encourage people to go to go to my Web site,, sign my
open letter saying to Republicans, move on the jobs bill, put people back
to work, pay for it in a fair way, taxing people making $20,000 a week --
those are the only people that will pay higher taxes -- and it makes sense.
It will put people to work doing public health, in public education.
What`s more important than that?

SHARPTON: Now, Senator, you`re on the Committee of Veterans Affairs.
We`re talking about in this first part of the bill, since we`re now going
piece by piece, veterans. How does the Republicans -- I mean, politically,
how do they think they can get away with opposing getting jobs for

BROWN: Well, I don`t get it. I mean, you know, this jobs bill has
everything from infrastructure, and Republicans have supported
infrastructure projects as long as the nation has been around -- highways,
bridges, now broadband and community colleges, all that, school renovation,
rebuilding public schools. You know, we tell our kids the most important
thing in the world is education, we send them to a crumbling schooled. The
average school is 40 years old in this country. Putting teachers,
firefighters -- I don`t know how they argue against this.

They really don`t. They simply vote know. And that`s why going on my Web
site,, signing this petition, will begin, as your show
does, as others do, to put pressure on them to finally do the right thing
and put people back to work.

That`s all we hear people talk about when I go back to Toledo or
(INAUDIBLE). That`s what people are talking about, put people back to work
in this country.

SHARPTON: And that`s all that we`re hearing everywhere we go. A huge jobs
march we had Saturday. I was in your state with you the week before, and
the support is broad-based.

When I look at the polls -- look at this poll where the president has gone
up nine points in a poll in terms of who they trust to create jobs. Since
September, the president has gone up nine points, the Republicans down six

When you look at the fact that 54 percent of this country wants
infrastructure spending, 56 percent agree with taxing millionaires, 58
percent payroll tax cuts, 63 percent want money for teachers and first
responders, and these are Republican figures I`m showing you, these are not
just the general public. Yet, if you watched the Republican debate last
night, they`re like in a parallel planet. They`re talking everything but

What`s happening in the Senate, Senator Brown? Are the senators
understanding that even their party is out of step with their rhetoric?

BROWN: Well, they`re not saying. I can`t believe that -- you know, these
presidential candidates do live in an alternative universe, and they`re
playing to that very narrow, far-right base. They think that`s how you win
a Republican primary. Maybe that is how you do win a Republican primary.

But when I see senators privately, Republican senators, they don`t want to
admit it, but they are more and more understanding when they go home, if
they`re not going to their country clubs, if they`re going almost anywhere
else, they`re hearing people talk about hiring teachers, about putting
police officers back to work, about fixing that bridge, about building that
water and sewer system, about giving a break to small business, about the
payroll tax cut, all those things that, tried and true -- they have been
Republican ideas, too.

These aren`t partisan ideas. They`ve become partisan because Mitch
McConnell said his number one goal is to defeat President Obama. And
that`s the only reasons these ideas have been blocked. And Republican
senators understand that.

SHARPTON: Well, I`ll tell you, if they`d talk to the workers at the
country club, they would hear it there, too.

Thank you, Senator Sherrod Brown.

BROWN: Got it. Thanks.

SHARPTON: Thanks for coming on tonight.

BROWN: Glad to, always.

SHARPTON: And keep fighting. You`re a great fighter for our jobs.

BROWN: All right. Appreciate it. Thanks.

SHARPTON: Ahead, when Republicans attack. A POLITICS NATION fact-check is
coming up.

Plus, extreme views have extreme consequences. The founder of a Latino
Republican group is leaving the party, and she`s here to tell us why.

And businessman and activist Russell Simmons is standing with the Occupy
Wall Street protesters. He`ll join me tonight.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Today, the GOP presidential candidates are licking their wounds
after the most bruising and combative debate so far. Republicans slamming
Republicans, I loved it.

Just take a look at what happens when Republicans attack.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She`s getting into a threat position.

was in your book. Then it should be for everybody.


I`ll tell you what, why don`t you let me speak?



GOV. RICK PERRY (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You failed as the governor
of Massachusetts.

ROMNEY: I`m speaking. I`m speaking.

PERRY: The newspaper --

You say that you knew you had illegals --

ROMNEY: What a tough couple of debates for Rick, and I understand that.

