IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

PoliticsNation, Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

Guests: Ed Rendell, Joan Walsh, Bob Shrum, Nia-Malika Henderson, Marc
Morial, Mayor Tom Barrett, Melissa Harris-Perry

REV. AL SHARPTON, HOST: Republican Party, Republican mess. Herman
may drop out. Willard can`t get the love. And Newt is laughing all the
way to Tiffany`s.

Five weeks until the first votes in Iowa, but this isn`t a Party, it`s
a reality show.

Chris Christie attacks the president`s leadership.

Hey, Governor, why don`t you call me after you`ve saved the economy
and killed Bin Laden?

And all I want for Christmas is -- an AK-47? Ho, ho, ho. How the gun
lobby is taking over the holidays.


RICHARD JONES: I think it`s going to be all in fun from those who
support the Second Amendment and those who don`t. Whether you`re a gun
advocate or you`re not, you should have a lot of fun with it.


SHARPTON: Tonight`s lead, in just five weeks Republicans in Iowa will
cast the first votes in the GOP presidential race, and the field is a total
mess. The one-time front-runner Herman Cain is now reassessing whether
he`ll stay in the race after accusations that he had a 13-year affair. He
told staffers, "We have to do an assessment as to whether or not this is
going to create too much of a cloud in some people`s minds as to whether or
not they would be able to support us going forth."

Cain`s replacement as the flavor of the month, Newt Gingrich, added
his two cents to the scandal today.


to make. He has to do what he thinks is best.


SHARPTON: Best for who, Newt? You?

Since Cain started to tank in the polls, Newt has surged to the top.
A new robo poll in Iowa shows Newt leading the pack with 26 percent -- with
28 percent rather -- Mitt Romney way behind at 12 percent. And in a South
Carolina robo poll, Newt has 38 percent, while Romney struggles at 15

Willard`s even suffering on his home turf. Although he`s still
leading in New Hampshire with 34 percent, he`s dropped seven points in the
last month.

Meanwhile, Gingrich is up a whopping 16 percent since October. And
Cain, he`s slipping all the way to the back of the pack, down 12 percent in
one month alone.

Folks, Republicans have had 12 debates and a half a dozen front-
runners so far this year, and they still have no clue who they they`ll run
against President Obama next fall.

Joining me now, NBC News political analyst Ed Rendell, former DNC
chair and former governor of Pennsylvania, and Joan Walsh, editor-at-large

Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Governor, doesn`t all this uncertainty highlight just how
weak this Republican field really is?

RENDELL: There`s no question about that. To have Newt Gingrich with
all of the baggage that he has leading the field and looking like he`s
going to, if it were held today, sweep the first two or three primaries and
caucuses is amazing. I mean, it`s amazing. This is -- couldn`t be playing
out better for President Obama, just couldn`t be.

SHARPTON: Now, Joan, let me ask you something, and try to answer this
without laughing. A straight face is preferred.

WALSH: Yes, sir.

SHARPTON: Today, Ms. Michele Bachmann was on radio, and she was --
you know, the question was raised about what happens now with Cain

This was her answer --


yesterday, everyone said, this is it, he`s done. And so people just don`t
see that there`s an ability for him to be able to come back after that.
And I think that now the field is narrowing considerably.

I think all of these do benefit me. I think that Rick Perry`s slide
in the polls benefits me. I think that with Herman Cain.


SHARPTON: Ms. Walsh, is there a possible scenario that you could see
that this could lead to the resurgence of Michele Bachmann? I mean,
because I know you can see these things better than me, so I defer to you.

WALSH: Well, I don`t know, Reverend Al. I don`t see it coming.

She has -- she`s kind of a delusional person with her own idea of
reality, and maybe she sees this. But I think that what`s happened is
we`ve seen each of these people take a little -- take a little strut and
stroll and have their moment in the sun, and then when the base really gets
a look at them, really gets to know them, they flame out.

Now, that happened very early with Michele Bachmann. We were all
paying attention. We were all, like, whoa, OK, the Tea Party likes her,
and she stumbled. She did a terrible job, and I don`t think the attention
is coming back.

I think the real story here is that everybody hates Mitt, you know.


