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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

Guests: Bob Shrum, Maria Teresa Kumar, Judith Brown Dianis, Will Crossley,
Jim McDermott

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Middle class Americans need help
now. Stop the class warfare. President Barack Obama today gives a major
speech, making the case for fairness. Block the vote. A GOP operative is
convicted in a real case of election fraud. And just say no. Newt agrees
to Donald Trump`s debate, but will it says, Trump, you`re fired.


Trump earlier today. I indicated that we just can`t make this debate.


SHARPTON: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`ll Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, the case for a more fair America. Today the president
went to Kansas to give a major speech about this country and his values.
It`s a place where President Teddy Roosevelt also gave an important speech.
President Obama talked about leveling the playing field, and he challenged
the Republican Party to stand in his way.


just another political debate. This is the defining issue of our time.
This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class and for all those who
are fighting to get into the middle class.


SHARPTON: This is a make-or-break moment for the middle class. It`s
a make or break for 99 percent of the country. It`s make or break because
for too long we`ve catered to the top one percent, and President Obama is
fighting a whole party that wants to keep this unjust system in place.


OBAMA: After all that`s happened, after the worst economic crisis,
the worst financial crisis since the great depression, they want to return
to the same practices that got us into this mess. Their philosophy
assembles. We are better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves
and play by their own rules. I am here to say they are wrong.



SHARPTON: They are wrong, and keeping the status quo in place will
not make Republicans right.


OBAMA: If we just cut more regulations and cut more taxes, especially
for the wealthy, our economy will grow stronger. Sure, they say. There
will be winners and losers, but if the winners do really well, then jobs
and prosperity will eventually trickle down to everybody else and that
theory fits well on a bumper sticker. But here`s the problem. It doesn`t
work. It has never worked.



SHARPTON: America doesn`t work when prosperity trickles down. The
president knows that it does work when people can`t afford health care, it
works when they can afford education. It works when the American dream is
attainable for everyone, not just the one percent.


OBAMA: I believe that this country succeeds when everyone gets a fair
shot, when everyone does their fair share, when everyone plays by the same
rules. These aren`t democratic values or Republican values. These aren`t
one percent values or 99 percent values. They are American values, and we
have to reclaim them.


SHARPTON: It was a great speech, but not only because of the
oratorical ability of this gifted president but because of the content.
Because no make no mistake about it. We are dealing with people that want
to engage in class warfare and make the middle class and poor the losers.
This is going to be a race about who this country is for, and whether they
will continue to have the top one percent, live in America that is based on
overdrive for them and the rest of us get what is left. I think the
president laid it out today. Whoever his opponent is, we know what we as
Americans must fight.

Joining me now is Richard Wolffe, MSNBC political analyst and Alex
Wagner, host of "Now with Alex Wagner." Thank you both for coming on the
show tonight.



SHARPTON: Richard, let me start with you. Do Republicans have a
credible answer to the case the president made today?

WOLFFE: Well, what they have is a caricature. They want to say this
is about socialism. It`s not about fairness. It`s redistribution. It`s
about all the things that they think he`s been doing which in fact as
untrue as a caricature is that he`s anti-business or he`s playing class

As he pointed out, this isn`t about attacking the rich, this is about
fighting for the middle class, and what`s missing here is what he`s going
to do beyond extending the payroll tax or targeting the Bush tax cuts
towards the rich, so there are elements of his own approach that I still
think have to be filled out here, but in terms of how he explained his
approach to domestic policy, this is as close as we`re going to get to an
Obama doctrine.

SHARPTON: I think that he effectively laid it out, but let me ask you
this, Alex. Grover Norquist the last several weeks, we hear about his
immense power because he had this pledge signed.

WAGNER: Right.

SHARPTON: That Republicans signed, many of them.

WAGNER: Right.