And so you`re going to get testy.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Democratic strategist Bob Shrum, NYU professor
and former senior adviser to the Kerry and Gore campaigns; MSNBC political
analyst Richard Wolffe; and NBC`s Maria Schiavocampo, who will help us out
with a little fact-check.

Thanks to all of you for being here.

Bob, let me start with you. The gloves really came off last night in the
debate, right?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: I think so. Romney has had pretty much
of a free ride so far. And the truth is, he`s well prepared. He did
pretty well in these earlier debates.

I think he`s brittle. If you say something he doesn`t expect, he tends to
react very badly to it. I can`t believe that they didn`t have him prepared
on that question about the company that mowed and manicured his lawn,
because --

SHARPTON: You`re talking about the immigration company --

SHRUM: Yes, and --

SHARPTON: Well, let`s go through that a minute. Let`s do a fact-check.

The big moment last night was Rick Perry attacking Mitt Romney on
immigration, which is what Bob is referring to. For folks who haven`t seen
it, here is how it went down.


PERRY: You hired illegals in your home, and you knew about it for a year.
And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about that you`re
strong on immigration is, on its face, the height of hypocrisy.



ROMNEY: Rick, I don`t think I`ve ever hired an illegal in my life. And
I`m looking forward to finding your facts on that, because that just
doesn`t --

PERRY: I`ll tell you what the facts are.

ROMNEY: Rick -- again -- Rick, I`m speaking. I`m speaking. I`m speaking.

PERRY: The newspaper -- and it`s time for you to tell the truth.

ROMNEY: You get 30 seconds.

PERRY: It`s time for you to tell the truth, Mitt.

ROMNEY: This is the way the rules work here, is that I get 60 seconds, and
then you get 30 seconds to respond, right?


PERRY: The American people want the truth. And they want to hear you say
that you knew you had illegals working at your --

ROMNEY: Would you please wait? Are you just going to keep talking?

PERRY: Yes, sir.


SHARPTON: Perry was throwing some red meat to the Republican crowd there,
but was it accurate?

Mara, what is the truth?

MARA SCHIAVOCAMPO, NBC NEWS: Well, Rev, Romney says he never hired any
illegal immigrant. And while he personally did not, a company that he
hired reportedly did.

In 2006, "The Boston Globe" published a report that illegal immigrants were
doing landscaping work at Romney`s home in Belmont, Massachusetts. The
governor vowed to fix that.

But a year later, The Globe published another report that lawn work was
still being done by illegal immigrants. That`s when Romney finally fired
the landscaping company.

Last night, Romney argued that it`s hard for an individual homeowner to
know the status of who`s working for any outside contractor at your house.

Now, Rev, we wanted to have a little fun with this, so our graphics
department whipped up a Rev-O-Meter to judge the facts in the debate.

SHARPTON: All right. Bring out the Rev-O-Meter.

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Here`s the Rev-O-Meter.

On one end, you have Honest Abe, and on the other end you have Blagojevich.

And so, in terms of Romney`s claim that he never hired an illegal
immigrant, we`re rating that as a half Lincoln, half Blago, right down the
middle -- Rev.


SHARPTON: Well, Richard, you saw the debate and you`ve seen the Rev-O-
Meter. What do you think?

RICHARD WOLFFE, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: I think they need to hit the side
of the Rev-O-Meter, or whatever they`re calling it.

You know, come on. Yes, technically, legally, I guess, there`s an argument
for him to say that. But to all intents and purposes, it wasn`t true.

And, you know, he can say, how could anyone know? Well, when "The Boston
Globe" west puts it on the front page, that`s one way to find out.

So, Rick Perry had a case. What was interesting here was, yes, as Bob
says, he wasn`t prepared for it.

Also, if you`re going to get angry, there`s nothing wrong with Mitt Romney
showing some emotion, I think it`s a good thing. But show your anger and
your emotion on something that matters, like jobs, or the economy, or maybe
foreign policy. Don`t show your anger on the rules of the debate. It just
looks petty, they all looked childish.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, you`ve run a lot of campaigns. Who won that exchange?
I mean, Richard, I think, is right, if you`re going to show that kind of
passion and emotion, you should do it on something that matters to people.
But who won the exchange?

SHRUM: Well, I think Perry won the exchange, and I think he really won it
when Romney`s final explanation was that he called the lawn company and
said, look, I can`t have any illegals working here, I`m running for office.
What was he implying, that he could have them if he wasn`t running for

SHARPTON: So wait a minute. His reason -- I want people to get this. His
reason was he`s running for office, not that he`s wrong, not that he`s
opposed to it.

