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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

Guests: Chaka Fattah, David Corn, Richard Wolffe, Wayne Slater, Ted
Strickland, Steve Kornacki, Erin McPike

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: The Republicans jobs plan? You have to see
it and you still won`t believe it.


Congress thinks there are no unemployed workers that would benefit from the
proposals in the jobs bill, they better think again.

SHARPTON (voice-over): President Barack Obama fights for jobs out
West, while Washington Republicans offer this --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This country cannot wait for him to get off the
campaign trail.

SHARPTON: Congressman Chaka Fattah and David Corn on jobs and do the-
nothing Congress.

Perrynomics 101.

grows the economy.

SHARPTON: Governor Perry`s got a great economic plan if you think
corporations are people. Richard Wolffe and Wayne Slater on the plan
billionaires just love.

Workers in Ohio and Wisconsin against union-busting governors. Former
Ohio governor Ted Strickland on the big pushback that`s working.

Plus, guess who`s leading the GOP field? Hint: he`s not even running.

POLITICS NATION starts right now.


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

Tonight`s lead, Republicans feeling the heat on the jobs debate
because they are on the wrong side of this argument.


OBAMA: I want you to tell your congressperson the time for gridlock
and games is over. The time for action is now. The time to create jobs is

It`s about giving the American people a win. It`s about giving Ohio a

If you want construction workers rebuilding America, pass this bill.
If you want teachers back in the classroom, pass this bill. If you want to
cut taxes for middle class families, pass this bill.

If any member of Congress thinks there are no unemployed workers or no
down-on-their-luck neighborhoods in their district that would benefit from
the proposals in the jobs bill, then they better think again.


SHARPTON: Yes, think again.

Since the president unveiled his jobs plan six weeks ago, he`s been
selling that jobs message in cities from coast to coast, and Americans are
behind him.

Nearly 60 percent support payroll tax cuts. Two-thirds support taxing
the rich. And three out of four back jobs for teachers and fire fighters.

Republicans are taking notice, and we have the proof.

GOP mastermind Karl Rove is out with a blueprint for killing the
president`s jobs plan, and it`s all done by distorting the truth. His
organization calls the memo "Pushing Back on Stimulus II, Tax Increases,
and Class Warfare." Here`s an example.

Americans support jobs for teachers and firemen, but Republicans think
they can win the argument if they can "cast the issue in terms of
government bailouts."

Mitch McConnell already nailed that talking point.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R), MINORITY LEADER: The question is whether
the federal government ought to be raising taxes on 300,000 small
businesses in order to send money down to bail out states for whom
firefighters and police work.


SHARPTON: Rove`s group also tells Republicans, "Point out that
Obama`s stimulus is not a serious solution."

So that`s where they got that line from.


MCCONNELL: What he calls his job package and what we call stimulus
two --



REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R-OH), HOUSE SPEAKER: More stimulus spending,
short-term gimmicks, higher taxes, more regulations.



REP. ERIC CANTOR (R-VA), MAJORITY LEADER: Every time he goes to
identify a bridge or another project that is yet not funded and is in
disrepair, he`s going to remind people that it`s his stimulus that was
unable to deliver.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman Chaka Fattah, Democrat from
Pennsylvania, and David Corn, MSNBC political analyst and Washington bureau
chief for "Mother Jones."

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.


REP. CHAKA FATTAH (D), PENNSYLVANIA: Thank you for having me.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me start with you.

Can Republicans really dress up their unpopular ideas by playing word
games? Let me give you an example what I`m talking about.

We saw the statement made by Mr. McConnell talking about a bipartisan
opposition. Look at this.


MCCONNELL: This bill`s top selling point, according to the president,
was that both parties should like it. Yet, so far the only thing both
parties in Congress seem to agree on is that it`s got to be a better way
than this.


SHARPTON: Both parties should agree on. I think only two senators,
Democrat, voted against this.

How is that bipartisan until you look at Rove`s memo, where he says
makes it look bipartisan? So they are really playing almost a shell game
because Rove is saying sell it as bipartisan opposition.

I doubt if you can make two people a bipartisan representation, at
least of the other party.

FATTAH: Well, look, this is the situation. President Obama is
lifting this economy, even against the outrageous opposition he`s getting.

