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PoliticsNation, Friday, October 21st, 2011

Read the transcript from the Friday show

Guests: Howard Dean, Ed Rendell, Alex Wagner, Bob Strum, Erin McPike, Judith Browne-Dianis, Mike Turner

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: A promise made, a mission accomplished.


of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.

SHARPTON (voice-over): After eight years of war in Iraq, President
Obama says all troops are coming home. But Republicans still criticize
this commander-in-chief.

McCain says it`s harmful and sad. Romney calls it an astonishing

No confidence in our commander-in-chief? Why don`t you just ask this
guy what he thinks?

Tonight, an exclusive interview with Howard Dean on Iraq and all that
it cost this nation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The motion is not agreed to.

SHARPTON: Republicans blocked jobs for Americans again.

SEN. OLYMPIA SNOWE (R), MAINE: Rome is burning.

SHARPTON: You`re right, Senator. So why not put out the fire?

Ed Rendell and Alex Wagner on Republicans against the middle class.

And Willards`s newest flip-flop.

closely with the NRA.

I don`t see eye to eye with the NRA.

SHARPTON: With acrobatics like these, he should be in the Olympics.

POLITICS NATION starts right now.


Welcome to POLITICS NATION. I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, the war in Iraq will soon be over.

President Obama said today American troops will complete a total
withdrawal by the end of the year. It`s a war that has taken a terrible
toll on this country.

There are still 39,000 U.S. troops serving in Iraq to date. Over
4,400 have lost their lives and over 32,000 have been wounded, all at a
cost of more than $712 billion to American taxpayers.

It`s a war that many of us warned would be a horrible, tragic mistake,
a war that was packaged and sold to the American people with lies and fear.


CONDOLEEZZA RICE, SECRETARY OF STATE: But we don`t want the smoking
gun to be a mushroom cloud.



alleged that Mohamed Atta, the lead attacker, met in Prague with a senior
Iraqi intelligence official five months before the attack.



government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant
quantities of uranium from Africa.


SHARPTON: It`s a war that incredibly we were told would be easy.


CHENEY: My believe is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re dealing with a country that can really
finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.



BUSH: In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have


SHARPTON: We, as Americans, got used to hearing a lot about the Iraq
War that just didn`t add up. But four years ago, we saw a leader stand up
and promise to right this wrong. And he`s kept that promise.


OBAMA: As president, I want us to fight on the right battlefield, and
what that means is getting out of Iraq.



OBAMA: The long war in Iraq will come to an end by the end of this
year. Across America, our servicemen and women will be reunited with their

Today, I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for
the holidays.


SHARPTON: I remember in the wake of 9/11 -- I lived in New York, I
was here the day it happened -- and I remember when I began hearing after
that then-President Bush start talking about going into Iraq, weapons of
mass destruction, and how I and others said, isn`t this misguided?

I remember starting early with other activists in an anti-war
movement. And when they gathered, we were called unpatriotic, we were
lambasted. We ended up being right, there were no weapons of mass
destruction. We were right that American lives were lost in vein.

Though we love the troops, we love them enough not to see them
misguided, today is not a victory for those that stood up, it`s a tragedy
to those that were lost, their families. And it should be a day that those
that were responsible for this should reflect and not try to justify what
is unjustifiable.

But joining me now is a man who had the courage to speak out against
the war when many others were silent, Howard Dean, former governor of
Vermont, and former chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Thank you for coming on tonight, Governor.

HOWARD DEAN (D), FMR. VERMONT GOVERNOR: Thanks for having me on, Al.

SHARPTON: I remember in 2004, both of us were in the presidential
Democratic presidential primaries.

DEAN: We were.

SHARPTON: And we were in the minority of those even in the primary on
the Democratic side that were against the war. And you championed that all
over the country.

How did you feel today when you saw and heard the president announce
the troops would come home at the end of this year?

DEAN: Well, the president made that promise when he ran, and he kept
the promise.

Look, I didn`t oppose the war because I`m against wars. I actually am
fairly hawkish. But we were not told the truth.

