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PoliticsNation, Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

Guests: Keith Ellison, Brian Flynn, Barbara Boxer, Nia-Malika Henderson,
Bob Franken, Tyler Perry

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: The dictator is gone thanks to American


together with the international community, is committed to the Libyan
people. You have won your revolution.

SHARPTON (voice-over): The end of Gadhafi. The dictator who may have
ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, gone for good.

So much for the Republicans who said the president`s Libyan policy
wouldn`t work. You know who you are.

as any foreign operation we`ve seen I think in our lifetime.

SHARPTON: Tonight, Congressman Keith Ellison on another success for
the un-Iraq policy.

Teachers and firefighters, back to work. Who is against that? Oh,
never mind.

Senator Barbara Boxer on the big vote on the jobs bill.

Perry/Romney attack ads.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m running for office, for
Pete`s sake. I can`t have illegals.


BRIT HUME, FOX NEWS SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Perry really did throw up
all over himself in the debate.

SHARPTON: They`re amazing, and I`m loving it.

Plus, Tyler Perry talks about his movies, his media empire, and
President Obama.

TYLER PERRY, ACTOR, DIRECTOR: It took many years to get to the
situation that this country is in, and he`s only had a short time.



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

Tonight`s lead, after decades of tyranny, Libya is free of Moammar


OBAMA: This is a momentous day in the history of Libya. The dark
shadow of tyranny has been lifted, and with this enormous promise, the
Libyan people now have a great responsibility.

You have won your revolution. And now we will be a partner as you
forge a future that provides dignity, freedom and opportunity.


SHARPTON: Gadhafi first seized power when Richard Nixon was
president. Now after a seven-month NATO mission, his reign has officially
come to an end.

He was reportedly found alive, hiding in a storm drain. And we must
worn you, this graphic video showing rebels dragging his body through his
hometown of Sirte. Separate video apparently shows Gadhafi after he was

While the dictator had been on the run for months, his demise was
still shocking.

Secretary Hillary Clinton was getting ready for an interview when she
heard the news.


Unconfirmed reports about Gadhafi being captured.


SHARPTON: "Wow" is right. Whether you applaud this brutal end or
not, today`s events are clearly a vindication of the president`s policy in
Libya. The dictator`s gone, and no American was killed.

But today, in statement after statement, Republicans barely made
mention of President Obama. Not from Senator John McCain, not from Speaker
John Boehner, and certainly not from GOP front-runner Willard Mitt Romney.


ROMNEY: It`s about time. Gadhafi was a terrible tyrant who killed
his own people and murdered Americans and others in the tragedy in
Lockerbie. The world is a better place with Gadhafi gone.


SHARPTON: That`s right, he literally ran away instead of giving the
president any praise for his success in the policy.

Mitt Romney, that`s not leadership. That`s just petty.

Joining me now is Congressman Keith Ellison, Democrat from Minnesota.

Congressman, thanks for being here.


SHARPTON: No mention of the president from Republicans today. Now,
whether you or I have our questions about going into it a country, taking a
head of state, the president did do what he said and what the Republicans
said he couldn`t do. So, putting aside whatever questions progressives may
have, how do you handle how the Republicans are handling this?

ELLISON: Well, from the very beginning, I supported this policy based
on what Libyan-Americans in my district and all over this country were
telling me, Gadhafi`s a brutal dictator, the revolution was organic. It
was Libyans who wanted him out. They had no legal means to get him out,
they couldn`t vote him out.

And the president stepped in at the right time. If the president
didn`t step in when he did, Gadhafi would have slaughtered people as he
promised he would do in Benghazi, and he was marching toward taking those
folks out when NATO, with U.S. leadership, got involved.

So I`m one of those who may not agree with everybody who had
criticism. I was always in favor of this policy. But my position is based
on talking to Libyan-Americans.

SHARPTON: Now, you represent a district that Libyans live in. You
are a Muslim.


SHARPTON: And you are saying that the Libyans in your district told
that you they felt that Mr. Gadhafi was in fact going to wipe out and kill
thousands upon thousands of Libyans.

ELLISON: Absolutely. We had several community forums on this, and
they were quite clear.

