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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Guests: Barney Frank, Jonathan Capehart, Bob Shrum, Bob Franken, Victoria DeFrancesco-Soto, Donna Edwards

one you love, love the one you`re Mitt. That`s what GOP voters are saying
about Willard Mitt Romney as polls show him pulling ahead nationwide. But
Republicans, isn`t he the guy you`ve been trying to replace all year?

The three stooges of 2011. Progressives push back against these three
right-wing governors, but the real fight lies ahead.

And a Rick-roaring good time. I`ll go head to head with the newest
darling of the far right.


SHARPTON: How are you against something that you`re running to be in
charge of? Isn`t that a little schizo?

between you and me, Al.

SHARPTON: There are a whole lot of differences. But go ahead.


SANTORUM: That`s right, there are a whole lot of differences.


SHARPTON: Welcome to POLITICSNATION. I`m Al Sharpton. We`re just
five days away with the Iowa caucus, and I declared these Republican
candidates are getting more extreme by the hour, almost by the minute. The
latest flavor of the week, Rick Santorum, may by the most radical yet.
He`s surging in the Iowa polls and seems to be getting a free pass from the
media, or at least he was until I got ahold of him today on "MORNING JOE."


SHARPTON: I mean I could argue about some of your ugly statements on
the president and all of that, but that would probably help you in the
primary if you and I got into an argument this morning.


SANTORUM: Go ahead, al. Give it to me.

SHARPTON: I`m more concerned about -- you said some despicable and
ugly things, but we`ll do it on POLITICSNATION one night. Don`t let me
help you win the caucus.

SANTORUM: I`m not saying we need a federal system of education, in
fact just the opposite.

SHARPTON: Then how do you do it?

SANTORUM: We need a president who can talk about those things/

SHARPTON: But when you get through talking, how do you do it if the
federal government is not going to do it? I might remind you you`re
running to be the head of the federal government, so how are you against
somebody you`re running to be in charge of? Isn`t that a little schizo?

SANTORUM: That`s the difference between you and me.

SHARPTON: There`s a lot of differences, but go ahead.

SANTORUM: That`s right, Al, there are a whole lot of differences.


SHARPTON: My problem with Santorum is the problem I have with the
entire GOP field. They`re completely out of touch with what Americans want
on everything, from taxes to gay rights.


SANTORUM: A person walked up and said why are you denying my right?

governor was taken on the side of life and I am firmly prolife.

rates considerably on job creators.

straightforward. Repeal the Dodd-Frank bill immediately.


SHARPTON: They are so far right they`re totally wrong for America.

Let`s take this one by one. Gay rights -- 53 percent of Americans
believe same-sex marriages should be recognized by law with the rights
guaranteed by traditional marriage. Abortion -- 64 percent support a
women`s right to choose. Taxes -- 60 percent think we should race taxes on
millionaires. Regulations -- 61 percent support touch banking rules like
the Dodd-Frank financial reform.

On issue after issue, these Republican candidates are completely out
of touch with what the nation needs and wants right now. I know it`s fun
to go through the horserace of who`s ahead now and who`s the flavor of the
month and who is up and who`s down. The problem is that this race is about
the direction and the priorities of the country, not as much who`s in
charge, but what`s in charge.

That`s why on the right they can have a flavor of the month because
they all are the same drink -- different flavor, but same beverage.

Joining me now is Congressman Barney Frank, Democrat from
Massachusetts, and a longtime throwing on the side of the GOP. He`s one of
the authors of the Dodd-Frank Bill. Mr. Chairman, thank you for joining me
this evening.


SHARPTON: How damaging are these extreme views to the country?

FRANK: They can be very damaging. Let me give you an example.
Unemployment is obviously one of the things people are most concerned and
Republicans claim to be concerned about it. We have a higher unemployment
rate now in measurable terms because the right wing has forced cities and
states to lay people off.

There is a great hypocrisy among my Republican colleague. They tell
us government spending can`t create jobs and that it`s a good thing when
there are fewer government jobs, which means fewer teachers, police
officers, people that clean up the snow, firefighters. But then they turn
around and say we cannot reduce the biggest single wasteful item in our
budget, which is the military budget, including subsidizing all kinds of
people we shouldn`t be dealing with in Iraq and Afghanistan. They say if
you cut the military budget, that would cost jobs.