SHARPTON: That they would not raise taxes under any circumstances.
Well, it`s been raised now where Grover is because now the tax -- payroll
tax cut extension is up, and a lot of the Republicans are talking about not
supporting it. Well, that`s a tax cut being -- that`s raising taxes.
That`s not extending a tax cut, and then let me show you this. Grover, all
of a sudden, says payroll tax cuts expiration is not a tax hike, so help me
out here. When rich people`s tax hikes expire, that`s raising taxes. When
middle class people`s tax hikes expire.

WAGNER: Right.

SHARPTON: That`s not a tax hike.

WAGNER: You know, the Republicans have -- I mean, it`s very curious
logic, and I think logic is being generous. There`s been all sorts of
justifications. They say, look, the money from the payroll tax cut is
going to come from Social Security and we`re concerned about the solvency
of Social Security and the idea that payroll tax cuts don`t benefit
businesses and when Democrats played ball and said we`ll cut payroll taxes
for businesses, too, you know, they said no to that.

Ultimately I think this is a matter of constituencies. The people
that are helped the most by payroll tax cuts tend to be overwhelmingly the
poor, African-Americans, Latinos, who are traditionally democratic voters.
There is a sense of injustice that I think a lot more democratic lawmakers
are much more in touch with. The Republicans have not seen the working
class and poor as a major priority for them and therefore they don`t need
to care that much about the payroll tax cut. But you put that logic next
to the logic for extending the Bush tax cuts, and it just doesn`t make

SHARPTON: Now, Richard, I`m one of the rare people in the country
that`s been in the room with Newt Gingrich and President Obama.

WOLFFE: At the same time?

SHARPTON: At the same time when the president met with us on
education reform, but let me share with you there is a contrast between
this President and Newt Gingrich when it comes down to poor people. Let me
show you this.


really poor neighborhoods have no habits of working and have nobody around
them who works.

OBAMA: We tell people, we tell our kids, that in this country, even
if you`re born with nothing, work hard and you can get into the middle

GINGRICH: They don`t have habit of I do this and you give me cash
unless it`s illegal.

OBAMA: The idea that those children might not have a chance to climb
out of that situation and back into the middle class, no matter how hard
they work, that`s inexcusable.


SHARPTON: Now, Richard, Newt Gingrich, believe it or not.

WOLFFE: Right.

SHARPTON: Is the front-runner right now.

WOLFFE: He is. The clear front-runner

SHARPTON: The solid front runner.


SHARPTON: This is what we may see in next year`s election, the
contrast between an incumbent president that`s talking about every American
child being able to pursue the American dream no matter what income level
they are born.

WOLFFE: Right.

SHARPTON: And a Republican opponent saying that poor kids don`t come
from an environment with a work ethic and the only thing they see is trade
of money if it`s illegal. I mean, that will be a real showdown of where
America is if we have an Obama/Gingrich race.

WOLFFE: Sure, and it`s -- it`s what you expect from someone who has
got a half million dollar line of credit at Tiffany`s and who brags about
earning $60,000 for a speech. He is truly a man of the people. And look,
when you compare what happened to John McCain who couldn`t recall whether
he had seven or eight properties, there`s so much more material to work
with Gingrich.

So, I realize he`s your friend and he may be on the right side of some
parts of education, but he does need to get out more, maybe talk to some
people who are earning less than $60,000 per hour because as we all know
there are lots of very hard working people who can barely cover the
necessities of life, never mind asking for money an hour of talk.

SHARPTON: For the record, he is not my friend, and he wasn`t even all
the way right on education, but, Miss Wagner.

WAGNER: Reverend.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Elizabeth Warren`s epic you tube, I mean,
you tube ran all the way up with her responding to this whole thing of who
cares for the people, let me play what Elizabeth Warren said because it
sounds like President Obama and her are singing from the same hymn book.


ELIZABETH WARREN, CONSUMER ADVOCATE: There is nobody in this country
who got rich on his own, nobody. You built a factory out there. Good for
you, but I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads
the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.
You built a factory, and it turned in something terrific or a great idea,
God bless. Keep a big hunk of it, but part of the underlying social
contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward to the next kid who
comes along.