WALSH: He`s just never climbing above a certain level, and every time
a front-runner, you know, just falls apart, the votes don`t go to Romney.
And so the thing about Gingrich, I`m shocked by this, and I`m on record
saying, you know, he`s going to rise and fall like the rest of them.
There`s not that much time for him to fall. I believe it`s still possible,
but, you know --

SHARPTON: Plus, we know a lot of Newt`s negatives already. I think
you`re right, there`s not a lot of time for him to fall, and there`s not a
lot of negatives that we already don`t know about him.

WALSH: Right. Right.

SHARPTON: Governor, let me ask you this. If Newt is the ultimate
beneficiary of all of this -- Barney Frank held a press conference today,
and he said if Newt Gingrich wins the Republican nomination, it will be a
tremendous gift to the Democratic Party.

Watch this.


REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I did not think I had lived a
good enough life to be rewarded by Newt Gingrich being the Republican
nominee. He would be the best thing that happened to the Democratic Party
since Barry Goldwater.


SHARPTON: Governor?

RENDELL: Yes, I think Barney`s got it right. There`s no question in
my mind, Al, that President Obama would beat Newt Gingrich.

You know, people are saying, well, Newt Gingrich is bright enough to
hold his own in the debates. Maybe so, but some of this baggage, the $1.3
million for being a historian for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, I don`t think
that`s going to sit very well. And by the way, a lot of new stuff has come
out. That`s relatively new, that fact.

WALSH: Right.

RENDELL: And then the second fact that`s relatively new for the base,
Joan, is that tape of him and Nancy Pelosi together. I think that that can
have some explosive ramifications with the base, unless the base just
doesn`t want Mitt Romney so badly that they are going to sort of shrug and
forgive Newt all of these transgressions. But if those two things alone,
the Tea Party should reject him, you know, on its face just from those two
things alone.

And let me tell you, you say, Al, that nobody loves Mitt -- or nobody
likes Mitt. That`s true perhaps in Republican primaries, but it`s still
not true in the general.

In the general, Romney is the only candidate who, in Pennsylvania, is
even with the president. All the other candidates are significantly behind
the president.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: Now, what is also interesting, Joan, is that the Tea Party,
it seems to be losing some of its strength and some of its popularity. A
new Pew poll shows that in districts in which Tea Party lawmakers have been
elected, fewer people agree with the Tea Party. So not only are we seeing
this disarray at the top, and as you say, no shift over to Willard, we`re
seeing that the Tea Party is seeming to lose its steam, even in the
Republican Party.

WALSH: Well, yes, and I think this is a great thing for America, but
it was kind of predictable, too, because back in 2010, people were worried
about the economy. They did not like the bank bailouts. They were very
concerned about the direction of the country and the misery index, et
cetera. And so people kind of blindly, in my opinion, went for the Tea
Party, and now they have had a chance to govern, and they don`t have
solutions, so, you know, I think Americans are wising up.

I agree with Governor Rendell. Mitt Romney is the more formidable
candidate. And I also think that, you know, there`s still time for him to
get -- to lay a glove on Newt.

These two men are flip and flop. I mean, Newt Gingrich`s flip-flops,
really, you might be able to lay them end to end and they will match

And the thing that`s particularly worrisome and should be really kind
of horrifying to the base is that Gingrich`s flip-flops and his positions -
- he was for an individual mandate. He was for universal private
insurance. He was against the Ryan plan. He was for Freddie Mac before he
was against it.

All of these things had something to do with who was paying him,
whereas Mitt`s changes seem to be about politics. Voters are going to have
to decide which is worse, but they are both pretty bad.

So I think the more voters get to know about Newt`s financial baggage,
the $37 million from the health care industry that went to his health think
tank, you know, I think there`s plenty for people to dislike about Newt. I
just wonder if there`s enough time.

SHARPTON: But, Governor, would Willard be able to use that against
Newt Gingrich, or is it better for him to just let it ride out and he kind
of just gets the nomination by default, and then put all of his energy in a
general election?

RENDELL: No. I think Joan is right. Time is running out for Mitt
Romney, because let`s assume, hypothetically, Newt Gingrich wins in Iowa,
comes close in New Hampshire, and wins in South Carolina.


RENDELL: Mitt Romney could be out of the box right then and there. I
mean, it`s possible.

WALSH: Right.