We were simply lied to by high officials, and I don`t think you send
people to war and ask families to make sacrifices without telling them the
truth. And unfortunately, while we got Saddam Hussein, which is just
great, we also have left the Middle East a worse place than we found it,
because Iran is now the leading power. Maliki is a puppet of Iranians.
He`s also committed mass murder of unarmed Iranian dissidents who helped
us, and is threatening to do more.

So this is a real tragedy. I agree with you.

I do want to say, however, that I`m proud of our troops for doing what
they were asked to do. They didn`t make the decision to go, and they did
their duty when they went.

But we have made -- this is an enormous geopolitical blunder. I think
the Republicans have no idea what they`re talking about.

The irony, Al, of all this is that our troops are coming home at the
end of the year because George Bush negotiated that agreement before he
left, and President Obama is carrying it out.

SHARPTON: Right. And let me say this, you are absolutely right, w
are anti-war, not anti-troops.

Troops did what they were ordered to do, and they did a great job.
We`re not anti-troops, we`re anti-this particular war.

But let me show this graph to you, Governor. I thought about it while
you were talking about it.

Look at what it costs the American people. Troops deployed now,
39,000. Total casualties, we lost 4,469 lives. Total troops wounded,
32,213. And it cost the taxpayers $712.2 billion in this misjudgment.

After all of this, John McCain had this to say before the announcement
today. You would think that they would be gracious. Listen to John


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: The fact is that we`re leaving Iraq,
and Iran`s number one priority is all U.S. troops out of Iraq and
Afghanistan. Every military leader has said the president`s plan for
withdrawal is a greater risk.


SHARPTON: Now, as you just stated, George Bush had promised this
timetable. President Obama made the commitment, he`s keeping the

If Bush was still there and had done this, or if a Republican was
there and fulfilled Bush`s comments, we wouldn`t be hearing this. I mean,
is there anything where these people are not partisan?

DEAN: I`m always disappointed when I see politicians of either party
making partisan remarks at the expense of our troops. And I think that`s
what Senator McCain did and that`s what Governor Romney did.

The truth is, our troops did what they were asked to do. George Bush
negotiated our way out of Iraq just as he got us into Iraq. And the fact
is that President Obama is right to do what he did.

The reason we`re bringing our troops home is because the Iraqis would
not guarantee them immunity from prosecution. Maliki is a war criminal.
He will eventually end up in The Hague because of his attacks on unarmed
Iranian dissidents, and he promises he`s going to do more of that.

This is not a place we ought to be. This is not a place who deserves
American troops to keep order over there. And it certainly isn`t a place
that deserves more American dollars when we need those here at home so we
can have some jobs.

So I`m deeply disappointed in the Republicans. I would have thought
at least for one day they would have been gracious enough to be respectful
of the sacrifices that our troops have made and leave politics out of this.

SHARPTON: Well, gracious enough. Well, let me show you what Willard
Mitt Romney, the front-runner of the Republicans this year, let me show you
what he says.

He says, "President Obama`s astonishing failure to secure an orderly
transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were
won through the blood and sacrifice of the thousands of American men and

What is he talking about, Governor?

DEAN: Well, you know, I don`t think he knows what he`s talking about.
The truth is, Mitt Romney -- unlike Senator McCain, Mitt Romney had never
served in the armed forces.

Now, the fact is, this is not over. You mentioned there were 32,000
people wounded. Those people, some of them are very badly wounded. And
$700 billion is not what the bill is going to be.

We owe it to those 32,000 people who came home badly wounded to make
sure that they can live as useful lives as they possibly can. So this is
going to be a much more expensive war, both for those families and for the
United States government, than the $700 billion.

And let`s not forget those 32,000 people. That happened in Vietnam,
in my generation, all those folks came home and many of them were
forgotten. And Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was sort of pretended it
didn`t happen. Agent Orange, pretended it really didn`t cause any trouble.


DEAN: Let`s not make that mistake again for the troops that are
wounded and that are home.

SHARPTON: And not to mention -- and we`ll be talking about this later
in the program -- they`re going to need jobs and housing.

DEAN: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And these same people that love them at war seem to, when
they get home and need a job, seem to vote differently. It`s kind of a
different kind of love.

Let me ask you a question --

DEAN: Well, let`s see what those Republicans who killed the
president`s jobs bill want to do for jobs for veterans.