SHARPTON: So, you have Elizabeth Warren, you have the President, are
Democrats really finding their kind of stride now and really saying, you
know what? We`re going to speak to the average American and take on this
concept of rich -- right if you`re rich and that trickle down is a sound
economic policy?

WAGNER: Yes. I mean, I saw part of the president`s speech on mute,
and, you know, you just watch him and he has his swagger back.


WAGNER: and I think we talk about the national dialogue, and in no
small part that have is due to the work of the occupy folks and the way
that they have turned the national conversation towards income equality.
We`re looking at the foreclosure crisis today, the notion of income
equality is very much top of mind. You have census numbers that show one
in three Americans are living at or near poverty. It is about time, and
that is why I think Elizabeth Warren`s message is resonating so much with
the American people.

SHARPTON: This is why it`s so despicable with Newt Gingrich said
because if you have a third of the country living in poverty or near
poverty and for him to accuse them of not having a work ethic, not that the
jobs are outsourced, not a layoff, it`s their fault and the only trade they
in cash is illegal and he wants to be the president of this country, he
ought to be on Donald Trump`s show as an extra.

Richard Wolffe and Alex Wagner, thanks for being on the show tonight.
As, wait a minute, before you go be sure to check out "Now with Alex
Wagner" every day at noon Eastern time right here on MSNBC.

WAGNER: Lunch hour.

SHARPTON: Ahead, Republicans keep attacking President Obama`s health
care law, but today we have a reality check. The law is helping real
people, and it is saving lives. Plus, Mitt Romney blows off Donald Trump`s
reality show presidential debate, and a key Republican operative is found
guilty of voter suppression. It`s part of our block the vote series
exposing all the GOP dirty little tricks.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Republicans bashed President Obama`s new health care law,
but new data show it`s already helping millions of Americans. One woman in
California with stage three breast cancer says it`s saving her life.
That`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation." When Republicans took
control of the house in January, they were clear about their top priority,
attacking President Obama`s health care law.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We came out with our pledge to America, and our
pledge was to repeal Obamacare.


SHARPTON: Well, Republicans are on the wrong side of the issue again.
The health care law is working. 2.6 million Seniors have saved more than
$1.5 billion this year thanks to the law closing the so-called doughnut
hole in Medicare drug coverage. That`s an average of $569 saved per
person. 24 million seniors have gone in for free physicals or screenings,
a new change this year, and over the last two years the law has reduced --
has helped reduce the number of uninsured kids by a million. Critics call
the law Obamacare. The president has tackled that phrase head on.


OBAMA: They call it Obamacare. I do care. That`s right. The
question is why don`t you care?



SHARPTON: The president cares. His law helps seniors on Medicare.
It helps small businesses pay for insurance. It provides coverage for
kids, and some adults with pre-existing conditions, and it lets young
adults stay on their parents plan until age 26. All these parts of the law
are already in effect. It makes life better for millions of Americans and
yet the best is yet to come, unless, Republican lawmakers or conservative
judges kill it off first.

Joining me now Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington,
who is also a doctor. So, I`m happy here -- I`m happy he`s here to discuss
this issue.

Congressman, thank you for being here tonight.

REP. JIM MCDERMOTT (D), WASHINGTON: It`s my pleasures, Al. Glad to
be here.

SHARPTON: Are Republicans on the wrong side of the law since the law
is clearly working?

MCDERMOTT: Well, you know, many of us knew when we put it together
there would be a lot of talk about how it wasn`t going to work and nothing
was going to work. But we could tell as things were staged and as they
were brought online that by this point you would begin to have the American
public actually seeing that what the president set in motion is actually
good for them.

The pre-existing condition question and the question of keeping your
kids on until age 26; these were issues that everybody was worried about.
And now they are actually seeing the effect of the proposals to cut the
costs of pharmaceuticals for adults - for seniors. When -- when you`re
paying and you`re having to pay yourself, the law says if you`ve already
paid to a certain point you will get a 50 percent reduction. We knew that
was coming.


MCDERMOTT: And it`s great to see it, and people are now
understanding, the president does actually care about us, and this was
really something that was caring for the American people.