SHRUM: Right.

SHARPTON: I`m running for office. It was more about image than honesty.

SHRUM: I think they hadn`t prepared him. If they did prepare him, he
ought to fire the people who prepared him, because what that answer
conveyed to people was that he didn`t care about the right or the wrong or
the merits of the issue, he just cared about how it looked. And I think
that`s authentic -- he was being authentic and truthful about his real
feelings there. He just cared about how it looked.

The real key to this is whether Perry pops in the polls in the next couple
of weeks, because if he doesn`t, they don`t have anybody else but Romney.
The dogs may not like the dog food, but I can`t believe that in the end,
the Republican Party would be dumb enough, for example, to nominate someone
like Herman Cain.

SHARPTON: Well, now that you brought up Herman Cain, let`s talk about
Herman Cain`s 9-9-9 plan. The other candidates slammed him for it, saying
it would raise taxes for millions of Americans.

But Cain said this --


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It does not raise taxes on those
that are making the least. All of those are simply not true.


SHARPTON: Well, is Cain telling the truth? Let`s check in with Mara.

Mara, what`s the story here?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: So, Cain says that his 9-9-9 plan would not raise taxes on
the poor and working class, but virtually all independent experts agree. A
new analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center says that Cain`s plan
would raise taxes on 84 percent of U.S. households, and it mostly hurts
those at the lower end of the scale.

The bottom 20 percent of Americans would see their taxes go up by about
$1,600. But for the wealthiest Americans, the top 0.1 percent, they would
get a tax cut of about $1.7 million.

So, Rev, Herman Cain saying that his 9-9-9-plan would not raise taxes for
the poorest Americans, we`re going to set that up on the Rev-O-Meter. Full
Blago, all the way false.

SHARPTON: Full Blago for Herman Cain.

Well, what do you think about that, Richard?

WOLFFE: Yes, look, he`s in big trouble on this particular plan, not least
because Rick Perry is about to come out with his own flat tax plan in a
matter of days, and that`s going to steal his thunder on this.

I think even more troubling for Herman Cain on this issue was him having
opened up the whole can of worms about exchanging the prisoners in
Guantanamo Bay for a hostage, and that spun off into this whole bizarre
thing about, was Iran-Contra OK? Was Reagan wrong?

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, I heard you grunting in there. I mean, come on, don`t
you think he`s being innovative with this Guantanamo Bay proposal?

SHRUM: I think he`s living in bizarre-o world, but I think a lot of those
Republicans, Reverend, that you watched on that stage are living in
bizarre-o world.

What`s going to happen here, I think, is we`re going to have the final
challenge from Perry over the next couple months. It`s either going to
take off or it`s not. I think he could conceivably beat Romney for the
nomination. I don`t think anybody else can.

SHARPTON: Rick Perry -- Bob, you`re great. You always give me my segues -
- Rick Perry and Mitt Romney also went after each other on jobs.

Let`s take a look at a clip of that exchange.


PERRY: Mitt, while you were the governor of Massachusetts in that period
of time, you were 47th in the nation in job creation. You failed as the
governor of Massachusetts.

COOPER: I`ve got to -- Governor Romney?

ROMNEY: I`m very proud of the fact. Actually, during the four years we
were both governors, my unemployment rate in Massachusetts was lower than
your unemployment rate in Texas.


SHARPTON: Mara, a lot of numbers flying around there. Are any accurate?

SCHIAVOCAMPO: Yes. So let`s start with Perry.

He is actually correct on Romney`s jobs record. When Romney was governor,
Massachusetts ranked 47th out of 50 states in job growth. That`s according
to the Labor Department. Only Michigan, Ohio and Louisiana were worse
during that time period.

Now, as far as Romney, he is also correct. Unemployment in Massachusetts
was lower than unemployment in Texas during the four years that both men
were governor at the same time.

In fact, even though Rick Perry likes to talk about job creation in Texas,
the unemployment rate there is actually higher now than it`s been in two
decades. The jobless rate is currently 8.5 percent. Texas is one of only
a dozen states where the unemployment rate has gone up since the end of the

So, Rev, when it comes to Perry and Romney talking about how bad each
other`s job records are, let`s see how that rates on the Rev-O-Meter.