And tonight, it is shocking that Republicans, you know, don`t want to
give the president any credit. I mean, here, the president has dispatched
Anwar al-Awlaki, Osama bin Laden, and now his help to lead NATO to deal
with Gadhafi. Of course, this has been Libyan-led. And they still have
nothing good to say about the president regarding national security.

SHARPTON: When this happened, let me show you what some of the
Republicans were saying, Congressman Ellison.

When the president started this policy, this was the reaction.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: He waited too long. There is no doubt
in my mind about it.



Gadhafi ought to depart. It`s not clear to me that this administration`s
up to the task.



GINGRICH: This is about as badly run as any foreign operation we`ve
seen I think in our lifetime.



ROMNEY: Thus far, the president`s been unable to construct a foreign
policy, any foreign policy. He`s tentative, indecisive, timid and nuanced.



SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: This whole deterioration in
the Mideast is because of indecisive leadership.


SHARPTON: Indecisive, timid, and Mr. Cheney says he`s not up for the

ELLISON: Well, I think he`s doing pretty good. I mean, the fact is,
they were waving American flags in Benghazi. That never happened when Dick
Cheney was in office.

The fact is, is that I think the president is actually handling the
Arab Spring, the Arab awakening, pretty well, because the last thing we
need to do is inject ourselves in some sort of assertive way. This needs
to be an organic freedom struggle, it needs to be led by Libyans. And in
the Egyptian case, Egyptians. In Tunisians` case, Tunisians.

But America is a 200-year-old democracy who has gone through a lot of
changes -- civil rights, women`s right, slavery, everything. We`ve gone
through a lot of changes. We should be available to say, look, we`re here
to help, but we can never usurp the prerogative of the people, and I think
President Obama was wise to keep the thing led by locals in those

SHARPTON: Now, you keep stressing the point this was led by locals.
Let me also show you the cost to America.

Look at this difference, Congressman Ellison, on what the president
here spent. The cost of toppling Gadhafi, the military operation to date,
$1.1 billion. Zero U.S. troop fatalities.

Now, let`s see what Mr. Bush and the up-to-the-task Mr. Cheney spent
on topping Saddam Hussein -- $805.5 billion, and 4,481 U.S. troop

It seems like a kind of perverse way to be up for the task.

ELLISON: Well, you know, and that`s only Iraq. I mean, there`s 1,700
dead in Afghanistan.

I mean, the fact is, is that they presided over the worst foreign
policy decade in American history, Bush and Cheney. And I don`t expect
anything out of them other than character assassination and slander.

They`ve proven that they have absolutely no idea how to lead this
country or anything else. But President Obama I think has demonstrated
some very rational and wise approaches to the matter.

I mean, his speech in Cairo, his speech in Turkey, all signaling that
the United States is on the side of democratic movements. And then, of
course, we saw those democratic movements take flight all across the

And right now, Al, look at it this way -- right now, Reverend, we have
Egypt, Libya, Tunisia right in a row, democratic reforms going on in
Morocco, democratic reforms going on -- movements going on. And I can tell
you, he`s got people like Bashar al-Assad nervous, because he knows that
his day is coming up. I mean, if Obama didn`t get into this thing with
Libya, and Gadhafi made a big comeback, he would have -- what Obama would
have done then is signaled to Assad and Saleh in Yemen that, if they are
brutal enough, they might be able to maintain power.

I might also give the president some credit for holding up the $53
million in arms sales to Bahrain, which has been abusing its majority Shia

So I think the president is doing the right thing. He`s tried to make
progress on Israel/Palestine, has been frustrated in that regard, but it`s
not because he doesn`t want to make progress. He`s trying to make

He`s just being undermined by even some people in our own country.
But the president`s, I think, Middle East policy has been very successful.
And if he gets another term, I think we`re going to see peace between
Israel and Palestine one day.

SHARPTON: Congressman Keith Ellison, thank you for your time.

ELLISON: You bet.

SHARPTON: And again, my point is that, whether we agree with going in
(ph) on sovereignty or not, the president went in, did what he said. You
would at least think that the doubters and the critics would at least say
he did achieve that.

The Justice Department is investigating whether Gadhafi personally
ordered the Lockerbie bombing in 1988. Two hundred and seventy people were
killed when Pan Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Libyan
regime eventually admitted it was responsible, and some Libyan officials
said Gadhafi himself ordered the attack, but he went unpunished.