We`ve seen now some 24 months of private sector job growth
continuously. We`ve seen 15 months of sale increases. The nation`s
retailers yesterday just announced that they`re going to hire over 100,000
people before Thanksgiving to get ready for the holiday season.

We have a reality now. I talked to the new secretary of Commerce
today, his second day on the job. We`re talking about manufacturing.

We`ve seen in the front edge of this recovery some 300,000-plus new
jobs in manufacturing. I`ve visited manufacturing plants right outside of
Philadelphia. Boeing, that had 4,000 employees two years ago, has now got
6,000, got three shifts running, because the president gave Boeing the
largest contract in the history of the country.

I was out in Hartford, Connecticut, saw people -- 20,000 people
working, putting jet engines together. We have work to do and we have
people who are unemployed.

They want to say, well, there are millions of people unemployed so,
therefore, Obama is not doing his job. Reverend, let`s poll those people
who are unemployed. Do they want to vote for the party that`s voting
against them having unemployment benefits, voted against to help the states
so that they don`t lose their homes, and voted against health care
extension under --


SHARPTON: Well, that`s going to be the question, Congressman.

But David, is it not unwise to underestimate the Republicans? Because
they have been able to master half-truths and distortions and outright lies
in the past to their political gain.

CORN: It is unwise to underestimate their ability to handle spin. We
had the health care fight, the government takeover of the health care
system, death panels. We`ve had two years of Republicans saying the
stimulus did not create any jobs.

Now, there were problems with the stimulus, but the CBO said that it
lifted employment by 2.5 to 3 million jobs. So they have learned -- they
have learned very well, and Karl Rove has learned this lesson, that if you
come up with the right buzz phrases and the right words that feed to
people`s pre-existing biases about government and Washington, that they can
at least fight to a draw, if not win.

So this is -- you know, it doesn`t matter where the truth is here. It
matters whether they have the ability to prey on these biases.

SHARPTON: Well, how do the Democrats defeat it? How do they protect
themselves against these distortions and spin that has worked in the past?

CORN: The way you do this, and the congressman can tell you, is you
just have to be forceful again and again, and you have to be direct.

Do you remember when the Clinton administration started the war room?
So as soon as they come out with these memos and talking points that are
wrong, or that play with the truth, or that are fabrications, you`ve got to
cut them off at the knees, right away. And that`s really the president`s
job, more than anyone else, because he has the bully pulpit.

And he has to really -- he has to campaign not just against a do-
nothing Congress. He has to campaign against the Republican anti-Obama

He has to say they are telling things that aren`t true. Let`s go down
them and not let them germinate and get into the bloodstream. That`s the
thing that the White House has to be mindful of.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, lately we`ve seen the president in the
last couple of weeks -- and I just played a montage. He`s hit the road.
He has started hitting hard. He`s starting almost a mobile war room kind
of strategy.

He`s got an infrastructure bill coming up. Look at this. They are
going to have to vote on an infrastructure bill which is really making them
take a stand, and it will be paid for by 0.2 percent of taxpayers, with a
surtax on just 0.2 percent, which means it will not affect most Americans.

Is he doing enough? Does he have to keep doing this to offset the
spin and distortions they are going to try to hit him with?

FATTAH: Look, the quarterback is running the right plays and he`s
throwing the ball. What we have to do is be part of the team.

One of the reasons why Republicans are effective is that they all go
out and they all put their message out, even if it`s incorrect. But we
have to tell the truth.

We will see all of our troops out of Iraq by the end of the year.
That`s a commitment made, that`s a commitment kept.

We turned the economy around. When you see 23, 24 months of
consecutive job growth in our private sector, and you see the president
standing up today saying, look, it`s not a bailout to help police officers
and teachers and help people stay in their homes. These are not bailouts,
these are Americans, this is our commitment.

And I think that the president`s being effective. And we see that the
Republican Congress has been able to work their way into single digits. I
think they are at seven or eight percent approval rating.