Drum roll, please.

They are both Honest Abe, both telling the truth about each other`s jobs

SHARPTON: Now, isn`t that something, Bob? They both make Honest Abe on
the Rev-O-Meter by their race to the bottom, on who did the worst at
creating jobs. That`s not going to do well.

SHRUM: I think Richard would probably agree with this, but it`s one of the
few times that I think we`re going to call Mitt Romney "Honest Abe" during
this campaign.

The real problem he had through that debate last night -- and we haven`t
talked about health care, for example -- is Rick Santorum was exactly
right. He had written in his book that his health reform plan was a model
for the nation. He took it out of the next edition.

He also said it in a debate in 2008 with John McCain. And this is a guy
who basically is running for president by renouncing almost every basic
position he took on central fundamental issues over the course of his
political career.

SHARPTON: Last night, Richard, who distinguished themselves, if anyone, to

WOLFFE: Oh, that`s a tough one. Ron Paul, probably, for raising Ronald
Reagan and pointing out the inconsistencies.

Look, this spiel has gotten to the point where any of these candidates can
drive a truck through everyone else`s arguments. What was really
interesting to me was not the exchanges themselves.

I mean, Rick Perry, look, you don`t know if he`s going to reach the end of
his sentence in one piece. So there is that fear when he starts out where
you think, does he know where he wants to take this thought?

But what was clear last night was he has the ability to take Mitt Romney
apart. And he`s either going to win the nomination or he`s going to take
Mitt Romney down in flames with him.

He has the money to do it. He has the political willpower to do it. He
knows where the weak spots are.

But, you know, so does Ron Paul, so does Rick Santorum. They all know
where they are, because the flaws are so obvious. So watching this unfold
for the next couple of months is going to decide not just the nominee, but
how damaged they are.

SHARPTON: All right.

Bob Shrum, Richard Wolffe, and Mara, thanks for your time tonight.

SHRUM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And remember, candidates, we`re watching, so be an Honest Abe,
not a Blago.

Ahead, Herman Cain goes after Wall Street protesters again. Russell
Simmons responds tonight.

Stay with us.



UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You`re a congressman, don`t laugh at us.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, what was your vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I want to know about the voucher.


AL SHARPTON, HOST, MSNBC LIVE: He wouldn`t even answer them. Just
kept laughing. Maybe Barletta doesn`t know the trouble he`s in. He`s
raised more money than his democratic challenger next year, but his
opponent is catching up. Last quarter, they raised nearly the same amount.
And Barletta is not the only one. Politico reports lots of GOP freshmen
are having a hard time fund-raising. And let`s not forget only 13 percent
of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing. I guess they don`t mind
Republicans laugh at their constituents, as long as voters get the last
laugh, next November.


SHARPTON: The 99 percent movement is now in its second month. And
there`s new evidence that most Americans support the protesters. Fifty-
nine percent of Americans now agree with the protesters. One of the
biggest celebrity supporters of Occupy Wall Street from the very start is
businessman and activist Russell Simmons. He`s been in Lower Manhattan
with the protesters since the early days.


corporations and lobbyists and we have to do something to stop it.


SHARPTON: And Russell Simons, founder and chairman of is here with me now. He`s not only been there from the
beginning, he`s gotten others there, including me. As you see I did my
radio show the other day, Russell was the one that got me. And Kanye West,
he got there the same day. And many of the expanding people that you see
coming is there because of the word of who I called, the Godfather, Russell
Simmons. Russell, thank you for being with me.

SIMMONS: It`s a pleasure to be on your show.

SHARPTON: Thank you. Tell me why you got involved in the protests.

SIMMONS: Well, they went to the right place. They went to Wall
Street. And they talked about there the right message. The fact that the
corporate bribery for politicians is so strong in this country that it is
creating a class warfare that`s killing our middle class and their
statements are truthful, their compassionate, sweet, idealistic kids who
want to see a better country, and I want to support them in their effort.

SHARPTON: Now, one of the things that is been impressive to me is
that they have been able to make the American people begin discussing the
plight of the poor. And before, you know, a lot of people would say to me,
what`s the objective? What`s the goal? But they have changed the
conversation. They`re talking about deficit reduction before. Now,
they`re talking about jobs, we got a jobs march over the weekend. They
changed the whole thing, the poverty, something you have always wanted to
see at the forefront. So, they do nothing else, they`ve gotten the
conversation where I think it needs to be.