Just two years ago, the only man convicted in the attack was returned
to Libya with a hero`s welcome.

Joining me now is Brian Flynn. He lost his brother, John Patrick, in
the Lockerbie bombing and is vice president of the Victims of Pan Am 103.

Brian, thank you for joining me tonight. And let me ask you, from the
human side -- you lost your brother -- what do you feel tonight?

BRIAN FLYNN, LOST BROTHER IN PAN AM 103: It`s funny, when we first
heard about it, the reaction was excitement. And it`s a little bit sick to
think that someone is excited about someone being brutally murdered.

And the reality is that it wasn`t just the fact that justice was
finally served, even in such a brutal fashion with Gadhafi. What was
important, that it was tied directly to the freeing of the Libyan people,
and the fact that we finally did something about it.

Because, as you know, for 23 years, I`ve been saying -- I fell like
Cassandra -- somebody`s got to take a strong stance against Gadhafi. He`s
behind an act of terrorism, he attacked the United States, the largest
terrorist attack prior to September 11th. We`ve got to do something to
stop it.

And I think it took us a long time to get the political will. But
what`s great about this is that the Libyan people freed themselves. We
just helped them do it.

SHARPTON: So your feeling is that the fact that this opens the door
to the Libyan people to democracy, or some form of self-government, is what
make this is a victory, more than a revenge of seeing a man dragged through
the streets and killed.

FLYNN: Right. Yes.

It`s always easy to say and somewhat morally bankrupt to say, oh, I
just want him killed, I want to see him dragged through the streets. And,
in fact, there have been moments when I felt like that. I felt like Sonny
Corleone, that I wanted him dead, I wanted his family dead, I wanted
everyone dead.

I think in this case what we`ve seen is something far greater than
that, and I think that as you were just referencing, the Obama
administration -- the U.S. government -- there are so many patriots that
have stuck by us for 23 years who wouldn`t let any administration --
everyone was trying to get into Libya. Everyone wanted their oil.

We had a situation, and you might remember this. We were here at the
U.N. protesting against Gadhafi speaking. And across the park, while we
were protesting, were a group of Americans led by Louis Farrakhan who were
paid by Gadhafi to sit there and cheer pro-Gadhafi slogans against us. We
had Americans --

SHARPTON: But were they against you all, or were they saying that --

FLYNN: No, it wasn`t against us. It was all about how great Gadhafi

SHARPTON: Well, let me ask you this. Your view tonight is what of
President Obama?

FLYNN: I`m thrilled with President Obama. I`ve never been prouder to
be an American, and perhaps because it`s very personal for me.

But against very challenging circumstances -- you referred to some of
it earlier -- there was a situation where everyone said, listen, we can`t
afford it, we`ve already invaded two Muslim countries, this doesn`t make
any sense. And when we went into Iraq, I was completely against the
invasion of Iraq, most importantly because Hussein had never committed one
act of terrorism against the United States. He never attacked us.

The person who did attack us, Moammar Gadhafi, was a few countries
over, and we hadn`t done anything against him. And, in fact, we were
trying to coddle up to him. And that was something, that betrayal we felt.
And as you know, most recently, when they released Megrahi back to them,
talk about the ultimate betrayal.

SHARPTON: Now, have you talked to other family members of --
surviving family members of those killed?

FLYNN: Oh, yes.

SHARPTON: What are their feelings? Do they share your same

FLYNN: Yes, and it`s been a great organization. I mean, a lot of
times after a tragedy like this, people try to come together to get
something done. And this ordinary group of people came together and I
think accomplished something quite extraordinary.

Not only did we sue and find Pan Am guilty of willful misconduct,
which is very difficult to do, we then had the U.N. sanctions put on. We
then lobbied to have a specific U.S. law, the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, put
in place to put more pressure on the Gadhafi regime to release Megrahi to
the Scottish authorities.

That`s a group of people who have come together, and today I heard
from a lot of them. There was this unbelievable mixed emotions of a little
bit of excitement and, to be honest, celebration because it was with the
Libyan people, because his death, our modicum of justice, was related to
the freeing of their people.

SHARPTON: Brian Flynn, thank you so much for your time, and of course
condolences for your loss.