RENDELL: So I think Romney, who has tried to be -- pursue the front-
runner strategy where he doesn`t criticize any other Republicans, he sort
of stays above the fray, I think he can`t do that. I think he has to
unload on Gingrich and hope to do a second place showing in Iowa, win in
New Hampshire, and come back and win in South Carolina.

But time is running short. And I think they have got -- the Romney
campaign has to change their strategy.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s five weeks from today they start voting.

And Joan, Governor, if you think the pictures of him sitting on the
couch with Nancy Pelosi means something, you wait and see if he`s the
nominee when I put out the pictures of him and I and President Obama on
tour together. That ought to really help him with the Tea Party.


WALSH: Absolutely.

RENDELL: And Al, there`s a picture of Newt and I at the press club
together talking about infrastructure.

SHARPTON: Hold it. Don`t release them yet.

WALSH: I have no pictures of me and Newt.

SHARPTON: Let him win the nomination and we`ll come out with a whole
barrage of pictures.

WALSH: I feel so sad. I have no pictures of me and Newt. What am I
going to do?

SHARPTON: Joan, there are no pictures of you? Well, they will have
to settle for us.

Governor Ed Rendell, Joan Walsh, thank you for your time tonight.

RENDELL: Thanks, Al.

WALSH: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Republicans couldn`t do it, so Democrats are showing
them how to hammer Willard Romney, and they are not holding back.

Plus, Chris Christie blaming the president again?


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: Well, then what the hell are we
paying you for? What have you been doing exactly?


SHARPTON: He was fighting for the middle class, Chris.

Payback time ahead.

And nothing says holiday season like Santa, toys and machine guns.
Yes, kids with guns posing with Santa. It`s time to change gun laws.

You`re watching POLITICS NATION on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Welcome back.

Just five weeks until the Iowa caucuses, but the battle for 2012 is
already between Democrats and Willard Mitt Romney. The fight turned white
hot in just the last 24 hours, beginning with that searching DNC ad we
showed you yesterday tearing into the two Mitts.


NARRATOR: From the creator of "I`m Running for Office, for Pete`s
Sake" comes the story of two men trapped in one body: Mitt versus Mitt.


SHARPTON: Ooh, that`s brutal, but Willard is trying to brush it off.


awfully afraid of facing me in the general election. They want to throw
the primary process to anybody but me. So bring it on. We`re ready for


SHARPTON: That`s not the last word. The DNC took another shot today
with a video called "New Hampshire`s Voters or Mitt Romney: A Dishonest
Fraud." It features people talking about that notorious Romney ad that
used President Obama`s words out of context.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think that if you do something with a
commercial like that, that he just may do it with other things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, that`s a deal-breaker I think there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney has truly just swayed wherever the
wind is blowing. In this case, I believe he`ll do it again and again and
again until someone says, hey, enough is enough.


SHARPTON: The DNC means business so far. The Party has spent more
than $6 million on TV ads, compared to just $134,000 by the Romney

Joining me now is Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist and professor at
New York University, and Nia-Malika Henderson, a national political
reporter for "The Washington Post" and a writer for their 2012 blog.

Bob, let me start with you. Why are the Democrats so focused on

BOB SHRUM, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Well, number one, want to make sure
-- define this race early, make sure it`s a choice, not a referendum. He`s
a target-rich environment. There`s a lot you can say about him. I think
Democrats will move on from the flip-flops if he`s the nominee to talking
about what he did to destroy jobs in the private sector and his pathetic
record on jobs as governor of Massachusetts.

One of the really interesting things is, you know, all the flip-flops
are there, and the difference between him and Gingrich -- and Gingrich has
his flip-flops --


SHRUM: -- is that Republican primary voters believe that in his
heart, Gingrich is a conservative, and they believe that Romney, in his
heart, is a con man, that he`s just doing and saying these things to try to
get the nomination.

SHARPTON: Now, Nia-Malika, Mr. Romney was on Fox saying that his
words are being taken out of context, believe it or not -- he actually said
that -- and that he`s only flip-flopped on one thing, and that`s abortion.



ROMNEY: There`s no question but that people are going to take
snippets and take things out of context and try and show that there are
differences, where in some cases there are not. But one place I changed my
mind, which was with regards to the government`s role relating to abortion.