SHARPTON: No. Well, let me show you something, Congressman Doctor
McDermott. First of all, let me show you how adamant the Republicans have
been against this law.


ROMNEY: Obamacare is wrong. I`ll repeal it. I`ll get it done.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I assure you we`ll have a vote on repeal.

GINGRICH: That`s how fast I want to repeal Obamacare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re going to have a vote on the repeal of the
Obamacare bill today.

president of the United States I will not rest until we repeal Obamacare.


SHARPTON: But in the face of that the American people have been
polled. They are supporting Obamacare, as they call it. Fifty percent say
expand or keep as is, 39 percent only say repeal it. The GOP also claimed,
Congressman Doctor McDermott that it was going to be a killer of job. That
the health care law would be a killer of jobs.

Well, in fact this year alone in the health care industry 295,000 jobs
were added. It didn`t care the health care jobs at all. But one of the
most touching things I want to share with you before you respond to all of
this is a cancer patient writes in the "Los Angeles Times" a letter
apologizing for bashing the health care law.

She qualifies for pre-existing conditions in the insurance plan and
says it`s a life saver. I`m reading the letter. She says "I`m sorry I
didn`t do enough of my own research to find out what promises the president
has made good on. I`m sorry I didn`t realize that he really has stood up
for me and my family and for so many others like us. I`m getting a new
bumper sticker. It says Obamacares." This is an op-ed by spike dolomite
ward in the "L.A. Times." People that even were indifferent offer opposed
are saying this works and it`s working directly for me.

MCDERMOTT: You know, Al, if I were you, and I were running your show,
I would have had Miss Ward standing here instead of me because she says it
all in that op-ed in the "Los Angeles Times." The fact that people who
were going along, playing by the rules, doing everything right, they have
done everything they know how to do to take care of themselves can be wiped
out by an illness or an injury is the exact thing the president was taking
on, and he in fact has put something in place that will do it, and the
proof of it is that Mitt Romney, who head a proposal just like this in


MCDERMOTT: Seventy four percent of the people in Massachusetts say
they like it, so all this nonsense about the tea party saying they want to
repeal it was just a bunch of political nonsense to try to make the
president look bad. He looks great to me, particularly in the area of
health care because he put it in there, got it started against enormous
opposition. It took tremendous will to force this into position, and it`s
now working, and that`s really what`s very exciting.

SHARPTON: No, it is, and you made the point, and by the way, we tried
to reach Miss Ward all day, couldn`t get on tonight, but she will be on
this week. People need to hear from the people that have been affected,
and at the end of the day it doesn`t matter who is up or down. Is the
people being served? Miss Ward is an example of that.

Congressman Doctor Jim McDermott and I keep saying doctor because I
want people to know you`re a doctor, you`re not just talking. You know
this profession. Thank you for your time, congressman.

MCDERMOTT: It`s my pleasure, Al. I`ll be back again.

SHARPTON: Alright. Ahead. Governor Scott Walker says the recall
effort is all about sour grapes. So why was he praising recalls a year
ago? And Willard "Mitt" Romney is turning his back on the Birther King.
Trump gets dumped. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Folks, we know Wisconsin`s right wing Governor Scott Walker
is fighting for his political life. He completely overreached with the
union-busting job that rammed through this spring in Wisconsin. More than
300,000 people have signed a recall petition in the first 12 days of the
campaign. So Walker`s strategy is to make the recall supporters seem like
sour losers. Just like a take a will be at this ad that he`s airing.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m not big on recalls, and at this point from
my opinion, and it`s speaking from my opinion, it seems like sour grapes.
I didn`t get my way and so, we want to change the outcome.


SHARPTON: I don`t like recalls and it sounds like sour grapes.
That`s an interesting line for Walker`s team to take. Since John Nichols
of "the Nation" points out Walker used to love recalls. In fact, one
propelled him into office. Walker became Milwaukee County executive in
2002 after an earlier executive was targeted in a recall campaign! Walker
praised that recall in his race for governor this year.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER, WISCONSIN: You know the folks that were angry
about this started a recall and they were told they need to collect 73,000
signatures in 60 days. Well, not hundreds, not thousands but tens of
thousands of ordinary people did an extraordinary thing. They stood up and
took their government back.