SIMMONS: Yes. Well, you know, your march, I was thanking for that.
It was a great success. And you`ll work on poverty for all the years, it`s
exemplary. So, for me it`s been following your lead, and it`s been
something that -- people have been quite about. The ignorance and poverty,
the lack of education and lack of opportunity for a lot of Americans. And
I think their dialogue, which is becoming louder and louder is bringing a
new light to a place that needs a light if America is to survive and we
have to save our middle class and give opportunity to those people who are
locked out. And this protest at the very most, what it could do is change
the way that our government operates. It`s going to grow, you know, and as
it continues to grow, anything is possible.

SHARPTON: Now, one of the things, when you look at the politics of
it, they`ve been attacked, as we know any movement will be. Herman Cain,
let me show you something that he said that was disturbing to me.


ANDERSON COOPER, MODERATOR: You said don`t blame Wall Street, don`t
blame the big banks, if you don`t have a job, you`re not rich, blame
yourself. Do you still say that?

and here`s why.


I still stand by my statement and here`s why. They might be
frustrated with Wall Street and the bankers, but they`re directing their
anger at the wrong place. What other people who are protesting wants from
bankers on Wall Street? To come downstairs and write them a check. This
is what we don`t understand.


SHARPTON: Now, forget Herman Cain and the politics, what are people
to cheering about? For people to cheer saying that people are poor and
suffering by choice. I mean, what are we coming to in this country?

SIMMONS: You know, it`s very frustrating, I mean, we have to, as
individuals stand by what we believe. We believe that we`re all connected.
I`m part of the hundred percent. And those people who are suffering are my
people. And I think the people who are locked out didn`t have the
opportunity or maybe a lucky break. Like you and I and Herman Cain.
Certainly, a lucky break. You know, people know that hard work promotes
happiness, and when they know that hard work promotes happiness, and that
the happiness then promotes some success, then they live by it. But until
you get people the right consciousness, the right support systems as well,
then they struggle, and those people who are suffering, because they
haven`t had the right opportunity. And I think that`s why we are here,
that`s why we go in march, and that`s why we speak to people and try to
lift them up. And you have to live the bottom up. You know, those who are
on top are lucky.

SHARPTON: Now, lifting people up you`ve done. Now, let me show you
something that you wrote in the Huffington Post. About a year ago, the
14th of October in 2010, about young people. Because a lot of young people
look to you for guidance at all something. You don`t want something --
with me when we go off the show for -- but they do. And let me show you
something that you wrote about young people a little over a year ago. You
said, "It`s time for young people to stand up and be proud of what they
accomplished when they elected President Barack Obama to the White House."
And you talked about how people are cynical about young people, but it was
the youth vote that came out. And you said that he would have still been a
senator if it wasn`t for young people, and that people are not giving young
people that are active the credit. Do you still feel that way?

SIMMONS: Well, this country is built on young idealistic people.
And this is where they shift will come from. Those people who have created
Occupy Wall Street are young, they have high aspirations for this country
and they`re inspired. They`re not people who accept the norm. They want
to change this country for the better. And we have to look to them not
only for their leadership, but their energy. And this energy that they`re
bringing now needs support. You know, I want to continue to bring new
energy and new support to their work and add fuel to their fire. So, I
think that`s something you have done, and a lot of us will be there doing
for months to come.

And I believe there`s a possibility, maybe a constitutional amendment
banning corporations from bribing politicians to go to war or bribing
politicians to lengthen prison sentences so they can make money in the
prison industrial complexes or moving jobs offshore or putting loopholes in
the tax law. So, I don`t have to pay taxes. You know, these are things
that need to be addressed. The reason that I don`t pay tax is because
there`s someone pushing a politician to leave a loophole or to promote a
hole in the market that I can squeeze my company through. And of course,
no one will pay more taxes, the conservatives always say to me, why don`t I
write a check for more taxes.


SIMMONS: Well, no, I won`t give my money to war machines and to the
other things, but if it will help the education and the health care for
people who are locked out, of course I want to pay more taxes. And I think
that the only reason there`s so much corporate welfare and the only reason
there`s so many tax loopholes, and the only reason -- every sign you see
down there on Occupy Wall Street, every specific initiative, where they`re
unraveling the unions, or when I talk about the prison industrial complex,
or any single issue comes from the fact that corporations are pushing
politicians to make decisions on their behalf instead of the people`s
behalf. And we want to represent the people. We want a true democracy,
where politicians work for the people who elected them.