I am pro-life. I did not take that position years ago. And that`s
the same change that occurred with Ronald Reagan, with George W. Bush, with
some of the leaders in the pro-life movement.


SHARPTON: Now, as much as I am totally against anybody taking
somebody`s word out of context, Willard, and particularly one that has done
it so well like you have, let me remind you, Nia-Malika, just in case
you`re not looking at your notes, of some of the famous flip-flops that
Willard has been accused of, and I think there`s a fairly established

He`s flipped on immigration. Supported an amnesty position in 2007,
now he`s against amnesty.

Abortion, pro-choice. Now he`s anti-abortion.

Health care reform, against health care reform law that`s based on his
own Massachusetts plan.

Guns -- once he said he didn`t line up with the NRA. Later, he
supported rights to bear arms.

His name, in last week`s debate, he says his first name is Mitt.


SHARPTON: Nia-Malika?

dropping "Ronald Reagan" in that clip there, but in a debate against Ted
Kennedy he sort of walked back and said he wasn`t a supporter of the Reagan
revolution and called himself an Independent. So there are many, many
flip-flops, many shifts, many nuanced positions.

I mean, you almost need a map to keep track of every change in
position that he`s taken over these last years. And I think that video --
it`s like 30 seconds -- really captured what those critical issues are
going to be for conservatives.

I talked to some conservatives out in Iowa who said conservatives
themselves were forwarding that ad to other conservatives and saying that
they couldn`t vote for Mitt Romney because of everything laid out in that
ad. And there was a focus group out there with some Evangelicals who
basically said that Mitt Romney is an opportunist.

So I think one of the things that Democrats are doing by really, you
know, hammering Mitt Romney on these changes is really articulating this
message not only to Democrats, but to Republicans, conservative
Republicans, and in that way they are really going to stretch this race
out. They are going to hammer Romney, leave Newt Gingrich alone, or
whoever the number two is, and this could mean that this fight ends up
going into June or July.

SHARPTON: Now, let`s look, Bob, at the map, the battleground map.

The 11 tossup states fit nicely in about three regions: five in the
Midwest, three in the new South, and in the West. Where is the problem --
where are the problems for the president and what has to happen if the
president is going to successfully secure this in your judgment with no
real cliffhanger?

SHRUM: Well, this election might be a cliffhanger depending on all
sorts of events, especially the economy.


SHRUM: But I think the president has advantages, as well as problems.
He obviously has problems in some of the Midwestern states because of the
condition of the economy. The Republicans in Congress are trying to do
everything they can to keep it from getting better. But his advantage,
Reverend --

SHARPTON: And so when we`re talking Midwest, the states that I
pointed out was Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa.

SHRUM: Yes. But the problem that the -- the advantage he has -- and
you`ll remember this from 2004 -- because Senator Kerry had taken public
funding, he had limited resources.


SHRUM: And so we had to write off -- at the end of the campaign, we
had to write off states that we very well could have carried. We had to,
for example, stop advertising in Colorado, which we barely lost.

The advantage that the president has is he`s not in federal funding.
They are going to raise somewhere between $800 million and $1 billion, and
they are going to compete in every one of these states, and they are going
to compete very vigorously. So they have about four or five different
paths to get to that 270 electoral votes.

SHARPTON: Now, Nia-Malika, with all of our saying this and all of our
talking about Willard being a flip-flopper, and taking him as somewhat
funny, Independents in a poll by Pew says that Independents go for Romney
53 percent to 41 percent.

How does the president, Nia-Malika -- no one covers this closer than
you do -- how does the president appeal more to Independents without
alienating his base that is now energized by Occupy and 99 percent kind of

HENDERSON: Yes. I think that`s going to be tough, and I think one of
the reasons Mitt Romney appeals to Independents so well is because
Independents sort of change their minds, too.

You know, maybe they will vote Republican in one election, and then
Democrat in the next election. But I think one of the things that Barack
Obama is going to try to do, again, is really try to paint Mitt Romney -- I
mean, there are obviously two strategies here.

One is that he`s a flip-flopper, but the other is that he`s beholden
to the Tea Party, that he`s radical, that he`s extreme, and that he really
embodies this one percent that everybody seems to have a problem with.
It`s really this income inequality that has sparked the Occupy Wall Street
movement. He embodies that, and if he`s in the White House, he will
essentially go to bat for that one percent. So I think that`s going to be
something that the White House really tries to articulate.