SHARPTON: So when people who share Walker`s politics launched a
recall, they were taking their government back. When people who oppose him
start a recall, it`s sour grapes. Governor, did you think we wouldn`t
notice a real sour grape when we found one?

Nice try, Governor. But we got you.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Folks, there`s something
big happening in the Republican Party. At some point a trend becomes the
truth, and news today makes me think Republicans might have found their
anyone but Romney. Newt Gingrich is on fire. He`s exploding to the top.
Another day, another poll showing him with a massive lead. A brand new
national poll has Newt commanding 15-point lead over Willard Romney. His
37 percent is the highest total we`ve seen in this race. Take a look at

You can see Newt`s yellow line surge from October and Romney, the red
line, is stuck in the same place, and in key states it`s the same story.
Newt is beating Willard in Iowa, and he`s crushing him in South Carolina by
16 points, but the most striking number is this one. Eighty two percent,
82 percent of Tea Party supporters say Newt`s an acceptable pick. Folks,
this is starting to feel like something powerful. We`ve seen them rise.
We`ve seen them fall, but this one feels different.

Joining me now, MSNBC contributor Maria Teresa Kumar, she`s executive
director of Voto Latino and Bob Shrum, democratic strategist and professor
at New York University. Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Bob, is Newt for real?

SHRUM: He sure is and he`s for real -- for several reasons. First of
all, the longer Romney campaigns, he`s not only stuck in the same place in
terms of the number voting for him, his likability, favorable and
unfavorable`s go down. In Iowa in one of those polls you were talking
about, he`s now basically got a one for one favorable, unfavorable. Newt
has an almost three for one favorable unfavorable. Beyond that, well, they
don`t trust Romney. They think that Newt, even though he may have sat on
that couch with Nancy Pelosi or gone to that meeting with you, they think
at heart he`s a conservative. They think he speaks for them and one of the
most interesting trends in these new polls is they also think he might be a
stronger candidate against President Obama. That`s what came out in this
latest Iowa poll, so, yes, I think Newt`s for real and I don`t think you
can assume he`s going to crash and burn and I think all us beltway people
who wrote him off were wrong.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you, Maria, conservatives seem to love
Newt. I can`t believe it, but it`s true. If you look at this recent
Gallup poll, it shows a breakdown of support for Gingrich and Romney by
ideology. Gingrich is blowing Romney out of the water with conservatives.
You`ve got 41 percent to Romney`s 20 percent and people in this poll that
have identified themselves as conservatives. How does that happen, Maria?

KUMAR: I think right now what you`re seeing is actually a fracture
within the Republican Party. The republican elite here in Washington who
basically recognizes that they don`t want to support him. Right now, there
are 50 Congressional members that were part of his team when he was speaker
of the house, so they are saying, he only has six endorsements of those 50.
But then you do see the Tea Party candidates that I don`t really think know
what Newt Gingrich is about. They don`t realize how he has been supportive
of no child left behind. They don`t know that he`s been a supportive of
Medicare section D.

So, they don`t realize that he`s actually done a lot of interventions
policies. And so, once Romney is out of the picture, he always said, he`s
a treasure trove of flip-flopping that they right now -- that many folks
are actually accusing Mitt Romney of. If anything, the only folks that are
super excited right now that Newt is leading in the polls I would say, is
the Obama campaign because they have him on record across lines saying
exactly what he thinks, how he feels and increasingly it`s a treasure trove
for anyone to go look through and say, OK, Newt, we got you, and then we
also have to dig deeper and say, does he have the war chest? Does he have
the infrastructure, and in both cases right now he does not.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, Mr. Gingrich is the front-runner, came to New
York yesterday to see the king of the birthers, Donald Trump, and Donald
Trump is moderating a debate, and -- and today Mr. Romney stood up, Willard
said, he`s not attending the debate. Look at this.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I`m not participating in
that. We have two debates in December that I`ve agreed to participate in.
The rest of the month is going to spend campaigning, doing the political
work you`ve got to do to get the support of the people in Iowa, New
Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida. So, we`ll be hitting the trail. I
spoke with Donald Trump earlier today, I indicated that we just can`t make
this debate.