I`ll tell you what cost jobs, and these numbers I just verified.
Employment in the private sector over the past several years is up 2.8
percent, but it`s been reduced to 1.9 percent overall because of the loss
of public sector jobs. In other words, if the cities and states had just
been allowed to stay even with police officers, firefighters, people to
clean the streets, people that shovel the snow, people to maintain the
parks, our unemployment would be a couple of percentage points lower, and
maybe even better because there`s that multiplier.

SHARPTON: Their policies directly contradict that, Mr. Chairman. And
when you look at the fact, one of the things I said in the opening is I
think people need to understand that on the ground in their houses, what is
being advocated from one side to the other is what is important, not this
personality contest that they`ve reduced this to.

FRANK: I agree.

SHARPTON: Let me give you an example. When you look at Mitt Romney`s
plan to reduce the deficit, it includes Big Bird selling ads. I mean, look
at this.


ROMNEY: The National Endowment for the Arts, I do. I like PBS. We
subsidize PBS. I`m going to say they have to have advertisements. We`re
not going to kill Big Bird, but Big Bird is going to have advertisements.


SHARPTON: This is the way he wants to deal with the deficit, not tax
millionaires, not close loopholes.

FRANK: And one other thing. When Barack Obama said we are finally
leaving Iraq, as he had promised, and as George Bush had said, end of 2011,
a George Bush policy, Mitt Romney attacked him. Mitt Romney and the other
Republican candidates, with the exception of Ron Paul, have all talked
about much greater military expenditures. If you`re going to not raise
taxes and significantly increase military expenditures, stay in Afghanistan
and Iraq much longer than we should -- we should be out of both by now,
then what do you do? You have to cut Medicare. You have to wipe out
environmental protection.

They talk about the National Endowment for the Arts. That is a minor
amount. That is a couple of days in Iraq. The real money is in the
military, which they don`t want to cut.

By the way, they`re also great hypocrites on the whole because the
wealthiest people who are subsidized by the United States government are
farmers. You know, the bigger your farm, the more subsidy you get. But
again, these are the -- Bill Clinton did get a budget balance along with
the Republican Congress in 1998. It had three parts. It had -- higher
taxes on wealthy people, which we put on, and it didn`t hurt the economy
one bit. It had reductions in the military and some constraints on
domestic spending.

The Republicans want to make it a one-legged stool. But here`s the
point, and I think you and I have suggested this. The problem we have now
is the Republicans have a great fear. It is that the economy is improving.
We had a terrible time. Barack Obama inherited the second-worst economy
since the Depression, the worst since the Depression. It`s gotten better.
It hasn`t gotten better fast enough.

Part of the problem was Europe, and everybody now acknowledges that if
we could be sure that Europe would be stable, the American economy would do
well. We have made significant progress. The Republicans are terrified
that we will have a better economy. And so when it comes to things like
not extending a tax cut, that would be a terrible idea to not extend that
tax cut on working people.

SHARPTON: And they want to lower the taxes -- the tax rate on
corporations. Romney 25 percent, Santorum 17, Paul 15, Gingrich 12.5. So
it`s sort of this protect the rich at all costs and jump on the middle
class and the poor.

FRANK: On protecting the rich, one of the things they`re upset about
is we said there should there should be a 5.6 percent surtax on income
above $1 million. That means if you`re making a million in taxable income
after you`ve taken your deductions, for every $1,000 you make above $1
million, you would pay $56 more in taxes. They say that will kill job
creation. We`ve run into the same arguments --

SHARPTON: Let me take that slow. $56 per thousand after you`ve made
$1 million after your deductions.

FRANK: Right. In other words, if you maid $1,010,000, your
additional tax is $560.

SHARPTON: But that`s too much? That kills you as a job creator?

FRANK: In fact what`s interesting, if you listen to the people who
claim to be so pro-American, they act as if the American economy was the
weakest most fragile reed in the world. When Bill Clinton asked Congress
to raise taxes on people`s incomes above $150,000, this is 1993, by three
percent and we did it and they predicted disaster, we had the best economy
in dozens of years.