SHARPTON: That`s exactly my point. And that`s exactly what we`ll be

Let me ask you another question.

President Obama came after President Bush. President Bush was the one
who was president when 9/11 happened, chased Bin Laden. President Obama
got Bin Laden. President Obama takes the troops out of Iraq.

It seems that in foreign affairs, he`s been able to deliver -- whether
we agree or not agree on all the foreign affairs positions he`s taken, he
certainly has kept his word in what he has said. Doesn`t he deserve marks
for that?

DEAN: Well, one thing that the Republicans are not going to be able
do which they often do is attack the president on his status as commander
in chief.

Gadhafi is dead. Osama bin Laden is dead. Several over other high-
ranking terrorists in the al Qaeda organization are dead. We`re out of

This president has had a terrific year in foreign policy. He has
really done what commanders-in-chief are supposed to do.

And I think we really are safer now than we were. And we`re also
about to get out of Iraq, which is something that I think is on the agenda
of most people.

The other thing that`s interesting, politically speaking, my guess is
that Governor Romney and Senator McCain are in a very small minority of
Americans. Most people believe we have no business in Iraq or Afghanistan
because we`ve got our problems here at home that we`ve got to fix first.

How about the Republicans stop declaring war on the Democrats and on
President Obama and Congress so we can get some jobs bills passed? And
then we`ll get out of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

SHARPTON: Well, I`m a minister. I have a lot of faith. I don`t know
if they`ll stop declaring war on the Democrats. I`d settle for them to
stop declaring war on the working and middle class.

DEAN: Right.

SHARPTON: But, Governor, you always were more hopeful of them than I

Good to see you, Governor Dean. Thank you. Have a great weekend.

DEAN: Thanks very much.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Republicans just voted against 400,000 jobs for
working class Americans. Folks, the real class warfare in this country,
that`s next.

Plus, Herman Cain officially competing with Willard Romney and Perry
for the flip-flop vote. They just can`t keep their stories straight.

And how we can win the fight against voter suppression one state at a

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.



Let`s take a ride in the Republican time machine.

Here`s Senator Olympia Snowe three days ago.


SNOWE: Rome is burning. And we`re facing the decimation of our
communities, and they want help and they feel that they`re not getting any


SHARPTON: Yes, they want help, Senator. You`re right. Rome is

But just 48 hours later, she lit another match, joining every Senate
Republican in blocking a bill that would have kept thousands of teachers
and first responders on the job.

Their problem? A .5 percent tax on millionaires.

Folks, this is the real class warfare. With 14 million unemployed,
Senator Snowe would rather risk 1,800 teaching jobs just to protect 375
millionaires in her state. But she`s just the tip of the iceberg. You
have a party fighting for the rich while blasting food stamps.


SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R), ALABAMA: No program in our government has
surged out of control more dramatically than food stamps. We cannot do
this. We don`t have the money.


SHARPTON: We don`t have the money. They have money for millionaires,
but not for low and middle income students.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pell Grants have become unsustainable. We don`t
have -- it`s all borrowed money. Look, I worked three jobs after college
to pay off my student loans. I didn`t get grants, I got loans.


SHARPTON: Folks, this is real class warfare, and we can`t let them
get away with it.

Joining me now, Ed Rendell, former Pennsylvania governor and NBC News
political analyst; and Alex Wagner, MSNBC analyst.

Congratulations by the way, Ms. Wagner, on your being assigned as new
host at 12:00 noon show right here on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Thank you. It`s going to brighten up our noon.

A lot of people are going to lose a lot of weight because they`re not
going to lunch. They`re going to be watching you.


WAGNER: The thinning of America.

SHARPTON: The thinning of America.

Ed, are Republicans tanking this economy on purpose? I mean, there`s
no logic to this.

ED RENDELL, NBC NEWS ANALYST: Well, you know, sometimes the facts add
up, and you almost think they are. But I`d like to think it`s because
they`re tone deaf.

They`re tone deaf. They don`t understand the suffering that`s going
on in America.

Senator Sessions says, look, since 2001, food stamps -- dollars we`re
spending, they`ve increased fourfold, and that`s proof that there`s fraud
in the program. Baloney.

Senator, look around. There`s a recession. There are tens of
millions of Americans who are out of work looking for jobs, and some have
given up. That`s the reason the food stamps program has gone up.