The American public will not be fooled as long as we, as Democrats,
don`t lose our ability to speak truth --


SHARPTON: And if we go ahead and fight. I think that`s what David is
saying. You`ve got to fight, and you can`t let it get in their

David, when you fight like that, look at this -- in the last polling,
the president has gone up nine points in terms of Americans that trust who
will be able to create jobs, who they trust to create jobs, and the
Republicans have gone down six points. And even in the Republicans, if you
look at the polling numbers, Republicans support infrastructure spending --
54 percent of Republicans. Fifty-six percent of Republicans support taxing
millionaires; 58 percent, payroll tax cuts; 63 percent, money for teachers
and first responders.

It`s the Democrats and the president`s to lose, but you can`t get
bluffed out of it if you allow them to spin it and let it get inside
people`s system before you fight back.

CORN: You`ve got to, you know, win the policy, win the politics, and
win the narrative. You know, there`s one sort of disadvantage that the
president has now, and other Democrats, which is that they kind of lost the
fight over the first stimulus.

As I noted earlier, that did raise employment levels as much as
actually had been predicted. It`s just that the administration thought
that the starting point would be higher in terms of employment than it was.
So there was still pretty profound unemployment afterwards, but the
stimulus created about as many jobs as people thought.

But nevertheless, the Republicans are out there for two years saying
the stimulus didn`t work, it didn`t work, it didn`t work, and the
administration and other Democrats --

SHARPTON: And it did.

CORN: -- were not able to win that fight. So now the Republican play
is to try to make this sound like the second stimulus. So they`re going to
have to --


FATTAH: Well, let me just say this, David. When Muhammad Ali was up
on the ropes, he was -- they were saying he was taking a lot of hits.

CORN: Yes.

FATTAH: But the truth of the matter is that this will be the only
president in our lifetime -- he`ll be able to go to every corner of this
country and point to actual projects, actual people who went to work,
things got done. In Philadelphia alone, our transit system has done $200
million of projects --


SHARPTON: I`ve got to go. Congressman Chaka Fattah, David Corn, I
have to keep it moving, but thank both of you for joining me this evening.

CORN: You go.

FATTAH: Thank you.

CORN: Thank you, Rev.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Rick Perry`s economic plan is great if you`re a

What about everyone else, Governor?


PERRY: But I don`t care about them.


SHARPTON: You don`t care? That`s a political strategy.

Plus, what a difference a few months make. Willard Mitt Romney`s
latest flip-flop on the Ohio union-busting bill.




SHARPTON: This is funny.

And Herman Cain lights up the Web with this weird new ad that everyone
is talking about.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Rick Perry is so desperate to rescue his sinking campaign,
that he`s created an economic plan that revives every ridiculous trickle-
down scheme to emerge from the GOP over the last 30 years, starting with


PERRY: It cuts taxes, and it also cuts the spending. You can also
wave good-bye to the capital gains tax, as well as tax on dividends.

Taxes will be cut.

Stimulate private spending through permanent tax relief.


SHARPTON: In fact, Perry`s new economic plan is just a checklist of
recycled conservative talking points.

A tax policy that benefits corporations and the rich? Check.

Saying government is the source of all evil? Check.

Gutting entitlements and shredding the safety net? A very big check.


PERRY: We must put a stop to this entitlement culture that risks the
financial sovereignty -- our solvency -- of this country. We are on the
road to ruin paved by state serfdom. Freeing our children from financial
disaster requires the courage to reform the entitlements.


SHARPTON: In fact, Rick Perry is surprisingly candid about his own
special brand of class warfare.


PERRY: For those that want to get into the class warfare and talk
about oh, my goodness, there are going to be some folks here who make more
money out of this or have access to more money, I`ll let them do that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But for those at the top, it is hundreds of
thousands, maybe even millions of dollars for them.

PERRY: But I don`t about them.


SHARPTON: "I don`t care. I don`t care." Perry doesn`t care that the
rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer. At least he`s being

Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst Richard Wolffe, and Wayne
Slater, senior political writer for "The Dallas Morning News."

Thank you both for your time.

you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Richard, Rick Perry says he doesn`t care if the rich get
richer. Are you surprised by his honesty?

honesty. I have actually seen him interacting with Wayne Slater, and I`ve
seen him being brutally honest to Wayne about all sorts of things.

So I can believe that he`s honest and direct. There`s not a problem
with that. I just wonder whether he really understands his plan, because,
you know, he was waving around that little postcard and saying to people,
look, you can fill in your taxes on this little card, you don`t need to
have all those accountants and lawyers and everything do it for you.