Here`s the deal. Yes, they like millionaires, but they don`t like
environmental protection. They have this ideological objection to it.
They don`t want there to be programs that help older people. These mime
would even cut veterans program. They have this ideological view that
government is terrible, plus they have this fear that things are getting

SHARPTON: They don`t want that to happen. Mr. Chairman, let me ask
you this. And I agree with you, by the way, you keep quoting former
president Clinton. I just read his last book on how to bring the economy
back. He talks about what he did. And I`ve never been one to agree with
everything with Bill Clinton, but that`s a must-read book. I think he
really hit it on the head.

But talk about reading, Paul Krugman wrote something about these
Republican candidates right along the lines where you say I want to ask you
a question. The line he said that struck me the most is he says "There are
only two ways to make the cut -- and he`s talking about the Republican
candidates - "to be totally cynical or totally clueless."

When you look at the facts, the way it is, when you look at the
economic inequality, you look at the middle class and working poor
suffering, his position, and I raise it as a question to you, is the only
way you can come with a conclusion of don`t tax millionaires, don`t close
loopholes, lower taxes on corporations, is that either you`re clueless or
very cynical? Which is it, Mr. Chairman?

FRANK: I would say that`s exactly right. I would put Romney and
Gingrich in the cynical class, Bachmann and Perry in the clueless class.
So I think that`s an exactly right thing.

The other interesting thing about this contest, we usually have
contests in which people have different views. Here`s the point. The
people who vote in Republican primaries, they`re a fairly small percentage,
and you can`t blame people who vote in the primaries if you don`t vote in
the primaries yourself. But the people, the Republicans who vote in the
primaries are the most conservative, they are further away, I believe, the
dominant wing of the Republican Party from the mainstream than any
political party`s prime year electorate has been in my memory. What that
means is you don`t have a debate among Republican candidates. You have a
race to the right. They don`t disagree. One of them may temporarily say
something, but they all get pulled to the right.

SHARPTON: That is the real contest that we`re looking at, not a
different face every other week, but it`s a different face on the same meg
and the same direction.

Congressman, I`m not sure if you know, but last week we did a tribute
to some of your great moments in recent years and gave you the Revvie
Barney Frank award for being Barney Frank. We appreciate your passion and
your wit and we hope you have a very happy new year.

FRANK: That means a great deal to me. Thank you very much. I did
hear about it, and something I appreciated very much.

SHARPTON: God bless.

FRANK: Thank you.

SHARPTON: For months, Republicans have been begging someone, anyone
to jump into the presidential race, but have they finally decided to love
the one they`re Mitt?

Plus GOP candidates just love a good voter I.D. law.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Doing the right thing is to make sure that people
who vote have the identification that says you can vote.


SHARPTON: Let me ask you a question, if doing the right thing is
that, then why don`t the GOP require I.D.`s at the Iowa caucus?

And one of these candidates actually said that marriage is all you
need to avoid being poor.

You`re watching POLITICSNATION live on MSNBC.



MITT ROMNEY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Frankly right here in Iowa,
I`ve seen the kind of surge of enthusiasm I need to have confidence I`ll do
pretty darn well here.


SHARPTON: That was Willard Mitt Romney sounding pretty confident
about his chances in Iowa, even though he spent the last year avoiding the
state. Suddenly it`s his favorite place. Right now he`s on a four-day bus
tour there, and next week he`ll spend caucus night and do morning-after
press interviews in Iowa, a sure sign he`s expecting a good result.

Unbelievable. The candidate who flip-flopped on everything from
abortion to guns, even his own name, who Republicans just don`t seem to
like that much, he`s the guy who could win.

But that`s not the most baffling thing happening in Iowa right now.
Even though a new Gallup poll shows Romney pulling ahead nationally, and a
CNN poll shows him leading in Iowa, Willard`s GOP rivals are acting like he
doesn`t exist, and instead they`re piling on Ron Paul.


dangerous when it came to foreign policy, Ron Paul would be willing to
legalize drugs in the United States.

RICK PERRY, (R) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You can`t have your cake and
eat it, too, Dr. Paul. You`re going to be a fiscal conservative or you`re

SANTORUM: We have a lot of heartburn on the national security issues
with Ron Paul.

see how you would engage in dealing with Ron Paul as the nominee.


SHARPTON: Bob Shrum is a Democratic strategist and a professor at
NYU, and Jonathan Capehart an MSNBC contributor and opinion writer for "The
Washington Post." Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Bob, Willard and Iowa voters have been avoiding each other
all year. Now suddenly Willard`s their guy. How did this happen?