Governor Romney said that we should let houses be foreclosed and not
do anything to try to keep the people who are in danger of losing their
houses, just let them be foreclosed, let investors come in and rehabilitate
them and then rent them. He doesn`t understand that a house sometimes is
all people have, that`s their whole life wrapped up in that house. They`re
tone deaf.

Paul Ryan said that you should get three jobs instead of a student
loan to help you pay your college tuition. Has he realized how hard it is
to get one job in this economy?

They`re tone deaf. You wonder whether they live in some sort of

SHARPTON: Or if they`re trying to burst the American economic bubble.

Alex, I waited today with bated breath because Eric Cantor was going
to tell us about economic inequality.

WAGNER: Right.

SHARPTON: Now, he chose to speak to those that were elite. He chose
to going to the Wharton School. And then he canceled because the school
had the audacity to invite real people. He said he would only go if only
the students at Wharton could go.

WAGNER: Right.

SHARPTON: And let me just show you a statement, Ms. Felone (ph), a
spokesperson for him says. "The University of Pennsylvania was unable to
ensure that the attendance policy previously agreed to could be met. The
Majority Leader appreciated the invitation to speak to the students,
faculty, alumni, and other members of the UPenn community."

Now, you`re going to talk about economic inequality, but you don`t
want to talk to the citizens that are going to have to live with this.

WAGNER: Yes, or the pitchfork-wielding mob that is furious with the
fiscal policy that you`re trying to propose for the U.S.

I mean, you have that coming on the heels of the Social Security
Administration is releasing the payroll tax info. And we`re finding out
that 50 percent of this country makes less than $26,000 a year.

SHARPTON: Fifty percent.

WAGNER: Fifty percent. And that in 2010, over 10 million Americans
could not find one hour of work.

There is a crisis happening in America. And the notion that Eric
Cantor is going to the Wharton School of Business to talk about economic
equality is not just tone deaf, you have to think it`s actually calculated,
that the Republican Party really wants to fundamentally change the American
social compact, that the idea of a great society, that providing -- you
know, that providing for the poor and the sick and the disadvantaged is not
something the government should do any longer.

SHARPTON: Well, maybe he understood this. Seventy-two percent -- let
me show you this -- 72 percent say the GOP isn`t doing enough to cooperate
with President Obama. Seventy-two percent say that they should be working

So maybe he understands that a lot of Americans are not on their side
in this whole --


WAGNER: Sure. Undoubtedly, which is why he`s not speaking at any
kind of public forum.

And we`ve seen -- look, throughout the summer we`ve seen protests when
Paul Ryan was having town halls. I mean, there has been considerable
blowback from the people.

SHARPTON: But Governor Rendell, are the people in Pennsylvania
watching this? Could this help President Obama?

RENDELL: Sure. I mean, anybody who looks at this has to question why
a Republican leader doesn`t want to talk to the public.

I mean, isn`t that our job, isn`t that what we were elected to do? We
weren`t elected to talk to selective groups.

The Wharton School certainly is a fine place to talk about the
economy. It`s the best business school in America. But if they want to
invite the public, what`s wrong with that? If you believe what you`re
doing is right, how can you be afraid of the public?

SHARPTON: Now, let me show you something.

You know Congressman Joe Wilson screamed, "You lie!" to the president.
Well, let me show you, "Rev, you lie," that the Republicans have been

A lot of the right-wingers said that most Americans don`t pay taxes.
So I went into the Rev Al POLITICS NATION kitchen and we made a little pie.
And we want to show you the pie, and divide up and show you where the
government gets its money.

Individual income tax, 45 percent. Payroll tax, 36 percent.
Corporate income tax, 12 percent.

So, explain to me, Governor -- you ran a state -- if 45 percent of the
money comes from income tax, and 36 percent from payroll tax, which are
American citizens, how do half of Americans not pay any taxes?

RENDELL: That makes no sense at all. Look, what they`re saying -- of
course they don`t say it -- is that 50 percent of America, or 47 percent,
doesn`t pay any federal income tax. But all those people who work pay
payroll taxes. They also pay excise taxes. They also pay state sales
taxes. They also pay state income tax.