The problem is that the people who cannot afford the accountants are
the very ones who should stay with the current tax system, because under
his plan, they are going to get a big tax rise. The people who can afford
the taxes -- the accountants and the lawyers and everything, they are going
to be use the simple system because they are going to be paying a lot less.

So I`m not sure he understand what he`s proposing or who it should
appeal to, but for what he understands, he`s honest about that.

SHARPTON: Well, Wayne, is it that he may or may not understand it, or
is he banking on the fact we may not understand it? Because having an
option of a flat tax or using the present code can only benefit the rich
and the super rich, and maybe he really does understand that, and maybe
this may be economically unsound for the average American and morally
reprehensible to people like me, but it might be the political move to make
in a Republican primary.

SLATER: Reverend Sharpton, you`re not a voter that Rick Perry is
targeting right now.


SLATER: But the voters who might find this appealing, particularly
very wealthy investors, businesspeople, they will like this idea. And this
obviously brings him around.

But, more important than that is the appeal to Tea Party activists.
Even some people who may in their own lives ultimately be hurt by this
idea, but who want to attack Washington, who want to attack the status quo,
who aren`t happy with the tax system and want someone, possibly Rick Perry,
who will stand up to Barack Obama and offer something bold, do something
even if it`s the wrong thing to do.

SHARPTON: Now, because he is shrinking. I mean, he`s shrinking by
the day.

Look at the fact that with the CBS/ New York Times" poll from
September to October, he went down 17 points. You can`t ask a man dropping
17 points in a month not to try any and everything, Wayne, and you know
that he has been many things, but one of them is not a guy that just goes
off into the sunset without trying everything.

SLATER: Absolutely. That`s not the Texas way. You go after

You`re right. He wanted to do three things at the beginning of this

One, raise a lot of money. He did. One, do well in the debates. He
didn`t. And the third, offer up some policy initiatives that appeal to
voters that he needs, the especially anti-Romney or any but Romney voters
that he needs in the early nominating states of Iowa and South Carolina and
Florida. And that`s what he`s tried to do here with this policy

All the people who are going to beat up on this the most are voters he
doesn`t want to appeal to right now anyway. The voters who he might -- who
might find it appealing in concept to talk about a flat tax, something
similar, are the same voters who he wants to round up and vote for him.
Many of those, frankly, are Tea Party activists, and many of those, we`ve
seen from studies, are Christian conservatives.

So he has a retooled campaign that`s aimed at a particular voting
constituency -- that also includes birthers and birchers and secessionist
and militia types -- but mostly the right wing of the Republican Party.
They think inside the Perry team that the mathematics is there, that the
numbers are there, that if it`s ultimately Romney and not Romney, Perry
could resurrect this thing.

SHARPTON: Well, you`ve got now, with today, with the option to keep
things as they are, letting the taxpayer decide, or take the 20 percent
flat, so we`ve got on one side of the anti-Romney, 9-9-9, on the other side
it`s 20 or nothing. Unbelievable. Neither one of them make sense for
working class and middle class people.

But, Richard, let me go back to you.

One of the things that I saw was very interesting is it`s clear, as
Wayne says, this is about taking on Romney. Did you know that Governor
Perry actually called Romney a "fat cat"?

Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1996, when your adviser Steve Forbes was
running on a flat tax, Mitt Romney said it was a tax cut for fat cats. If
he says that about your plan, what are you going to say to him?

PERRY: Well, I would say that he ought to go look in the mirror, I
guess. I consider him to be a fat cat.


SHARPTON: Whoa! That`s a little edgy, don`t you think, a little

I mean, I ran in `04. We didn`t call the rich guys "fat cats." We
knew we`d have to unite at end.

Isn`t that a little edgy there, Richard?

WOLFFE: I cannot believe Republicans would engage in this kind of
class warfare. I mean, they are just trying to divide this country.

Look, Rick Perry is going to do much worse than this, and no matter
how he did in the debates, or how he muffles his speeches, he`s not going
to screw up his ads. His ads are going to go right at Mitt Romney.