I mean, they have got a lot of room I think in this map, 365-173 was
the match-up before, so they have got some room. They are going to try to
expand the map, even compete in places like Texas, Arizona and Georgia.
Not likely that they would win those states, but if they force Romney or
Gingrich or whoever the nominee is to spend money there, then that means
they are just that much more competitive.


SHARPTON: All right.

Bob Shrum, thank you.

SHRUM: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Nia-Malika, thank you.

Thank both of you for your time.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Governor Scott Walker is fighting for his political
life. So Republicans in Wisconsin are digging deep into their bag of dirty
tricks. We`ll expose them tonight.

And here`s a big surprise. Mr. Money Man, Newt Gingrich, is no fan of
the 99 percent movement. Surprised?


repudiate the concept of the 99 and the 1.


SHARPTON: Comments like that are only fueling the movement.

And here`s a sign it`s time for gun reform: Santa, the kids and guns.
It`s happening.

That`s next.


SHARPTON: With just a month before Christmas, Santa Claus is coming
to town. And if you`re in Arizona, he may be packing heat.

An Arizona gun club is charging people $10 to pose for a picture with
Santa and guns, including machine guns. That`s right, machine guns. Even
little kids get to play around with these guns after telling Santa what
they want for Christmas, and people there say it`s all in good fun.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it`s going to be all in fun from those who
support the Second Amendment and those who don`t, whether you`re a gun
advocate or you`re not, you should have a lot of fun with it.


SHARPTON: Sure, just have a lot of fun with it. But maybe it`s not
so shocking once you remember it`s in Arizona. This is the state where
it`s legal to bring guns into bars, government buildings and school
grounds. It`s the state that doesn`t require permits to carry concealed
weapons. It`s the state where Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and 18 other
people were shot in January.

The attack left six people dead, but Republicans just march on packing
heat. Just this month the House passed a bill that forces states to accept
concealed gun permits from other states, even if they have weaker laws.
This is the Republicans` vision for America. Guns in bars, concealed
weapons everywhere and Santa`s packing heat.

Let`s hope the voters adopt a New Year`s resolution, to roll back
these radical laws.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to the show. Another day, another Republican
defending the 1 percent.


the president to repudiate, the concept of the 99 and the 1. It is un-
American. It is divisive. It is historically false.


SHARPTON: It`s divisive. It`s un-American. You know what I think is
un-American? The fact that the average amount of Bush tax cuts for the top
1 percent is greater than the average income of the other 99 percent of the
population. That`s my idea of un-American, but make no mistake. Newt is
not the only Republican waging warfare based on class in Washington.

The GOP is refusing to match the payroll tax cut that would put $1300
in the pockets of 160 million American workers. Why? Because of a
millionaire`s surtax that would have small impact on 345,000 Americans.

Think about that. Millions will suffer because Republicans want to
protect 0.2 percent of taxpayers. Republicans flat out refusing to
negotiate on taxes. Yet Chris Christie of all people has the audacity to
blame the president for not doing more.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I was angry this weekend
listening to the spin coming out of the administration about the failure of
the Super Committee and that the president knew it was due for failure so
he didn`t get involved.

Well, then what the hell are we paying you for? It`s doomed for
failure so I`m not getting involved? What have you been doing exactly?


SHARPTON: What has the president been doing? He`s been fighting for
jobs. He`s been crusading for the middle class. What exactly has your
party been doing, Governor? What are we paying the ones that were on the
Super Committee from your party? Why are we paying them?

Joining me now is another crusader for the middle class, Mark Moriel,
he`s president and CEO of the National Urban League.

Mark, thanks for coming to the show tonight.

congratulations on the show. Good to be with you.

SHARPTON: Thank you. Good to be with you.

MORIAL: Thanks for your advocacy.

SHARPTON: Thank you. How can we take care of the 99 percent if the
Republican Party is so focused on protecting the top 1 percent? How do we
take care of the 99?

MORIAL: One thing Newt and Chris Christie ought to do is call their
friends in Congress and say give us an up or down vote on the president`s
American Jobs Act.