They pay a whole boatload of taxes. They pay property taxes if they
own property or if they rent an apartment that goes into their rent. So
they`re just not telling the truth.

Americans pay taxes. From the poorest to the richest, they pay taxes.
But it`s totally out of whack.

One thing I hope your listeners understand, in the proposed
millionaire`s tax, that`s on everything that a millionaire makes over the
first million. The rate would stay the same on the first million dollars.

So it`s unbelievable that people don`t want to support that as a way
to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in this country. It`s absolutely
unbelievable to me.

SHARPTON: Alex, and the fact that payroll taxes, versus corporate
taxes, it`s 19-15 (ph). Look at that chart, where the amount of payroll
taxes contributed to the government revenue has gone up 25 percent. The
amount of corporate income tax that they contribute to the government has
gone down 15 percent.

WAGNER: And keep in mind, the people that aren`t paying federal
income tax aren`t paying it because they`re living at subsistence levels or
they`re retirees. I mean, these people are living hand to mouth. The idea
that they don`t have enough skin in the game I think is a wild half-truth,
if not a complete outright lie.

SHARPTON: Don`t even let a fact get in the way of a right talking

RENDELL: Don`t even say it`s a half-truth. It`s an outright lie.
They`re saying they don`t pay taxes to the United States of America? They
pay plenty of taxes.

SHARPTON: They lie. You lie. You lie.

Governor Rendell, in a few days, when your watch goes "beep," don`t
worry. That`s me putting my Alex alarm on. It means it`s 12:00 noon, turn

RENDELL: Good luck to you, Alex. Good luck.

WAGNER: Thanks, Governor.

SHARPTON: Ed Rendell, Alex Wagner, thank you for you your time.

And Alex, congratulations again.

WAGNER: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, a 96-year-old woman won her fight against
injustice. Now it`s time to help over five million other Americans who
could lose their right to vote.


SHARPTON: The GOP race is moving straight ahead, but the candidates,
all over the place. Flip-flopping on issues and leaving Tea Party voters
still looking for Mr. Right. The latest reversal comes from Herman Cain.
He says, he`s against abortion. But recently sounded almost pro-choice.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It`s not the government`s
role or anybody else`s role to make that decision. It ultimately gets down
to a choice that that family or that mother has to make, not me as
president, not some politician. Not a bureaucrat.


SHARPTON: Conservatives were furious about that and today Cain went
into damage control mode.


CAIN: I was misinterpreted when I was talking about the whole
abortion thing. I am pro-life on conception. No exceptions. I will sign
anything to defund Planned Parenthood. I would rather correct something
that I said than to try and leave it out there when it`s such that it could
be misinterpreted.


SHARPTON: We`re so glad you clarified that. Meanwhile, the GOP`s
king flip-flopper, Willard Mitt Romney, was out today telling voters about
his stance on gun control. Or should I say his latest stance on gun


amendment and I don`t believe there are any new laws that we need to put in
place that relate to guns at this stage. We have all the laws that are
necessary in that regard. We just need to enforce them.

As governor, I worked closely with the NRA and The Gun Owners Action
League. I don`t line up 100 percent with the NRA. I don`t see eye to eye
with the NRA on every issue. I supported the assault weapon ban.


SHARPTON: Can any of the Republican frontrunners keep their stories
straight? Nope.


thought that HPV was an issue of life. I looked at it as an issue of
saving lives. I still look at it as that.

The -- issue for me was one of cancer. And I made a mistake.


SHARPTON: Couple of guys, Republican voters might start flip-flopping
on which one of you they`ll support.

Joining me now is the one and only Bob Strum, democratic strategist
and New York University professor and former senior adviser to the Kerry
and Gore campaigns. And Erin McPike, Erin, a reporter for Real Clear
Politics. Thank you both for joining me tonight.

Bob, how much do these reversals hurt the candidates in their hard
core GOP base?

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, they hurt and, you know, this
whole sense of Romney as a guy who has flip-flopped on everything.
Actually I think flipped-flopper is an unfair word for him. He`s actually
a shape shifter. He hasn`t just move on gun control. Look, he shifted on
abortion rights. He shifted on gay rights. He shifted on TARP. He`s been
forward and against it. He shifted on almost every issue you can name he`s
had five different positions on Libya. You know, he`s like the politicians
that Rachel Mankin (ph) that he discovered he had cannibals among his
constituents, he promised the missionaries for Sunday supper.