I agree with Wayne. The votes, the anti-Romney votes, are clearly
much bigger than the pro-Romney votes there. If he can pull stuff away
from Cain, if he can land these punches, either he gets the nomination or
he takes Romney down with him.

So it`s going to be brutal. The question is whether Romney now tries
to fudge things on the flat tax and try and appeal to everyone, because
that would be Romney`s classic move.

SHARPTON: Well, I hope they all come together and unite when it`s

But Willard, I told you to get him on that rock. He called you a "fat

Richard Wolffe, Wayne Slater, thank you.

Ahead, America, this is not a joke. Pat Robertson says the Republican
Party has gotten too extreme.

Wow, Pat Robertson.

Chris Christie gives to the rich and cuts the first responders. No
wonder Republicans begged him to run.

And folks, there`s weird and then there`s this Herman Cain ad.

Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Chris Christie`s misplaced priorities would have made him a
perfect candidate in today`s GOP. No wonder so many Republicans were
heartbroken when he took a pass on the presidential race. When Christie
announced he wasn`t running, he said he wanted to stick with the job he


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: That`s a promise I made to the
people of this state when I took office 20 months ago, to fix a broken New
Jersey, and when I look at what we`ve accomplished so far, I`m proud but I
know we`re not nearly done.


SHARPTON: Christie`s proud and not nearly done slashing aid to cities
and towns. Local reports say 4,000 New Jersey police officers have lost
their jobs in the last two years, 4,000. Things are so stretched thin in
Newark that police don`t even respond to car accidents anymore unless there
are injuries. The Paterson narcotics squad was cut in half and the Police
Department in Little Egg, New Jersey, had to eliminate its drug and traffic
units. But while towns and cities are cutting back, there`s one group
Christie hasn`t asked to sacrifice. He vetoed taxes on millionaires this
year and last year which would have offset cuts across the state. Governor
Christie, did you think we wouldn`t notice your misplaced priorities? Nice
try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." Tonight, we have
something new, a pop quiz. Ready. Here`s the question tonight. What
happens to politicians who push unpopular agendas? It`s not a trick
question. To answer, they become unpopular, and nobody knows that better
than former FOX News host and current Ohio Governor John Kasich. When he
first took office in January, his disapproval rating was 22 percent.
Today, 52 percent of Ohioans disapprove of the job he`s doing. What has
happened since then, Senate bill five?

That`s the union-busting bill he rammed through despite widespread
opposition. That ban strikes, limits collective bargaining and forces
public employees to pay more to their benefits but the people of Ohio vow
to fight back. They collected 1.3 million petition signatures, blocking
the law from going into effect and putting issue two on the ballot. A new
poll today shows Ohioans want to repeal the law by a 25 percent margin.
That`s up 13-point margin just last month. Reporters asked Kasich to weigh
in on those poll results today.


GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: You know, it`s -- we`re going to keep
working. We think this is the right thing to create an environment for
cities to -- to be able to be successful, giving them the tools. We`re
making the case. We`re going to make it all the way up to Election Day and
we`ll see how it comes out.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Governor, you don`t normally comment on polls, but
in this one disheartening?

KASICH: Hey, you know, do I seem disheartened? I mean, I`m doing my


SHARPTON: Governor Kasich, you may be doing your job, but with 52
percent disapproval, maybe you ought to focus on doing a good job.

Joining me now one of the biggest fighters for the middle class,
former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland. Governor, welcome.

FMR. GOV. TED STRICKLAND (D), OHIO: Reverend Al, good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Good to be with you. Glad to have you here. What is going
through Governor Kasich`s mind today, do you think?

STRICKLAND: Who knows? The fact is that the people of Ohio, Al, have
their eyes open, and they know who the enemy is now, and the enemy is this
administration, fighting fire fighters, police officers, nurses, teachers.
I mean, the people of Ohio. I am so proud of them. 1.3 million of them
signed the petition.

SHARPTON: And they didn`t need that many signatures.

STRICKLAND: They only need a little over 300,000.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

STRICKLAND: They got 1.3 million, and I think that`s an indication
that Ohio, you know, Ohio is sort of a common sense state, and we don`t
take to radical and reckless ideas or radical and reckless leadership, and
that`s what we`ve gotten from this governor and from this new

SHARPTON: Now, I`ve been out there twice in the last month, and I am
very impressed with the energy across all religious racial lines to say
wait a minute, this isn`t fair. Are they going to win this vote though?
Are they going to be able to repeal this?