FLYNN: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Republicans are about to go on record against
creating jobs for firefighters, first responders and teachers. Senator
Barbara Boxer will be here live.

And folks, pop some popcorn. The GOP race is getting nasty.

Rick Perry and Mitt Romney unload on each other. They`ve got to be
smiling over in the White House.

Plus, Tyler Perry, one-on-one. He defied the critics and built an
empire. Now he weighs in on politics and President Obama.


SHARPTON: Republicans, you`re about to get a chance to step up and do
what`s right.

The president promised his jobs bill in little pieces. So here comes.

The Senate is expected to vote tonight on the $35 billion bill. And
let`s be very clear what`s at stake here -- nearly 400,000 education jobs,
thousands of cop and firefighter jobs.

Folks, these people save lives. All of it`s paid for with a half-
percent tax on millionaires.

Republicans, vote against this at your own risk.


OBAMA: If they vote against these proposals, if they say no to steps
we know that will put people back to work right now, they`re not going to
have to answer to me. They`re going to have to answer to you.


SHARPTON: If you`re a Republican up for re-election, pay attention to
this. All the senators like Scott Brown, Olympia Snowe, and Dean Heller,
you really want to vote against 400,000 jobs?

Joining me now is Senator Barbara Boxer, a Democrat from California.

Senator, thanks for your time tonight.

SEN. BARBARA BOXER (D), CALIFORNIA: Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Are you expecting a vote tonight? And what do you expect
will happen?

BOXER: I do expect a vote late tonight. It could go over until
tomorrow. I think we`ll have it tonight.

And I think it`s the same old, same old, Reverend. If they wanted to
work with us, they wouldn`t be filibustering this mini jobs bill, which is,
as you said, 400,000 jobs for our first responders and our firefighters and
our teachers.

They`re forcing us to get 60 votes just to take up the measure. If
they were going to work with us -- they said, a few of them, that they
would work with us on pieces of the Obama jobs package -- they`re not.

And I don`t know whether you`re aware of this, but they have offered
up their plan tonight which we`re also going to vote on. And you know what
that particular plan does?

SHARPTON: Tell us.

BOXER: It cuts $30 billion in the next 60 days that has to be
identified, and cut not out of defense, domestics discretionary. And if
that $30 billion were to be taken out of personnel, that would be a loss of
200,000 jobs.

SHARPTON: So not only -- let me get this --

BOXER: And it`s unbelievable.

SHARPTON: -- Senator Boxer, because this is unbelievable.

Not only are they not voting to save or provide 400,000 jobs --
they`re filibustering that -- they have actually made a proposal that would
reduce 200,000 jobs?

BOXER: That`s exactly right. I was astounded. I was in my office
just working through it.

What they do is they give a break to government contractors. And in
addition to that, they order the OMB to come up with $30 billion of more
cuts to domestic discretionary. Now, that`s the FBI, that`s the Border
Patrol, that`s education, that`s roads. That`s what they`re doing.

It`s unbelievable.

SHARPTON: They`re going to cut FBI, they`re going to cut law
enforcement, they`re going to not vote and continue filibustering on first
responders and teachers.

So, if they had their way tonight, Senator Boxer, you`re telling the
American people it would be a net loss of 600,000 jobs, yet they say they
want to create jobs?

BOXER: That`s what I`m saying. But Reverend, this started even
before the Obama jobs bill.

I stood on the floor, on my feet for two days, with the Economic
Development Act, which would have meant a great number of -- half a million
jobs over a period of time. And it`s a program that`s been in place almost
forever. And they filibustered that.

They filibustered Mary Landrieu`s small business innovations bill
which, in the past, has helped 19,000 businesses. They did shut down for a
period of time the FAA. You know that.


BOXER: And they stopped making some fixes to airport towers and

I have to say, Reverend, 75 percent of the American people -- you`ve
shown us this on your show -- support this jobs bill that`s before the
Senate tonight.

SHARPTON: And every aspect of it, 54 percent support infrastructure
spending; 56 percent, taxing millionaires; 58 percent payroll, tax cuts; 63
percent support money for teachers and first responders.

And Senator, these are Republicans. The percentage that I`m giving
you are Republicans polled.