SHRUM: Well, I think the same thing is happening in Iowa that`s
happening nationally. Romney has -- "enthusiasm" is the wrong word in that
opening segment you had for him. He`s not winning because people are
enthusiastic about him. He`s gaining all this ground because he`s run a
cold, efficient, mechanistic campaign that is going to get him, I think, a
nomination without inspiration.

The real problem the Republicans have is who else do they got?
Gingrich is a serious figure but he has serious flaws. And Romney, or
Willard as you like to call him, may be the luckiest Paul in the world
because he could leave with Ron Paul and/or Rick Santorum as serious
rivals. Paul is unthinkable nominees that would shatter the party, and
Rick Santorum, I don`t think he has the money or the organization to keep
this going. Maybe South Carolina, but not beyond that. I mean, at best
he`ll be a min mini-Huckabee.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, when you hear Bob Shrum say that Mr. Paul is an
unthinkable candidate, then why are all the GOP rivals to Romney piling on
Paul? And could it be that Paul, having a good organization on the ground,
having some true believers, and the fact that even independents can walk up
to a caucus and register Republican right that night and go in and vote,
could it be that they fear that Paul could overtake them with a superior
organization that night?

CAPEHART: Sure, absolutely they`re going after him for that reason.
But also, remember they`re all competing for the same pool of conservative
votes. There are a lot of conservative folks in Iowa, who, like Ron Paul.
Remember, up until the "TIME" poll that came out yesterday, Ron Paul was
the leading candidate in Iowa. It wasn`t until that poll came out
yesterday that showed Mitt Romney being the one out front that the dynamics

But there`s a couple things to keep in mind. One, all those
candidates are within the margin of error. So we`re basically looking at a
muddled race. All of those people could come out as number on Tuesday.
And the second thing to keep in mind is the number one issue that people
said they were looking for in a candidate is someone who could beat
president Obama. Those people told more than 40 percent, and those folks
went for Mitt Romney.

SHARPTON: Bob, when you look at that poll, some are complaining
because they`re saying that the poll only was taken among registered
Republicans, and not factoring in new voters or independents, can go to the
caucus and change and vote in Iowa caucus on Tuesday night.

SHRUM: Yes, we`re a bit in a kind of silly week where we have poll
after poll after poll. I think it`s clear there`s a lot of momentum with
Romney right now. If you listen to establishment Republicans, they feel
pretty confident. And by the way, if he finishes second to Ron Paul, he
still wins. He`ll win New Hampshire. If he`s running against Ron Paul
principally in South Carolina, he`ll do OK there and win Florida. And I
think he`s probably on track to the nomination under those circumstances.

The poll we ought to pay a lot of attention to is going to come out
Saturday night that will drop like the ball in Times Square on New Year`s
eve, and that`s the "Des Moines Register" poll which has a remarkable
report in being accurate in forecasting the results of these caucuses.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, when you look at the fact that one poll, and this
is I think striking, the CNN poll says that 43 percent GOP voters say they
might change their mind. Now, that`s a significant amount of people that
are still saying I`m with this person, but I could change my mind.

CAPEHART: Right. That`s yet another poll number out there, or stat
out there that lets you know that we don`t really know what`s going to
happen on Tuesday in Iowa. We really don`t. You`ve got Ron Paul, Mitt
Romney, Rick Perry -- I`m sorry, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry all bunched
up within margin of error in their standings. But then you have the fact
that 43 percent of the people who say they might vote for any of those
candidates, they could walk into the caucus and change their mind.
Literally we do not know what`s going to happen.

SHARPTON: That`s how caucuses work.

Bob, one of the things that was interesting today is that the Iowa co-
chair for Michele Bachmann defected and went with Ron Paul. She got a
little upset about that, but these last-minute kinds of moves can
consolidate a vote behind one of those far-right candidates, like a Ron

SHRUM: Yes, I think it might actually have a somewhat different
effect, like a carom shot in pool. I think the signal that Sorenson sent
when he left Bachmann is that she wasn`t viable. It may end up helping to
get more of the religious right voters to go to Santorum. Santorum is
clearly the last un-Romney who is being auditioned. He`s having something
of a surge. He can get second place. And if somehow or other the other
conservative candidates competing for this religious right, if voters see
them as not winners and they move towards Santorum, that could be one of
the surprises Jonathan is talking about.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, he is talking about Santorum, look at this. He`s
already sounding like he`s convinced he`s going to do very well. He`s
already talking about on to New Hampshire. Look at this.