SHARPTON: Well, let me thank you again, Godfather, for being with me
today. Russell Simmons, thanks for joining me.

Ahead, extreme views have extreme consequences. We`ll talk to a
woman who was once fighting to recruit Latinos to the GOP. Now, she`s left
the party. That`s next.


SHARPTON: I`ve been telling you about the radical plan to suppress
the vote going across the country. Laws passed in 13 states are making it
harder for minority voters, but now I have some hard evidence. According
to analysis by Associated Press, South Carolina`s new voter ID law hit
black precincts harder. Nearly half the voters at a historically black
college in Columbia don`t have a state-issued voter identification. In two
majority black counties, the percentage of minority voters without IDs is
higher than the whole statewide percentage, the Democrat Party chairman in
South Carolina said, quote, "This is electoral genocide." This is
disenfranchising huge groups of people who don`t have money to go get the
ID card. This is voters suppression, folks, pure and simple, happening
today in America, and we must stop it.


SHARPTON: The Hispanic vote will play a major role in the 2012
election. The Latino population is surging in states like Nevada, New
Mexico and Florida, key swing states that President Obama won in 2008. He
took the Latino vote by 36-point margin that year, but with news of record
deportations under the Obama administration, Republicans could have a big
opportunity to pick up disillusioned Latino voters. The only problem is
themselves. They can`t stop saying things like this.


COOPER: Would you build an entire fence along the entire boarder,
and would you have it be electrified?


CAIN: Allow me to give the serious answer. Yes, I believe we should
secure the border for real.

of illegals that are coming into this country.

come here illegally.

PERRY: Look, you can`t have any illegals working on our property.

issue that you`re referring to is the issue of anchor babies.


SHARPTON: Cracking down on illegals anchor babies? Electric fences?
This kind of talk has Latino Republicans walking away from the party.
Talking points memo highlights one of them leaving after Herman Cain`s
electric fence idea exploded in controversy. Extreme ideas could have
extreme consequences.

Joining me now is Dee Dee Blase, she`s a co-founder of Somos
Republicans, a Hispanic republican group dedicated to increasing the Latino
republican voting bloc. But she recently left the party, becoming an
independent because of the all the extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric. And
Nia-Malika Henderson, political reporter for "The Washington Post," you can
follow her election 2012 blog on

Thanks to both of you for being here today. Dee Dee, you were a
republican and you quit the party. Tell us what happened?

DEE DEE BLASE, SOMOS REPUBLICANS: Well, the straw that broke the
camel`s back for me was in addition to the anti-immigrant sentiment, the
straw the broke it for me was Marco Rubio. Here is a Latino republican,
Cuban from Florida, who benefits, his family has benefited from amnesty,
and government benefits, who decided to sponsor Lamar Smith, a republican
from Texas, his large government idea via the national e-verify program.
Now, both these people claim to be less government, but they are supporting
large government ideas. Now, we were already sort of getting used to the
anti-immigrant and the anti-Latino sentiment, but what did it for me was
Marco Rubio sponsoring a large government idea. Not only did he do that,
he does not support our kids, our youth via the dream act, and he embraced
Arizona`s harsh anti-immigrant law, and he`s Hispanic.

SHARPTON: So, he being Hispanic, his family benefited from it, but
he is actually and others in the Republican Party are supporting this harsh
anti-Latino, anti-immigration laws like the ones we marched on in Arizona.
This is what has, in many ways humiliated you and a lot of Latinos.

BLASE: Absolutely. There`s definitely a wedge, no thanks to Marco
Rubio, between the Mexican-American community and the Cuban-American
community. Now, what the Republicans need to understand is that they can`t
just lump us all in one Hispanic pile. Cubans only make up three percent
of the total Hispanic population pie, while Mexican-Americans make up
almost 70 percent. So, do you see what`s going on here? I mean, they`re
listening to the wrong guy. They need to listen to Mexican-American
leaders that provide most of that voting power.