ROMNEY: He -- he understood my perspective and wished me well.


SHARPTON: Well, he understood his perspective and wished him well,
but then Mr. Trump, the Donald, issued this statement tonight. Somewhere
along the line he didn`t put in there I wish you well. He says, quote, "It
would seem logical to me that if I was substantially behind in the polls,
especially in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida, I would be participating in
the debate. But I can also understand why Governor Romney decided not to
do it."

Well, I don`t know what he`s inferring there, but knowing Trump but
knowing Trump, the great promoter, I don`t think he`s going to let this go.
This might be a -- a daily nightmare for Willard to be kind of nudged by
Donald Trump

SHRUM: You know, this word understand. I understand him. He
understands me, it was thrown around all over this dialogue today.


SHRUM: I think what Willard understood was he wasn`t going to get the
endorsement of Donald Trump. He also understood that a lot of commentators
were going to think better of him if he refused to participate in a clown
show known as a Donald Trump debate. But the difference here, and it may
work for Gingrich, and this is where Maria and I may have a difference. I
think that a lot of the conventional rules may not apply this year.
Organization in Iowa, for example, may be very overrated. People may go to
those caucuses and vote for Gingrich anyway. He`s obviously going to have
to raise the money over time, but -- and the other thing is, you throw the
flip-flop argument at him, first of all, Romney can`t do it. If there`s a
treasure trove of flip-flops that you can apply to Gingrich, there`s a Fort
Knox worth of flip flops that you can apply to Mitt Romney. Secondly, I
think he may be Teflon for these conservative Republicans, that these
arguments may bounce off him. Rick Perry was killed by saying something
half decent on immigration. Mitt Romney has soared since he said briefly
something half decent on immigration.

SHARPTON: You mean Newt Gingrich.

SHRUM: Newt Gingrich. Yes.

SHARPTON: But Maria, do you think that the fact that Gingrich does
not have a national infrastructure organization in place that he could run
out, or do you feel that, as Bob has said, the rules don`t apply, the
normal rules don`t apply this time?

KUMAR: Some basic rules don`t apply so, for example, he,
unfortunately, he actually forgot, Newt Gingrich actually failed to file --
to be on the ballot in Missouri. It looks like he`ll almost going to miss
the Ohio deadline and there`s other states that follow. So, in certain
areas, you just have you to have a basic organizational structure to make
sure that you`re doing that. You can`t have a revolving stop.


SHARPTON: He said he didn`t want to be on that ballot because there`s
no delegates so he -- he says it wasn`t an oversight, that they
intentionally didn`t care because there`s no delegates attached to that

KUMAR: That`s -- that`s a fair argument, except if you really think
that you`re going to be the nominee and you`ll have to go toe to toe with
Obama, you want to start seating early with Missouri and you want to make
sure that folks know your agenda and understand that you`re with them,
especially Missouri is very much going to be a battleground state.

SHARPTON: Bob, when you go back to this same poll, what is
interesting about your point about the normal rules don`t apply, the Tea
Party vote, this is, again, the same Gallup poll, this is not a Robo poll,
this Gallup poll, Tea Party people identify themselves as Tea Party
Republicans. Forty seven percent to 17 percent, Gingrich over Romney.
Thirty point spread. These are the type of voters you would assume will go
to a caucus like Iowa, and it has nothing to do with the infrastructure.
They are going in there with what they have in mind which could help
Gingrich if these numbers are real and hold up.

SHRUM: More than that Reverend, some of these people may have told
folks that they were for them, that they were for a different candidate.
That candidate may take them to the Iowa caucuses and they may walk across
the room and caucus, for example, with Newt Gingrich. Look, at the end of
the day here, the most telling figure in that poll is not just the
conservative figure. It`s the moderate liberal figure.