STRICKLAND: Well, as you said, the poll that came out today says that
57 percent are opposed to Senate bill five. Thirty two percent are in
favor of it, and I think that`s because we have a coalition of people
coming together in Ohio as never before. Many from the community of faith,
the labor unions, the building trades, teachers, fire fighters, just
ordinary citizens, social service folks. We`ve got a coalition in Ohio
right now unlike any that I`ve ever seen, and I think it will help us win
on November the 8th, but I also think that it will carry us over into 2012
so that we can re-elect Senator Sherrod Brown and return President Obama to
the White House. Ohio is right in the middle of this fight, and I`m proud
of us.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, Governor, when you can always tell what`s
going on is by looking at the thermometer, you know. Martin Luther King
used to say, there are two types of leaders, thermostats and thermometers.
And thermometers go whichever way the weather is.

STRICKLAND: That`s right.

SHARPTON: Well, the national thermometer, Mitt Romney, who goes
whether it`s hot or cold, wherever the poll is, that`s where he`s at. In
June, he was in Ohio, and he took this stand. Let me show you. He says,
my friends in Ohio are fighting to defend crucial reforms that the state
has put in place to limit the power of union bosses and keep taxes low. I
stand with John R. Kasich and the Ohio leaders as they take on the
important fight to get control of government spending.

STRICKLAND: That`s not today.

SHARPTON: But today, today, Willard goes back and let me show you
what Willard said.


Ohio today. I`m not -- I`m not speaking about the particular ballot
issues. Those are up to the people of Ohio, but I certainly support the
effort of the governor to reign in the scale of government. So, I`m not
terribly familiar with the two ballot initiatives, but I`m certainly
supportive of the Republican Party`s efforts.


SHARPTON: Union bosses in June, reform them with Kasich, today I
don`t know much about it, I`m impart but I don`t know, I mean, it shows
that even he can see that the temperature has changed.

STRICKLAND: That`s right. Well, Mitt Romney is the ultimate flip-
flopper. This is a man when I believe has no real core principles. He`s
going to go where the wind blows, and quite frankly, you know, this was an
embarrassment to the Ohio democrat or the Ohio Republican Party and to
Governor Kasich. They bring him in. They take him to a place where phone
banking was being done in support of issue two, and then he`s asked do you
support issue two, and he is neutral apparently at best.

So, this is the ultimate flip-flop, but, you know, we`ve seen this
from Mitt Romney from the time he first entered politics. You never know
where this man is going to be from one day to the next, and that`s why the
American people, and even his own party, Reverend Al, are not willing to
endorse him. That`s why he works hard. He`s out there campaigning, and
25, 26, 27 percent say they are for him among the Republican Party, and you
know, the people of this country can tolerate a whole lot, but they will
not tolerate a person that is here one day and somewhere else the next.

SHARPTON: We believe in standing for something.

STRICKLAND: That`s right.

SHARPTON: And Governor Kasich on this crucial time with the polls
going against him on this needed a stand-up guy to come to Ohio. Mitt
Romney came today, and he still needs a stand-up guy to come because he
certainly didn`t stand with him. But let me ask you a question.


SHARPTON: Are you going to run against Kasich again?

STRICKLAND: You know, I don`t know, Reverend Al, but you said on
your show that you were in Ohio and people were saying, "Run, Ted, Run."
That`s caused me a lot of trouble. I want you to know that. That`s what
everyone is reminding me of that. Let me say this to you. We`re in the
fight of our lives right now, November 2011 and then we`ll going to have
another big fight in Ohio in 2012. We`ve got to re-elect the President and
we`ve got to send Sherrod Brown back to the Senate. The future will take
care of itself, but I enjoy this fight because we`re fighting for the right
things, and the people of Ohio are coming together. I care about my state.
I care about the people in my state, and I`m glad they are standing up for

SHARPTON: Well, I didn`t mean to get you in trouble, but I had a
little trouble, too, because I was in there twice, and a guy stopped me and
said I was wrong to say they were saying run, Ted, run, because he said
Ted could be anybody. They were saying, "Run Ted Strickland, Run." They
were specific. Thank you Governor Strickland for being with me tonight.
Thank you for your time.