MORIAL: Which has never been voted on because of filibusters in the
United States Senate so it`s important for people to know there`s never
been a vote on the merits of the American Jobs Act which is the president`s
jobs plan which is based a lot on the jobs plan that the National Urban
League put together that many such as you have supported.

The 99 percent need jobs. They also need jobs that pay good wages,
and what they need is less of a conversation that`s about protecting
loopholes, tax deductions, special interests in the tax code for a handful
of Americans, and a fight for working and middle class Americans.

We need jobs. We need them now. The president`s plan is the only
plan pending in Congress that would create jobs.

SHARPTON: Now you and the National Urban League, along with all of us
in the civil rights community, National Network and others, have been
pushing about jobs and saying that it`s even more painful in communities of
color. This morning the "New York Times" did a big story in which it says,
among other things, the central role played by government -- government
employment in black communities is hard to overstate.

African-Americans in the public sector earn 25 percent more than other
black workers, and the jobs have been regarded as respectable, stable work
for college graduates, allowing them to buy homes, send children to private
colleges and achieve other markers of middle class life that otherwise were
closed to them.

MORIAL: So who -- we`re talking about teachers, school
administrators, police officers, civil servants, tax collectors, deputy
sheriffs, people who work in court systems across the country, state and
federal employees, people that work for city government.

People in the black community have made progress. When you see
governors like the governor of Wisconsin and other governors assault


MORIAL: Want to cut back on state and local government, when you see
a Congress want to roll back support for housing, for education that
impacts American cities, it`s going to disproportionately impact black
American workers who`ve made progress in these sorts of public jobs over
the years.

SHARPTON: And these are the Americans that everybody wants to extol
but that are being wiped out with this lack of jobs.

MORIAL: And it`s time to stop demonizing public employees.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

MORIAL: I say we shouldn`t demonize people that get up, work every
day, do an honest day`s living. We need to support them and we need to
recognize that in the last eight to 10 months, Reverend, as the private
sector has created jobs, the public sector has lost jobs.

SHARPTON: That`s the threat.

MORIAL: This has caused more unemployment in this nation.

SHARPTON: Now, last month, October 15th, you and I, along with labor,
Lee Sanders and (INAUDIBLE), and Randy Weingartner had 40,000 people
marching in Washington. Next Friday 25 cities we`re mobilizing around jobs
and justice. We`re mobilizing around a real plan. We weren`t just out
there marching just to be marching. You have a 12-point job plan that will
help all Americans.

MORIAL: Our 12-point job plan which you can find at or includes a number of ideas. Summer jobs, green empowerment
zones, training and infrastructure, and infrastructure bank, public/private
partnerships, a wide range of ideas.

Right now what Congress needs to do is pass a comprehensive jobs plan.
What we have now is foot dragging, but you know, I`m proud that local
elected officials, like Burrel Ellis, the county executive in DeKalb

SHARPTON: Georgia.

MORIAL: For example, where I was approximately two weeks ago, are
doing things at the local level to rebuild infrastructure. Here in the
state of New York, the governor of New York I know is considering new steps
that he can take at the state level to put more people back to work.

We need state and local officials not to wait on Washington but also
to do things that they can do with the powers that they have to rebuild
jobs and put people back to work in their communities and we need to say no
to these efforts to cut back on teachers, police officers, fire fighters,
public workers at the local level who serve us every day, jobs that people
in our community earn good wages, with good benefits and have an
opportunity to participate in sensible and fair retirement programs.

SHARPTON: And this is not partisan, Marc, because we`ll work with
anyone if they are working for all Americans. I toured with Newt Gingrich
on education, so we`ll work with people, but when people are saying close
the door on public sector jobs, let`s block everything the president does,
how do you work when you`re killing our communities?

MORIAL: It is obstructionism. It is irrational. It`s the kind of
thing that divides the nation. When you say the president`s plan should
not be voted on and you fail to really offer any sort of counter plan,
you`re being an obstructionist.

I say let`s get a vote now. I think people should definitely take to
the streets if necessary, take action at the local level if necessary. We
have to put Americans back to work. It`s not acceptable for there to be 14
million people out of work.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s great to see you on the front lines again.

MORIAL: And it`s great to see you.

SHARPTON: Next Friday in 25 cities we`re following up the Jobs and
Justice March. People can go to to find out
their cities and what we`re doing.