KUMAR: That`s right.

SHRUM: The only place where Gingrich comes close. He basically --
where Romney comes close, he basically ties Gingrich is with moderates and
liberals. Guess how many of those there are in the Republican Party and
especially in that primary electorate. Very few. If I were Romney, I`d be
worried. That`s why he said today, it`s time to get his message out.
What`s he been doing for the last six months?

SHARPTON: No, the last four years he`s been running. Maria Teresa
Kumar and Bob Shrum, thanks for your time tonight.

SHRUM: Thank you.

KUMAR: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Just ahead, caught in the act. A republican operative
found guilty of voter suppression. It`s our block the vote series of
protecting your rights, and it`s that time of year again, the holiday
party, the gifts and the right wing attack on the president`s family
vacation. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We have big news tonight in our block the vote report. It
turns out voter fraud does exist, even today in America. But it`s the
Republicans playing the dirty tricks. Today Paul Schurick, an aide to
former Maryland Governor Robert Ehrlich was found guilty of conspiring to
suppress black voter turnout in 2010. Prosecutors charged that Schurick
approved deceptive calls to convince black voters not to go to the polls.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Paul, can we ask you your reaction first.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He`s not speaking.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Paul Schurick had no public comment after the
jury`s verdict, guilty on four criminal counts.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I`m calling to let everybody know that Governor
O`Malley and President Obama have been successful.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Related to the 2010 Election Day Robo call that
suggested Martin O`Malley had won the governor`s race before the polls had
actually closed. Schurick was the campaign manager for the Bob Ehrlich
campaign, he authorized the call which was missing the so-called authority
line to hide the early campaign`s involvement.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Schurick ratified by the verdict.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Schurick testified the call was a
counterintuitive attempt to get Ehrlich voters to the polls.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I thought it was ridiculous, I think it was
ridiculous. I just don`t buy it and evidently the jury didn`t buy it as


SHARPTON: Notes taken by the woman who recorded the Robo call says it
all. Quote, "Suppress turnout in black communities." Amazing. The
conviction highlights what countless minority voters report in every
election, that Republicans use dirty tricks to suppress the vote.

Joining me now is Judith Brown Dianis, co-director of the Advancement
Project, a civil rights group focused on issues of democracy and race. And
Will Crossley is director of Voter Protection for the Democratic National
Committee. Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Will, a stunning example of voter suppression today. So,
the plan to tell black voters that their candidate was doing fine so they
wouldn`t feel their vote was needed, is that what the scheme was?

CROSSLEY: Absolutely, Rev. We began to get calls on this subject on
Election Day when it was happening in -- in the 2010 election, and we have
followed it ever since and pleased to see that a jury found nothing short
of a conspiracy to commit election fraud by republican operatives in the
State of Maryland. They went after 110,000 African-American voters in the
cities of Baltimore and in Prince George`s County, Maryland. This is in
fact the real fraud that`s being perpetrated upon the American people, upon
voters by the Republican Party. And so this verdict today is evidence that
that is going on.

SHARPTON: Now, Judith, I remember 2010 we have a chapter that we were
hearing this but you hear it all over the country. Does this verdict in
your opinion help with many of the cases that groups all over the country
have been trying to fight, and will it pour a little cold water on those
operatives that may have plans for 2012?

DIANIS: Well, Reverend Sharpton, oops, they got caught.


DIANIS: This is clearly all of the stories that we have known that
have existed for years, the deceptive practices. It`s just a continuation
of a campaign of misinformation that is being put together by the right
wing. Instead of, you know, talking about ID and trying to challenge the
eligibility of hard-working Americans who want to participate in democracy,
they are committing the real fraud against Americans by telling them to go
to the polls on particular days after an election or telling them that in
fact you can`t vote if you have parking tickets or you have some other
issue. Instead of trying to block the vote, why not have real democracy
and stop trying to undermine it. Next week, Reverend, we`re going to be
delivering a petition to the Department of Justice calling on them to step
up their efforts to stop voter suppression. We have over 120,000
signatures. We hope more people will join this effort, because we have to
call on them to enforce the voting rights act.