SHARPTON: Erin, when you look at, let me show you this poll here that
republican voters said their priorities in selecting a nominee, 67 percent
said that they wanted the one closest to their views. Only 31 percent
said, they want the one that can beat President Obama. This is the Wall
Street Journal poll. Now, if this is true Erin, doesn`t that mean that if
you are a flip-flopper and over two-thirds of your party want someone that
they feel really believes what they believe, this would certainly weaken
you in states like Iowa and other states that are true believers when they
have to question whether you really believe what you`re saying.

ERIN MCPIKE, REAL CLEAR POLITICS: It does. That tracks closely with
the numbers that you`re seeing in support of Mitt Romney right now. He`s
got this floor or ceiling, we`re not sure, of about 25 percent in some of
these early states and nationally. So, yes, he`s having some trouble
convincing conservative voters that he`s one of them. But as for the flip-
flopping, Republican sources in some early states like Iowa and South
Carolina are telling me that`s a bigger problem for Cain because flip-
flopping from one decade to the next kind of goes away and people have
accepted that with Mitt Romney, that`s part of his identity, but it`s been
vetted and dealt with. With Cain, this flip-flopping day to day and hour
to hour they say is more damaging for a frontrunner.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you something, Bob, since she brought up
Cain. I hate to shock and amaze you as Muhammad Ali used to say, but he
changed 9-9-9 today to 9-0-9 talking about flip-flopping. Let me show you
Mr. Cain just changed his theme.


CAIN: If you are at or below the poverty level, your plan isn`t 9-9-
9, it`s 9-0-9. Say amen, you all.


CAIN: Nine-zero-nine. In other words, if you are at or below the
poverty level based upon family size because there`s a different number for
each one, then you don`t pay that middle nine tax on your income. This is
how we help the poor.


SHARPTON: Nine-nine-nine, but if you live below poverty, 9-0-9. Say
amen, Bob.

SHRUM: Well, listen. The guy got in trouble on this. His plan got
torn apart not just by liberals and progressives, but by conservatives and
by the "Wall Street Journal." But look, Herman Cain is dotty, he`s wacky,
he`s engaging at some level, interesting to some people. I think he
reflects the resistance to Romney that Erin was talking about a minute ago
that he`s about 25 percent. They`ve been shopping for somebody else. But
the party isn`t going to nominate him unless it completely loses its head.
I mean, President Obama would ramp to victory over Herman Cain. You know,
Rick Perry is a real conservative. I mean, I`ve given that. I think he`s
kind of slow, he`s inarticulate, he`s not good in debates. He`s a real
conservative but he deviates on a couple of issues, at least he has in the
past, and this Republican Party this year is the modern equivalent of the
medieval inquisition. You`re not allowed to deviate at all or you get
burned at the stake.

SHARPTON: You don`t have a good choice in welcoming matches to his
ranches either. But let me ask you this, Erin, when you look at the fact
that we`re in the middle of some serious foreign affairs with this country,
the war in Iraq winding down now, the president announcing today withdrawal
of the troops, the Libya situation, how do you think American voters
including Republicans in the primaries are going to look when you have a
man like Mr. McCain that takes lightly whether or not he would even know
the president of a foreign country`s name? I mean, let me show what he
says. I don`t know if this is cute given the climate that`s gone on all
over the world.


CAIN: I`m ready for the got you questions and they`re already
starting to come. And when ask me who is the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-
beki-stan-stan, I`m going to say, you know, I don`t know. Knowing who is
the head of some of these small insignificant states around the world, I
don`t think that is something that`s critical to folks on a National
Security and getting this economy going.


SHARPTON: Given where we are in terms of a lot of the global crisis,
isn`t that a little too flip and even for right wing voters, Erin?