But Marc Morial, thanks for coming on the show tonight. We`re going
to keep --

MORIAL: Check out our plan and check out your Urban League affiliate
in your local community.

SHARPTON: All right. Marc Morial.

MORIAL: Good. Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Scott Walker is running scared, and his Republican
friends are fighting dirty. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Hey, Republicans, the next time you bash the Affordable
Care Act, you might want to mention it`s working. The Associated Press
reports the health care law is closing the doughnut hole coverage gap in

That means the 47 million seniors and disabled people on the program
are paying a lot less. The average prescription payment have dropped from
$1500 a year to $900.

You know, I remember hearing someone say that would happen.


coverage gap known as the doughnut hole will start getting some help.
These reforms will not cut your guaranteed benefits.


SHARPTON: A promise made and a promise kept.

Republicans, you better hope the Supreme Court upholds this law next
year. Otherwise enjoy telling your constituents that you fought to
increase their medical bills. That will go over really well.


SHARPTON: The progressive wave is building across the country. In
Florida, Governor Rick Scott plan to drug test welfare recipients but a
Bush-appointed federal judge blocked it. In Ohio, Governor John Kasich,
fresh off his epic collective bargaining failure, is now retreating on the
idea of collecting welfare overpayments from 20 years ago.

But the eyes of the progressive world are on Wisconsin where Governor
Scott Walker is fighting for his political life. Less than two weeks into
their two-month deadline, organizers have collected 300,000 signatures.
That`s half of their ultimate goal of 540,000, and they still got six weeks
to go.

Remember, if you do unpopular things, you become unpopular.

Joining me now is Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. He ran against Walker
in the governor`s race, and MSNBC contributor Melissa Harris-Perry, a
professor for political science at Tulane, columnist for "The Nation" and
"Ebony" magazine, just chosen as one of the 100 top blacks in the country.

Mayor Barrett, do you think Scott Walker will be recalled?

MAYOR TOM BARRETT (D), MILWAUKEE: Well, I think that what you have
right now is experts on both sides, Democrats and Republicans, who believe
very strongly that based on the activity we`ve seen just in the last 12
days that there certainly will be a recall election that`s forced.

As you noted in your introduction there, there have already been over
300,000 signatures that have been collected. That comes out to 1,046
signatures per hour over the first 12 days. It is breath taking to see the
number of citizens throughout this entire state who are out on weekends and
evenings collecting signatures. I have never seen anything like it in my
entire life.

SHARPTON: I mean can you believe this guy defeated you, I mean, this

BARRETT: Well, it was a different year. 2010 was a different year,
and what we have now is we`ve got 10 months, 11 months of people seeing how
he would govern, and it really has been governance through division. It`s
pitting people against each other, and I think the people of Wisconsin are
rejecting that.

They do not want a leader at the most difficult times we face to pit
people against each other. They want a leader who is going to bring this
state together, and that certainly has not been the approach that he has

SHARPTON: Will you run against him, Mayor Barrett? Will you go back
for a rematch?

BARRETT: Well, I`m running right now -- I`m running for mayor, I`m
running for re-election for mayor, Reverend. And I love being the mayor of
the city of Milwaukee so that`s what I`m looking at right now.

SHARPTON: Professor Melissa Harris-Perry, let me show you an ad from
the pro-Walker side complaining about sour grapes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not big on recalls, and I think that at this
point, in my opinion, and I`m only speaking from the I, it feels a little
like sour grapes. It`s -- you know, we didn`t get our way and so we want
to change the outcome. It`s not about being popular, you know. It`s not
about getting the votes. This is what is right.


SHARPTON: Professor, is it sour grapes?

interesting thing here is in part -- I actually am not a big fan of recall
elections either just in pure theory. When you`re looking at recalls, what
you`re looking at is a broken democracy because it`s a suggestion that
either you have a candidate who didn`t tell the truth and therefore is
pursuing a set of policies completely opposite from what this candidate
said that he or she would do, or you have an electorate that wasn`t paying
attention and is getting just what the person said but not liking it.

So typically, you know, I would also be, you know, someone not really
supportive of recall elections, but in this case and when you see the
enormous vast overreach of this particular governor on a whole variety of
issues that are really quite different from what this governor said he
would do, that he would produce private sector job which he planned to do
through the massive basically corporate tax cuts but did so by offsetting
them against all of the people of the state of Wisconsin.