SHARPTON: Nia, is this a missed opportunity?

is a window, it seems like, that Republicans might have in terms of
attracting Latinos-Hispanic voters, but it seems they`re walking past it.
Your guest talked about them needing to listen to Mexican, needing to
listen to this diverse group of Latinos. It seems like they`re really
listening to the far right wing of their party. If you look at for
instance, Rick Perry had a much more moderate view on immigration, on
amnesty, on guest worker programs many years ago, six years ago he wrote a
piece, an editorial saying he supported a guest worker program, but that`s
not something you hear him talk about very often.

And you did hear them last night using the phrase illegals, using the
phrase the illegal aliens to refer to illegal immigrants. And I think you
know, in a state like Nevada where the population, as you said, is about 25
percent Latino, that`s going to really do some damage to whoever makes it
out of this primary come the general. If you look at the polls, Obama now
is doing pretty well among Latinos. He`s got about 65 percent support
right now right now, but there is an opening for Latinos who are looking
for more support in terms of some of the issues that they care about, and
those issues are jobs and, quite frankly, immigration as well.

SHARPTON: Now, Dee Dee, when you look at the debate that we saw last
night, as a Latino, an American citizen now, how do you feel when you see
people on that stage in the Republican Party, a party you recruit Latinos
for almost spitting out the term like illegal immigrants, anchor. I mean,
how do you sit there and feel as a republican Latino?

BLASE: It`s very, very heartbreaking, because the party that claims
to be the pro-life party has now become one of the most hypocritical
issues. For instance, Michele Bachmann refers to babies as anchor babies.
That is a dehumanizing term. It`s derogatory. It`s almost as defamatory.
What I consider defamatory -- I don`t like the word tar baby, but that word
should be avoided just as much as the term anchor baby. Anchor baby is
extremely offensive to us. And from the party that claims to be pro-life,
and yet they`re using a dehumanizing term, since when did we not become a
pro-life Republican Party?

SHARPTON: Nia, how do they dial this back for a general election? I
mean, you`re out there using -- you hear you have a former Latino
republican leader saying that -- using the term "anchor baby" is the same
as using "tar baby," in a republican presidential debate. No one
denounced it on stage when Michele Bachmann used it, and others just
spitting out almost like it was something distasteful, the term, you know,
"illegal immigrant." How do you dial this back in the general election to
appeal to Latino voters when you face the president?

HENDERSON: Well, there was that moment on stage when Mitt Romney did
use the phrase "illegal alien" and he quickly sort of corrected himself to
say "illegal immigrant" as if he was acknowledging the fact that this could
be a problem for him when he tries to switch to the general, if in fact he
does win the nomination. It`s going to be awfully tough, I think, for them
to dial back this rhetoric and really start to try to connect with Latino
voters in these key states, like Nevada, like Florida, like Colorado, like
New Mexico, and so far there isn`t any indication that this is something
they think is important.

SHARPTON: Well, Dee Dee, Nia-Malika, thanks for your time today.

BLASE: Thanks.

HENDERSON: Thank you, Reverend.

Ahead, the Grand Old Party is now the Grand Old mean party. That`s


SHARPTON: There`s now been eight GOP debates. And if there`s one
thing that`s clear, it`s that the fringe has taken over. This is your
Republican Party. America, this is it. The party that cheers at things
like this.


BRIAN WILLIAMS, NBC ANCHOR: Your state has executed 234 death row
inmates more than any other governor in modern times. Have you.


What do you make of the dynamic that just happened here, the mention
of the execution of 234 people drew applause.

PERRY: I think Americans understand justice.


SHARPTON: It`s the party that boos at this.


STEPHEN HILL, SOLDIER: Do you intend to circumvent the progress
that`s been made for gay and lesbian soldiers in the military.



SHARPTON: It`s the party that trips over itself to electrify border


CAIN: It would be a combination of a fence, technology, as well as
possibly boots on the ground for some of the more dangerous areas. I don`t
apologize at all for wanting to protect the American citizens and protect
our agents on the border. No.


SHARPTON: And it`s the party that takes from the poor and gives to
the rich.


ROMNEY: Don`t try and stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its
course and hit the bottom, allow investor to buy a home, put renters in
them, fix the homes up and let it turn around and come back up.


SHARPTON: Funny. I grew up in the late `60s and `70s here in New
York where there were Republicans like Rockefeller and Javits, nationally
when I was born, a republican president name Eisenhower. There was a time
Democrats and Republicans competed on how they were going to lift Americans
up, not on how they were going to take a chance on beating all of us down.
I never thought I would miss those old Republicans. But I do.

Thanks for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.

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