SANTORUM: I will provide the spark, and there`s plenty of tinder on
the ground that will starting burning in these other states.


CAPEHART: He does have a point. Especially if you`re someone like
Rick Santorum who has been mired in single digits for all this time and now
he`s number three in the polls. If he were to win Iowa, that would be a
bit of an earthquake. It doesn`t mean he will win New Hampshire. We went
through this four years ago, Reverend Al. Remember a certain candidate
from Illinois went into Iowa with a lot of people not believing he could
win this thing, and when he won Iowa, that was the spark that allowed him
to go on. Of course he got whooped in New Hampshire.

SHARPTON: He evened the score. My problem is they`re all singing the
same song. I mean, they all are saying the same basic things about how to
govern and set up an economic structure. And as a guy that grew up in
church, if you sing soprano, al t alto or baritone, or bass, you`re singing
the same song, you`re just deciding what key you`re singing in. That`s all
they care about. Thank you all both for your time tonight. Happy New Year.

Andrea Mitchell will interview Mitt Romney tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. right
here on MSNBC.

Ahead, Republicans claim to be terrified of voter fraud.


ROMNEY: I believe in one person, one vote, but if other people are
fraudulently casting votes, that takes away my right to have my vote
counted as a full vote.


SHARPTON: But I wonder what Willard thinks about the fact that I.D.`s
aren`t required at the first GOP caucus? And pushback against the three
GOP scrooges in 2011. Will they finally listen to the people in 2012?


SHARPTON: When Republicans want harsh voter I.D. laws, they claim
they`re stopping fraud, not suppressing the vote. But apparently voter
fraud is not a concern, at one of the Republican Party`s most important
events. Huffington Post reports that you don`t need a voter I.D. to vote
in the republican Iowa caucuses next Tuesday. Iowa residents can register
to vote at the caucus. All they need to do is sign an oath that the
address is correct and get a registered voter to vouch for them.
Republicans worked against rules just like this in other states. Fourteen
states passed restrictive voter I.D. laws in 2011, including the ones that
ended same-day voter registration and required voter I.D. at the polls.

I wonder why Republicans don`t think fraud will be a problem at the
Iowa caucuses. I`m sure that`s nothing to do who the voters are. In the
last Iowa republican caucus, 87 percent no, excuse me, 97 percent of the
participants were white. Seventy three percent were 45 years or older.
Sixty percent earned more than $50,000 a year and the same amount were
evangelicals. So when you are not a minority voter, young voter, poor
voter, the GOP just isn`t worried about voter fraud. Did they think we
wouldn`t notice they conveniently throw their own rules out the window?
Nice try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: I said it before and I`ll say it again. If you do
unpopular things, you become unpopular. It`s a lesson that radical GOP
governors learn the hard way. After they began the year by trying to ram
their agendas down our throats.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: To everyone across the state who
voted for me today, I say thank you. I say thank you. You have given us a
mandate for true reform and I appreciate that. I will not let you down.

GOV. RICK SCOTT (R), FLORIDA: Don`t give up. I`m giving you my word,
better days are coming.

GOV. JOHN KASICH (R), OHIO: We don`t owe anything to anybody. We`re
going to do it the right way and turn the page on American politics.


SHARPTON: But things aren`t looking quite so rosy today for these
three scrooges. All saw their signature legislation get rejected. Ohio
Governor Kasich, union busting law was voted down by a 22-point margin.
Rick Scott`s big plan to drug test welfare recipients got blocked by a
federal judge. And his approval rating plunged 26 percent, and of course
there`s Scott Walker, who ran through his own union-busting law despite
massive protests against it. The law is still around, but he may not be
around for much longer. Recall groups are already within striking distance
of putting Walker up for recall election. These extreme republican agendas
were rolled back by progressives, organizing and mobilizing to turn back
the tide. We`ve seen some huge victories. There`s a lot more work ahead
in 2012.

Joining me now, Bob Franken, King Features syndicated columnist, and
Victoria DeFrancesco-Soto, visiting scholar at the University of Texas
Austin, thank you both for joining me tonight.