STRICKLAND: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: All right. Thank you. Ahead, 80 percent of Republicans
are having commitment issues. At some point they will have to set.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." GOP 2012 candidates
are making a whole lot of noise on the campaign trail and in the debates,
but it`s not doing them much good. Eighty percent of Republicans say, they
are not fully committed to any of the candidates yet, 80 percent. That`s
not good news, guys. All that pandering to the Tea Party and the extreme
right is not working, and now GOP elites are worried the party is heading
into a Mitt Romney disaster.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: As more and more Republicans come to the conclusion
that the Republican Party has found its Michael Dukakis, a technocratic
Massachusetts governor running on competence, not ideology.


SHARPTON: Michael Dukakis. And Republicans, here`s a tip. When
ultraconservative Pat Robertson says, you`re too extreme, you`ve got a big


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Those people in the republican primary have got to
lay off of this stuff. They are forcing their leaders, the front-runners
into positions that will mean they lose the general election. You`ll
appeal to the narrow base, and they will applaud the daylights out of what
you`re saying, and then you hit the general election and then they say no


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Steve Kornacki, a political columnist for and Erin McPike, a reporter for "Real Clear Politics."

Steve, when Pat Robertson says, these candidates have gone too
extreme, you know things are bad. But take a look at how over the top they
have gone. Herman Cain`s campaign has just released a new ad. Hold on to
the table and check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: We`ve run a campaign like nobody`s ever seen, but
then America`s never seen a candidate like Herman Cain. We need you to get
involved because together we can do this. We can take this country back.


SHARPTON: It`s bad enough what you see, but it happens to be his
campaign manager.


SHARPTON: That`s doing the ad, the guy with the cigarette and the guy
that is talking is his actual campaign manager.


SHARPTON: So, I`m an American, I`m watching this, Steve and Erin,
I`m seeing the guy smoking leaning up against the wall is going to be the
Chief of Staff in the White House, and the guy doing this is going to be
the President.

KORNACKI: And there`s the guy who right now is in first place in
most of the republican polls that are being taken, Herman Cain is running
in first right now. And I think, you know, when you see that number you
showed earlier, the 80 percent who aren`t ready to make up their minds
right now and when you talked about the previous segment what happened with
Mitt Romney out in Ohio today where, you know, he backed off this position
that everybody in the Tea Party would love him to take, you know, on the
union bill out in Ohio because he knows it`s sort of poison in the general
election. Well, that`s why 80 percent won`t make up their mind because
Romney is the guy they sort of know they have to go with in the end. Cain
is probably the main alternative and he`s putting out videos like that.
But Romney still won`t come around for them on all the other issues. So,
you`ll going to have the 80 percent that just won`t say, yes to him but
don`t really have any other options.

SHARPTON: Erin, President Obama is on Jay Leno tonight, and we have
some of the footage, and Jay Leno raised to him about the republican field
at the debate. Listen to what he said.


JAY LENO, HOST, "THE JAY LENO SHOW": Have you been watching the GOP

PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I`m going to wait until
everybody is voted off the island.

LENO: Really.


OBAMA: Once they narrow it down to one or two, I`ll start paying


SHARPTON: Wait until everyone is voted off the island. Maybe he saw
the Cain campaigns ad before he went on, Erin.

ERIN MCPIKE, "REAL CLEAR POLITICS": Maybe so. You know, that -- that
specific Cain web video, I would say to you that they probably thought they
had to do that because one of the big criticisms about Herman Cain right
now is that people think he doesn`t have any campaign infrastructure, so by
this Web video, they are putting at least a face and showing who his
campaign manager is. A little bit crazy, yes, but that`s why they have to
do it because people think that there`s no -- there`s no infrastructure.
Now, as far as the field is concerned, and that 80 percent, one thing you
have to remember is think about all the Republicans who ultimately decided
not to run. You have John Thune, Haley Barbour and Mitch Daniels, and
knows where some likeable and well liked conservatives buy the conservative
intelligencia and they are not in the race. So, they have to choose
between Mitt Romney, this guy that they don`t like who they don`t think is
conservative enough and then on the other end of the spectrum, Rick Perry
and Herman Cain. There`s no one really in the middle who really is a
mainline conservative that`s well liked.