SHARPTON: Well, there`s no doubt about it. And there are 14 states,
I just put the map up, that saw 25 vote redistricting laws passed this
year. We`re rallying in 25 cities this Friday, there`s a march this
Saturday, there`s your petition drive. Bu but, Will, let me ask you, in
Maryland, the doctrine there was and I`m reading what they had actually
written out, was promote confusion, emotionalism and frustration among
African-American Democrats focused in precincts where high concentrations
of African-American votes. That was Maryland. Do you know about the
schemes around the country, Will?

CROSSLEY: Oh, there`s no question. We saw other efforts in 2010.
These Robo calls. We`ve seen the misinformation campaigns. We`ve also
seen voter caging, a process in which they send out post cards to people.
And if you don`t return the postcard, then they question your residency and
add you to a list when you show up at the polls, question whether or not
you`re actually qualified to vote. That happened in 1982 in New Jersey.
We`ve seen it in Louisiana, 1987. We`ve seen it 1990 in North Carolina.
We prosecuted 2004 in Ohio as well as in 2008 in the state of Michigan.
They created these lists from people`s names who had been placed on
foreclosure and challenged their residency. We went to court over that as
well. And so the important thing, we want voters to know is that we were
watching in the past this verdict today and will continue to watch in the
future for these kinds of activities.

SHARPTON: Well, Judith, I think that this was got to be a fight, as
you say, to preserve democracy and make things work that assure democracy
for everyone. I wonder why with all of these voter ID laws and all of this
so-called fight against voter fraud, they`re not talking about this in the
right wing. Strange they missed all of this voter suppression efforts that
will just outlined and the jury convicted on today in Maryland.

DIANIS: That`s right. This is the real fraud. Let`s talk about
this. Let`s get some laws passed that stop these deceptive practices, that
stop people from going to the polls, that give them misinformation. You
know, unfortunately, this campaign of misinformation works for the right
wing. And what we need to do is stand up, stand for democracy and fight
back and get some laws passed that convict more people like the one
convicted in Maryland.

SHARPTON: Well, there was only 86 prosecutions with the voter fraud
they raised out of three million people voting -- 300 million, 300 million
-- I said, three million, 300 million, I meant, voting. But here on the
other side where we`re seeing convictions, they`re not interested. That`s
why we are. Judith, Will, thank you both for your time tonight.

DIANIS: Thank you. See you on Saturday.

CROSSLEY: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: The holiday spirit is in the air, it`s time for good will,
a time for parties and a time for traditions. Last week, the Rock Center
Christmas tree lit right outside our studio. A 79-year tradition. And
over at FOX, they have started their very own annual holiday tradition.
What`s that? You haven`t heard of it? It`s the tradition of attacking the
President`s vacation plans.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: President Obama has announced that he`s going to
take a 17-day vacation over Christmas and he`s going to go to Hawaii. He
has developed his strategy for re-election to blame Congress, so really he
can go on vacation and they`ll need to stay there to get something done.

joke. I thought maybe it was a typo, 17 days.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Your boss was hammered for his long summer

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: He never had a surfboard.


SHARPTON: It`s their same old song and dance. I can`t believe he has
the nerve to go away with his family. And isn`t the right wing supposed to
be all about family values? And Dana Perino of all people to throw stones.
Do you remember who you worked for? During his first 31 months in office,
President George W. Bush took 180 vacation days. During the same time,
President Obama has taken only 61. And FOX isn`t the only one. Willard
Mitt Romney is also in the holiday spirits.


ROMNEY: His idea of a hands-on approach to the economy is getting a
grip on his golf club. He`s going off for 17 days in Hawaii. He`ll be
playing a lot of golf.


SHARPTON: Let me get this straight, Willard. You don`t think the
President is keyed into Washington while he`s away? Well, in holiday
spirit, I`ve been thinking if I wanted to give my president a Christmas
gift, if I wanted to try to deliver something to him, I thought about it,
though. Maybe I already have brought you a gift, Mr. President. Happy

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


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