You know, I was just in Milwaukee just last month and having
conversations with people who kept saying to me, I never thought that this
would happen here, an attack on public school teachers, an attack on
ordinary working people that Milwaukee and Wisconsin was a place that
always saw itself really as a bellwether of how regular ordinary people
come together in tough circumstances and kind of make, you know, make
solutions to problems.

SHARPTON: Well, let us not forget we`re dealing with a man that got
on the phone thinking he was talking to Mr. Koch, getting conspiring -- I
mean, and he was not telling people he was going after collective


SHARPTON: So part of what you`re saying that the candidate told
people things that was not what he was going to do or they weren`t
listening, you might have a little bit of both here in Wisconsin, but they
are correcting it, Professor.

HARRIS-PERRY: They are, and -- look, and in this case, again, what I
said before is normally recall elections mean something is really broken in
democracy, but the way that this is happening, massive public education
campaigns, door-to-door knocking of citizens talking to one another about
what`s going on, finding out what the real policies are. I mean, it`s hard
to imagine anything better for democracy than what is going on in Wisconsin
right now. Now the question of whether or not they can actually get a
candidate who can actually defeat Walker I think is a separate strategic
question and one that we can`t answer yet, but the very effort to do this
campaign, the very effort to go out and educate one another and really, you
know, again, because part of what Walker did here was to pass these more
restrictive voter I.D. laws as well.


HARRIS-PERRY: And so this push is all about getting people back into
the system.

SHARPTON: I don`t know how they will find a candidate. I don`t know
-- whoa, Mayor Barrett. Let me go back to you, not that I would ever be
suggesting anything, but let me ask you. Was your opponent, Mr. Walker,
did he run on breaking the collective bargaining and doing what he`s done
in terms of public workers and teachers?

Did he say this and people voted for it, or did he run on something
else and people thought this was about something else, and then when he got
in he came with this kind of policy?

BARRETT: Well, can I tell you, Reverend, he never once in the entire
year I was a candidate for governor, never once mentioned that he was going
to go after the unions and in essence destroy them. In fact, the first
indication we got of that was early December about, a month after the
election, and then in a conversation that you referenced before when you
thought he was talking to the Koch brothers, he used the phrase -- we
decided, in essence, to -- and the quote was, drop the bomb.

So it was clearly a surprise attack, and I think what happens when
someone drops a bomb is you either obliterate the people or a village, or
if you`re not successful in obliterating them, they fight back, like
they`ve never fought before.

SHARPTON: That`s right.

BARRETT: And that`s what`s happened here. Is he tried to drop the
bomb. He thought that within five or six days he`d push this legislation
through with little fanfare, and what happened instead is you had two
months of the most active citizen demonstrations that we have seen since
the Vietnam war, and people have not cooled down since then. They have
been angry since then because it was really a basic attack on their social

SHARPTON: Well, you`ve got to channel that anger to the polls.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Melissa Harris-Perry, thank you for
joining us. We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Conrad Murray, the doctor convicted in the overdose death
of Michael Jackson, was sentenced today to four years in prison for
involuntary manslaughter. Before handing down the sentence, the judge had
some harsh words for Dr. Murray.


a set of circumstances and became involved in a cycle of horrible medicine
which violated his sworn obligation for money, fame, prestige and whatever
else may have occurred.


SHARPTON: Murray received the maximum sentence, but he`ll probably
serve only half the time because he`s a non-violent offender. Crowds
chanted outside the courthouse after the sentencing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four years is not enough. Four years is not
enough. Four years is not enough.


SHARPTON: The crowds know what they are talking about. Today is not
a day to celebrate. It doesn`t end injustice suffered by Michael Jackson
or change the fact that his children have lost their father or that the
Jacksons have lost their son and their brother.

Friends of his like me will miss him as a person. The world will miss
him as an entertainer. But one thing good about today sends a message,
that you can`t sell your profession for fame and fortune, even if people
have weaknesses. You are not hired to play on them. You`re hired to
maintain your oath.

We must keep fighting to make sure everyone understands that everyone
must be accountable to their professional oaths.

Thank you for watching. I`m Al Sharpton. "HARDBALL" starts right


Transcription Copyright 2011 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of