Are any Republicans in the Senate, are any in the hallway, in the
private conversations that you`re having, are any of them saying, wait a
minute, I`m not really with this? I mean, are any of them talking

BOXER: Well, at this point, they`re sticking together. They`re
following Mitch McConnell, they`re following Eric Cantor, they`re following
John Boehner. That`s what they`re doing.

And we know what Mitch McConnell said. Don`t we? He said it. I have
to give him credit because he hasn`t taken it back. The only important
thing to him is making sure Barack Obama doesn`t get a second term.

And the irony of what they`re doing seems to me it means that he will
get a second term, because when 75 percent of the people support his jobs
bill -- this is what the polls showed tonight, that this particular bill to
hire firefighters and teachers and first responders, overwhelming support
among all the American people. If they go against this tonight -- and all
indications are that they will -- I mean, maybe they`re listening to us,
maybe they`ll change their mind -- they`re going against the American
people, and the president`s right when he said they`ll have to answer to
the American people.

SHARPTON: Well, not only are 75 percent of the American people with
this. Let`s look at the reality of where the American people have
suffered. Look at these new figures that have come out of 2010.

The median paycheck in 2010, Senator Boxer, is down 1.2 percent. The
number of Americans without any work, down 500,000 -- is up, rather,
500,000 that don`t have work. Yet, the number of Americans who made over
$50 million is up nine percent.

So it is clear that the middle class and the poor are getting poorer.
There are more people unemployed, but the rich, the above $50 million, are
going up. And they want to continue to cut, cut, cut.

This is insane policy.

BOXER: Yes, it`s awful. And I want to just say, I haven`t had a
chance to speak with you off line, but I love what you do when you show
these facts and figures, because a lot of the people, they hear us
speaking, but when they see these things, imagine -- that`s why we see
people out on Wall Street. There`s a sense of unfairness throughout the

When 400 families are worth more than 50 percent of the rest of us,
there is something very wrong here, and it`s dangerous for our nation. We
are a great nation because of our middle class.

And when I was a kid and you were a kid, we knew -- I knew if I played
by the rules, you know, I`d be OK. If I studied hard, if I got my degree,
I could do well.

And my parents struggled, my mother never even graduated from high
school. And yet she knew that her daughters would do fine. And we`re
losing that.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

BOXER: And that`s the America that I love, and that`s the reason that
I went into politics, to make sure that dream is alive. And we celebrate
it, you know, Martin Luther King, and we think about his words. We`ve got
to get back to that time when we all understand that this government should
work for all the people.

SHARPTON: Well, Senator Boxer, thank you for your time, and thank you
for continuing the fight.

BOXER: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Hang in there for the American people.

BOXER: I will.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the hottest political fight in the nation just got
hotter. It`s Romney versus Perry, no holds barred. And they`re cheering
them on in the White House.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Get out the popcorn. The
GOP race is getting nasty. Willard Mitt Romney and Rick Perry are turning
the campaign into their own personal grudge match.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We have the lowest number of
kids as a percentage uninsured of any state in America. You have the
highest. I`m still speaking.


ROMNEY: I`m looking forward to finding your facts on that because
that doesn`t.

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

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

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

ROMNEY: Well, it`s different than what the governor put in his book
just, what, six months ago.

PERRY: You hired illegals in your home.

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



SHARPTON: And the hits just keep on coming. This week Romney
released this web ad attacking Perry.


ROMNEY: This wasn`t before -- he was before the social programs from
the stand points of he was before -- whether or not we`re going to have
this policy or that policy. We don`t need any plan.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Perry really did throw up all over himself in the

PERRY: The fact is Americans understand faith.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Rick Perry plunging in the polls, rolling the

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: If he would just calm down. He seemed very


SHARPTON: Now, Romney pulled the ad, but Perry fired right back.


PERRY: I understand my life in politics.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I hate to lose.

ROMNEY: I don`t think I`ve ever hired an illegal in my life. We
hired a lawn company to mow our lawn and they had illegal immigrants
working there. I`m running for office for Pete`s sake, I can`t have

credibility, Mitt.

ROMNEY: There are a lot of reasons not to elect me.


SHARPTON: Of course, Democrats are loving this, so keep fighting,
guys. Didn`t you see him put his hand on you, Rick? And whatever do you,
don`t listen to wise man Newt Gingrich.


probably not the road to the White House.