SHARPTON: When you look at the latest polls that just came out, CBS,
"New York Times" poll. It has Cain at 25 percent, Romney 21 percent,
Gingrich 10, Paul eight percent, Perry down to six percent. Now, the
disturbing thing, if I`m Romney, is that lets look at Romney`s support
since June. He in June at 24.9 percent, July, 22.3 percent, August, 18.9
percent, September, 21.6 percent, October, 24.9. This guy can`t catch
fire. I mean, he`s like just right there, can`t go up, goes a little down.
Can`t go up. How can this guy win when almost 80 percent of his party
consistently wants somebody else?

KORNACKI: I`d say he`d be in big trouble if there was somebody else
or if there was a clear sort of consensus somebody else in this race but
the most interesting thing that stands out at me about that poll is, Romney
at 21 percent, Cain is at 25, Gingrich is at 10. That means 35 percent
between them are backing candidates who as Erin said, do not actually have
campaign infrastructures. I believe that Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich are
really in this race to become celebrities, to get talk shows, to sell
books, more than they are to actually run and win the presidency. So, if
that`s the competition for Romney and these are the guys that are doing
well in polls. Then, OK, you get to Iowa, maybe it`s split up between Cain
and Gingrich and Santorum and Bachmann. That`s how Romney can surge -- 35
percent could win it against this crowd.

SHARPTON: But Erin, you`re nodding. You think that Mr. Gingrich and
Mr. Cain are not really running to be president?

MCPIKE: For Gingrich, it`s always been a matter of really bringing
his stature back and showing himself to be an idea`s man and having some
sort of an impact on the race. He looked at running in 2008. Ultimately
decided against it. For Herman Cain, we`re not sure. I mean, now that the
guy is leading the field, maybe he is serious, but -- but we don`t know. I
think it is true that probably the real alternative to Mitt Romney is Rick
Perry. Rick Perry and Mitt Romney are the only two candidates who are
consistently putting out press releases, announcing the support that they
have and a bunch of other states beyond just the early nominating states,
and they are the two candidates who have real long-term campaign
infrastructures. So, I think there you have it, that it`s really going to
come down at the end to Rick Perry and Mitt Romney despite Herman Cain`s

SHARPTON: Well, I mean, I don`t think that you should underestimate
creativity because as soon as we get off tonight, Steve, I`m running to my
producers. I have an idea. We`re going to get a guy. I`m going to smoke
a cigarette and watch "Politics Nation." You think that will help me,
Erin? Erin McPike and Steve Kornacki, thank both of you. I`m going to do
my Herman Cain. Let me see how it helps the show. Thanks both of you.

MCPIKE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Rick Perry and the birther movement. Why it`s not funny.
That`s next.


SHARPTON: Last week, Rick Perry met with birther King Donald Trump,
and the two apparently decided that the birther issue was still relevant.
Here`s what Perry told CNBC.


keep alive, just you know. Donald`s got to have some fun.

JOHN HARWOOD, HOST: Are you saying that your comments about that are
kind of a joke, or do you seriously have an unresolved question that Donald
Trump has about this?

PERRY: I don`t have a clue about where the President and what this
birth certificate says, but it`s also a great distraction.


SHARPTON: Seriously, Governor Perry. We put this to rest ages ago,

OBAMA: We do not have time for this kind of silliness. We`ve got
better stuff to do. I`ve got better stuff to do. We`ve got big problems
to solve, and I`m confident we can solve them, but we`ll have to focus on
them. Not on this.


SHARPTON: The thing is, Governor Perry, here`s why this isn`t a joke.
Today, a birther and oath keeper named Darren Huff was convicted of trying
to take over a Tennessee courthouse last year and arrest officials who
accepted Barack Obama as a legitimate president. Huff brought a Colt 45
and an AK-47 to the scene. Thankfully no one was hurt. He now faces up to
five years in prison. Let us deal with the issues. Let`s quit playing and
biting the bait for simple things calling ourselves just poking at the
president when we have people out there that are sick and/or silly. The
country deserves better than that from its leaders. Thanks for watching.
I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right now.


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