MCPIKE: He`s not ready for the got you questions, but you bring up an
interesting point as far as foreign affairs are concerned. Jon Huntsman is
the only candidate he`s really worked deeply in foreign affairs but before,
he was Obama`s to China. But some of the other candidates don`t have much.
Mitt Romney was in Afghanistan earlier this year. And he has a really
talked about it yet. But he doesn`t have much in a way of experience. He
can did run the Olympics in 2002 and he can`t count that among his national
security credentials. But Rick Perry has some experience having been a
pilot in the Air Force. So, he can claim he`s the only candidate with some
military service, but you these candidates don`t have much to go on when it
comes to foreign affairs. And so, when they come up against the commander
in chief, who has had some of the successes that he`s had recently, yes,
the Republican Party has a deficiency in that area right now.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you Bob, you ran national campaigns. Now, I
want to ask you quickly a two part question. Rick Santorum seems to have
everything they want in terms of the Tea Party. You know, he`s a real
conservative string positions today even dealing with contraception is a
dangerous, I mean, just all kinds of stuff. Why isn`t he taking off? Two
percent in the polls. And where do you see the race at this point? Is
this still Romney`s race in terms of the republican nomination?

SHRUM: Yes. On Santorum, I think that he is just and implausible
president even though he served in the Senate for 12 years. I think people
think he can`t beat Obama and they may want someone close to their views
more than they want someone who can beat Obama. But they don`t want
someone they know can`t beat Obama. And I think that`s Santorum situation.
He does OK in these debates. And he has no money. I don`t think he`s
going to go anywhere. Look, it`s Romney`s mostly because all the other
candidates are more deficient than he is. Perry may have left an indelible
impression on Social Security with his opening debate performances with
what he said on immigration.

I don`t think Cain can stand the scrutiny. Cain may actually in the
end, though, prove to be Romney`s best friend in the nominating process.
Because Cain may strip enough votes away from Perry or someone else who
might challenge Romney, so that Romney can get through. Now, Cain`s also a
threat because in the general election if he hasn`t completely destroyed
himself, he conceivably could go out there and run as a third party
candidate and pull votes away from Romney as the republican nominee.

SHARPTON: Maybe Erin, and then he`d run 0-0-9 by then, he`d be down
another 9 by then. Bob Shrum and Erin McPike, thanks for your time

MCPIKE: Thank you.

SHRUM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Americans are fighting to protect our most basic
right. Whether the Koch Brothers like it or not.


SHARPTON: The fight to overturn voter suppression laws, it may be
working. That`s next.


SHARPTON: The fight for justice is alive. I`ve been telling you
about voter suppression going on right now in America. Thirty four states
considered voter ID laws this year. And folks, let`s be clear. This is
not random. It`s orchestrated by a corporate funded right wing operation
known as Alec. That is funneling legislation to the states. But people
are standing up across the country and fighting back. In Wisconsin, the
league of women voters just sued to block its voter ID laws. In Texas and
South Carolina, the Justice Department is now investigating if these laws
violate civil rights. In Tennessee, two democratic lawmakers officially
filed a bill to repeal it. And I`m happy to report that 96-year-old victim
of voter suppression we introduced you to now has her ID to vote in
Tennessee. Fighting for justice isn`t easy. But it`s powerful.

Joining me now, Mike Turner, the Tennessee house democratic chairman,
he is fighting to repeal the voter ID law and Judith Browne-Dianis, co-
director of the Advancement Project, civil rights organization focused on
issues of democracy in race. Thank you both for joining me. Judith, what
is the best way to fight these radical laws?

Reverend Sharpton, we`re finding ourselves in a moment where Americans are
connecting the dots to corporate greed. We understand that corporate greed
has taken our homes, they have taken our jobs, and now they are trying to
take our vote. And so, Americans are fighting back. We`re seeing the
folks in Tennessee take it on, in Pennsylvania where it`s still being
considered. There was a rally just a few days ago. Because Americans are
sick and tired. We know that we cannot allow voter suppression to take our
voice away and we are going to fight it every step of the way.

SHARPTON: Now, that may seem to some people watching us like it`s
extreme, but let me show people the founder of ALEC, Paul Weyrich in 1980
talking about how he doesn`t want everyone voting. Imagine somebody saying


PAUL WEYRICH, FOUNDER OF ALEC: I don`t want everybody to vote.
Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from
the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact,
our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populous
goes down.