SHARPTON: Now joining me, Nia-Malika Henderson, political reporter
for "The Washington Post," and Bob Franken, King Features syndicated
columnist. Thank you both for being here tonight. Nia, it seems
especially personal these men do not like each other. Why?

they are two men with pretty big egos that are vying for the same position
from very different backgrounds. Perry of course from Texas, grew up
pretty poor. And Romney on the other hand grew up pretty wealthy and
maintains his worth. I think his worth about $250 million, went to
Harvard. Perry went to Texas A&M. So, they`re very different culturally.
But even beyond that, they`ve had some personal beef all along the way as
they`ve risen in republican politics, as they were governors together.

Romney at one point hired an aide that was an enemy of Perry and at
one point Perry shouted out Romney in his book fed up. And blamed him for
banning the boy scouts from their Olympics when he was head of the Utah
Olympics. So, there`s all this personal beef and I think we really saw it
boil over in a very dramatic way in that debate on Tuesday. And some of
Romney`s friends said that Perry clearly got under Romney`s skin and he
very much looked like a thin skinned and agitated person up there as Perry
was going after him.

SHARPTON: Bob, this acrimony can only help the Democrats. And I
mean, he literally was like almost condescending, and at one point placed
his hand on Perry`s shoulder. I mean, where I come from in Brooklyn,
somebody put their hand on you during an argument, that`s a whole other
signal. Not that I`m trying to excite anything but I mean, Bob, how do you
read all of this?

BOB FRANKEN, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: I thought it was kind of touching
actually. But the fact is, is that who could also benefit from this is
Herman Cain who probably would describe it as asine-9-9-9. And what
confuses me here is Nia, I know what you say but quite frankly, I think
these guys have a lot in common. Both have big hair. One is a little bit
country, the other one is country club. And both of them are accusing the
other of a lot of flip-flopping. On the one hand, you have Romney pointing
out that Rick Perry is a reformed democrat who had supported Al Gore.
That`s the implication in one commercial. And Perry is suggesting that
Romney is a reformed moderate or pretending he is, that he was, and this is
a very scornful term to conservatives, a RINO, which means republican in
name only.

SHARPTON: Well, Nia, I mean, Bob has a point. Look at the polls.
The latest GOP poll shows Perry is floundering. They have Romney at 30
percent, Cain at 26, Perry at 13 percent. So, you have Romney who people
say flip-flops and Perry`s just flopping.

HENDERSON: That`s true. He very much is. He came in with so much
energy and fanfare and shot to the top of the polls immediately. And then
those debate performances that were so poor are really affected his
candidacy and of course Romney was all too happy to point that out in the
debate saying that, you know, no wonder Perry was getting so testy in those
debates, because he had so many poor debate performances. But I think in
some ways, this does play into the White House`s hands. I got some e-

SHARPTON: Yes, that`s what I want to know. What does it mean for the

HENDERSON: I think for the president, I mean, I got e-mails from
Democrats who were very happy with the way Mitt Romney especially came off
in this debate. He came off as haughty, as out of touch, like the Harvard
hall monitor who knew everything, he was, you know, calling on Anderson
Cooper to, you know, to rescue him as he was in this debate with Rick
Perry. So they were very happy with the way he came off especially. And I
think just in general all the Republicans up there really bickering and not
attacking the president. That`s the thing. Romney had been so disciplined
in these other debates at attacking the president. And here you got in to
all sorts of fights with Santorum, with Newt Gingrich and of course there
with Rick Perry. So, the White House and Democrats are very happy to see

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, let me show you this. Because in case people
think this may be a short lived fight. Look at the money trail. Look at
how much has been raised. And when you look at the fact that Rick Perry
has in the third quarter, fund raising, it raised $17 million, Mitt Romney,
14 million. This can go on for some time because Rick Perry no matter how
low he is in the polls has $17 million in one quarter to spend, this food
fight can go on a long time because Mr. Perry can buy a lot of groceries.

FRANKEN: Well, it kind of speaks to another similarity between the
two and that is their very, very tight relationship with big business. I
mean, you have Mitt Romney who calls corporations people and of course Rick
Perry would probably call them just plain folks. But you have two people
who are really diametric opposites going for the same nomination. And what
Newt Gingrich who thought that he would ever be peace maker talking about
maximum bickering. What you have is Republicans acting for all the world
like they`re Democrats.

SHARPTON: Now, Nia, it also raises another thing that I was thinking
about watching the last debate. They clashed so vociferously and then
everyone kind of started taking apart Mr. Cain`s 9-9-9. If this keeps
going out of the three top contenders, it would be hard to imagine if this
acrimony continues that they can even make a united slate. You couldn`t
conceive of a Romney/Perry slate and almost even Cain if this continues to
go this way.

HENDERSON: Yes, it`s true. I mean, it so reminds me of the
Obama/Clinton fight that went on in 2008 and how there were so many
concerns that they wouldn`t be able to bring that ticket together and bring
those different wings of the party together after that was all over. Of
course that did happen, Clinton gave that gracious speech about Obama and
conceding that she had lost that nomination. So, you know, I think, yes,
this will go on for some time, but I can`t even conceive necessarily of a
Perry/Romney ticket at this point because there is so much bad blood
between these guys.

SHARPTON: Not if they have to appear together. Nia-Malika Henderson
and Bob Franken. Thank you for your time tonight.

HENDERSON: Take care, thanks.

SHARPTON: Ahead, we introduce you to this 96-year-old victim of voter
suppression. How the fight for her right is heating up. And one of
Hollywood`s biggest stars drops by. Tyler Perry on show business and the
business of politics, next.


SHARPTON: I had a great time on "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart
last night, but it wasn`t all laughs. The issue of race and politics came
up, coming up.


SHARPTON: Earlier this week, I had a chance to talk with one of the
biggest stars on the planet. "Forbes Magazine" just named him the richest
man in entertainment. This year, he`s making more money than anyone else
in Hollywood, $130 million so far. I`m talking about George Clooney, nope.
Brad Pitt, no say Brad. Tom Cruise, no. Actually, I`m talking about this


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Girl, you better answer me.


SHARPTON: He`s Tyler Perry. Actor, director, playwright, screen
writer, producer, his films have grossed $500 million worldwide. Perry`s
Atlanta based production company, Tyler Perry`s studios produces
blockbusters like 2005`s Diary of a Mad Black Woman. The critically
acclaimed precious. And the highly popular media movies. And he`s one of
TV`s busiest producers churning out hit comedies House of Pain, "Meet the
Browns" and starting next month, a new TV show called, "For Better of


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But, you know, I stopped off real quick to get
something and then got back in the car and she was butt naked.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: And what did you do?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I didn`t do nothing.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: But I, you know, I stopped off real quick and get
something and the.


SHARPTON: Tyler Perry, thanks for being with us tonight.

TYLER PERRY, ACTOR: It was my pleasure.

SHARPTON: Let me start with you went from literally nowhere in life
to building yourself to the biggest artist in Hollywood. How did that

PERRY: I tell you, what made it so great is nothing but the grace of
God as I often say, but what made it so awesome for me is I started with
this little thing called the -- organization, it`s been around for a very,
very long time. And I became very famous among my own people. I couldn`t
walk down the street in a certain parts of the south. I get to Hollywood
and nobody knows who I am. So it allowed me to be able to make some deals
that were under -- because people underestimated, allowed me to make some
great deals and retained a lot of ownership. So it was that way going in.

SHARPTON: One of the things, though, that I think and I talked about
is that you maintain your authenticity. You didn`t try to become
different. You projected and you brought the average American, both
African-American and American working class family on the stage and on the
screen and people saw their uncle, their aunt. You reflected light as it
was and didn`t bow to the elitist notion of what they saw as life.

PERRY: Right. And that is what has afforded me so much success.
It`s because people want to see images of themselves as they are. Not
watered down. You know, there`s a great town of New York, there`s a great
town of L.A., but the whole country is in the middle and a lot of people
don`t look like what you see on television. So, what I wanted to do was
bring real stories, my own stories, not walk away from it. Too many of us,
especially as African-Americans, we get a little the intelligence of
society, you know, do well in school, go on and we move away from where we
come from. And I never did that. I`ve always embraced it and I always
tried to bring it along with me.