SHARPTON: Now, this is the founder of ALEC who is the group that`s
pushing this ID, voter ID legislation around the country recommending it to
state, pushing it through with some of the corporate funding that Judith is
talking about. Let me go to Tennessee, to you, Representative Turner. In
your state of Tennessee, let me show you this graph so that people will
understand the context of your fight. A hundred and twenty six thousand
registered voters and 675,000 people of legal voting age don`t have photo
ID. If you don`t do what you`re doing, these people potentially will not
vote and it can be decisive in the outcome of an election.

STATE REP. MIKE TURNER (D), TENNESSEE: Yes, sir. They`re trying to
do some franchise -- Democrat voters and they`re putting a real strain on
senior citizens and people in rural areas. They don`t have access in
driver`s license studies stations where they can get the voter ID.

SHARPTON: Now, what are you trying to do in your legislation in the
state and how successful do you think you`ll be?

TURNER: Well, we (INAUDIBLE) and I have Jackson, Tennessee are filing
the bill to repeal what we did last year. Last year, this bill kind of got
caught up in all the other crazy bills that were going through, tort
reform, the attack on teachers, the birther bills and those type things. I
don`t think the media quite caught on to what they`re doing. I think now
after we`ve had time to veto this bill, it started to get out to how bad
this bill is. And I think a lot of Republican, and we had a couple
Republicans vote with the Democrats last time to try to defeat this bill.
I think some of the Republicans are having second thoughts about this.
They`re being put under a lot of pressure by their constituents and I`m
hoping we can have enough Republicans join us to repeal this law.

SHARPTON: So, you`re saying, Republicans have had some second
thoughts about this because of the public reaction?

TURNER: Yes, sir, that appears to be that. We have been touched with
some of them and that appears to be the case. But hopefully we can get
more of them to join us. We`ll they`d about 16 to join with the Democrats
to repeal this bill.

SHARPTON: Well, we`ll going to keep the public informed on this.
Judith, let me ask you, the states that you are very concerned about ID
laws, Wisconsin and Texas, am I right?

DIANIS: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Explain that to us.

DIANIS: Yes. In Texas, we know that there are 600,000 already
registered voters who do not have the photo ID. In Wisconsin, we also know
that 50 percent of African-American voters do not have ID. And so these
are two places where we know there is a disparate impact. And what is
great about what is happening is because we`re educating the public about
it, we`re going to see some Republicans hopefully moving back from this
because we`re debunking the myth of voter fraud. When you pull back the
curtain, we know that this is all about old time voter suppression.

SHARPTON: Let me show you how right you are. Let me show you this
very quickly about Wisconsin out of -- in 2004, out of three million
voters, 26 confirmed cases of fraud. Three million voters. Twenty six
fraud cases. So this is bogus as a huge problem. This is really about
disenfranchisement. Let me thank you, State Representative Turner, and
thank you, Judith for being on with us again and your work in the
Advancement Project.

Thanks and good luck and both of you have you a great weekend.

TURNER: Thank you.

DIANIS: Thank you. Thanks, Reverend Sharpton.

SHARPTON: Ahead, I`ve been waiting for this day for years. Thirty
nine thousand troops coming home. What today means for America`s future.


SHARPTON: Just moments ago, we heard former President George W. Bush
will not comment on today`s decision by President Obama to end the war in
Iraq. No comment from the man who launched an unnecessary war. No comment
from the man who started that war under false pretenses. Millions of
Americans opposed the Iraq war from beginning. We marched in the streets.
We called for justice. We spoke out against the tragedy of this war. I
took the message all the way to the democratic convention in 2004.


SHARPTON: We were told that we were going to Iraq because there were
weapons of mass destruction. We lost hundreds of soldiers. We spent $200
billion at a time we had record state deficits. And when it became clear
that there was no weapons, they changed the premise for the war. We were



SHARPTON: That 200 billion has gone to 800 billion. But now I have
another message that I take to you. And that is when those troops come
home, they need jobs. They need medical attention. They need affordable
housing. We cannot stay in this partisan gridlock in Washington and love
troops when they`re in wars that were unjustified but don`t love them when
they come home and need health care and need affordable housing and need to
be able to take care of their families. It is not their fault they went
where they were sent and it`s not their fault if they come home to nothing
but some empty welcomes that are not ready to receive those that stood up
for this country.

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


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