SHARPTON: No, and not only never did it, you built a studio, the only
one I know that has done that, which is why National Action Network is on
and you`re in town, you provided real jobs, NAACP gave you the -- the
people in the trenches fight everyday understand what your value has been
and you have in a very quiet way, not only supported these groups. I will
never forget that when the kids couldn`t swim in the pool in Pennsylvania,
you took them to Disneyland. We looked up in Jena, Louisiana when we saw
discrimination case, you didn`t send a check. You came in march. So, not
only are the elitist that question you don`t understand your authenticity,
we don`t see them. You provide jobs, you`re there in the marches. I mean,
you`ve never lost your connection. And people don`t know -- and you tell
us don`t talk about it. But I`m talking about it tonight because I think
people need to know about it.

PERRY: I appreciate it, Reverend, I really do. And for me, what it`s
about more than anything is just being able to tell stories, positive
stories that uplift and encourage. So, all of that other stuff that comes
along with it, there`s a responsibility. When you`ve had so many millions
of people who love what you do and support you, there`s a responsibility to
be a voice in the community to be a voice for in justice. So I feel that
responsibility. I take it on and I do not take it lightly. So that`s why
I`m receiving this award is really fantastic.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this. You are also very helpful to the
president and a lot of people didn`t know that and you don`t get involved
in a lot of politics, but you sort of promised what he`s doing. How have
you felt about how he`s doing so far as president?

PERRY: Listen, I think to have this wonderful president that we have
Barack Obama, and have him come into office dealing with all that he had to
deal with, maintaining, managing and holding on to this, I think it`s been
fantastic. I don`t think we could have asked for anything better because
it took many years to get to the situation this country was in and he`s
only had a short time and he managed to stabilize it, which I think is

SHARPTON: When I talk to others like Cicely Tyson who`s been a star,
and who tell me that you took artists that people had put on the show, and
made them relevant again, gave them a living, when I go to Atlanta and see
people working every day that wouldn`t have had a job. And when I think of
how you have revolutionized the economy of how we deal with our leisure
world, it is something that I think is going to be kind to you in history
because everybody innovates, you know, we just dedicated the Martin Luther
King memorial this weekend and he is revered now, but people forget when
he`s reviled. Anyone that makes a new move will always going to face
controversy, but in the end, it`s readjusting society that breakthroughs
happen. And you`ve really broke through for cultural phenomenon unlike
anybody in these times. And I don`t know if that`s what you had in mind,
but that`s what you`re going to leave behind.

PERRY: Wow. Thank you. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Thank you. Tyler Perry.

PERRY: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Thank you so much.

Ahead, turning back the tide of voter suppression. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We`ve been talking a lot about the GOP effort to suppress
the vote nationwide with new voter ID bills proposed in 34 states. Now
Democrats in Tennessee are taking a stand. Two statehouse Democrats have
filed a bill to repeal that state`s photo ID law. It`s a step forward on
behalf of voters like Dorothy Cooper, the 96-year-old we talked to earlier
this month. She was denied an ID to vote when she didn`t have her marriage
certificate. And she told us on this show it was the biggest voting
obstacle she ever faced.


SHARPTON: Even during Jim Crow days you didn`t have any problems
voting in Tennessee?

DOROTHY COOPER, TENNESSEE VOTER: No, I haven`t had any problems at
all until this time. This is the only time that I`ve had problems.


SHARPTON: Dorothy Cooper may have trouble voting, but gun lovers
won`t. Under Tennessee law, a gun permit allows you to vote. But not
accepted for voting are public housing IDs, Medicaid cards and college IDs.
So, in Tennessee, gun owners have an easier time voting than people like
Dorothy Cooper. And this issue is about rights, not about race. Last
night I went on "The Daily Show" and I told Jon Stewart the same thing.


JON STEWART, HOST, "THE DAILY SHOW": A possible presidential race,
two African-Americans squaring off against each other has to be -- feel
like an achievement for people who worked in the civil rights movement.

SHARPTON: It is an achievement, but I think it`s also a good point
where people that said that guys like me were only supporting Obama because
he was black, well, Cain is southern black, knowing the racial parents and
I wouldn`t support Cain if he was running against a white guy.



SHARPTON: It`s about what people stand for. And it`s about having
the right to express yourself. The explosion in voter ID laws is not an
issue of black versus white. It`s right versus wrong. And it must stop.

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


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