SHARPTON: Bob, can the progressive surge we saw this year continue in
the months ahead going into 2012?

that`s a really good question, because the passions of the progressives
sometimes have a tendency to wane after the first initial euphoria going
out and demonstrating, doing that kind of thing. Add to that the fact that
Barack Obama has lost some of the enthusiasm, quite frankly of the
progressive movement. So it`s going to be really interesting to see if the
progressives can continue with the passion that they`ve had before.

SHARPTON: Now, when I talk about that passion Victoria, and I`ve been
around the country with a lot of this stuff and been involved on the front
lines. And I`ve seen these people go from their nights of victory that we
showed, to where everyone of these three governors, the majority of their
states now disapproves of them. Walker 51 percent disapproval. Kasich, 52
percent disapproval. Scott 58 percent disapproval. So, it showed that
these movements and this driving and this continuity of organizing has
really turned the tide of public opinion in these states.

SOTO: It has. And what`s happened with these governors and with
other politicians that came up in the 2012 election is they didn`t know how
to pivot from politics to governing. It`s one thing to say that you`re
going to cut, cut, cut during the campaign, but when you get into
government, you need to play nice and be a leader for your whole state.
And they haven`t done this. And the most visible casualty of this has been
the governor in Wisconsin, but I also want to point out that another
casualty not as visible is Rick Scott in Florida, where not only have they
turned against him from the democratic side, but his own party has turned
against him.

SHARPTON: Well, Bob, let me go back to what he said as the first
governor, Mr. Walker, he was on "Morning Joe" this morning after I was.
And he was asked about if he could go back to the beginning of the year.
Let me show you what he said.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: I would have spent more time in
January and February explaining what we`re doing, explain the rationale for
what. Collective bargaining is not a right, it`s an expensive entitlement.


SHARPTON: So, he was saying what he would do if he could go back at
the beginning of the year. I mean, he really thinks it would have been
more palpable to explain to people why he was taking away their right for
collective bargaining, we just didn`t understand?

FRANKEN: Well, what he did is he`d pretty much shown what the agenda
really is here. His patrons, the patrons of so many of these Republicans,
particularly those who are of the far right, and I would put him in that
category, the patrons are virulently anti-union. They want to kill what
remains of the union movement. And of course, a lot of that union movement
has its base in government employees, so you`ve seen this kind of effort to
put a knife in the heart of what remains of labor. Now, the patrons, the
Republicans are the oligarchs, I`d like to call him, the once who really
want to have a stratified society that we have now with no regard for the
middle class. So, they are acting as the puppets of these people who are
the very, very wealthy.

SHARPTON: Now, let me say this because I think, we don`t only want to
talk about those going down, there are some going up, because a movement
wins not only by bringing down those that are on the other side, but by
being ability to lift others. Elizabeth Warren is in the last three polls,
she`s up 14 points pulling ahead of Scott Brown in Massachusetts starting
nearly 20 points behind him. Now she`s up 14 points, and she came on with
a much different message. Let me again let the people hear what Ms. Warren
said about rich people.


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 that the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of
us paid to educate. You built a factory, and it turned into 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
for the next kid who comes along.



SHARPTON: So, Victoria, as the three scrooges go down, Elizabeth
Warren is going up, a good sign, but let`s not pop the champagne bottle.
There`s a lot of work to do, because January 1st, four states have some
extremely regressive immigration law that is go in effect, Louisiana,
Tennessee, South Carolina, and Georgia. We have a lot of work to do, and
I`m talking about those laws going into effect next week.

SOTO: I know, I`m actually feeling optimistic though because I think
that the backlash isn`t just happening in the state of Wisconsin and Ohio
with the union matters. It`s also being felt with the draconian anti-
immigration legislation that happened in Arizona just a couple weeks ago,
the architect of SB-1070 was recalled, so Arizona kicked it off in terms of
the anti-immigrant legislation. And I also think Arizona is going to kick
it off in terms of seeing a backlash of the rollback. And there`s already
been rumbling that in Georgia and Alabama there`s an effort to recall those

SHARPTON: And don`t forget Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found by the
Justice Department to do racial profiling. After he assured me when I went
out there to march that I was hallucinating. Bob, Victoria, thanks. Have
a Happy New Year.

SOTO: Happy Holidays.

SHARPTON: One of these candidates actually claimed that you could
avoid being poor by getting married. There are millions of Americans who
would disagree with that statement that was made. We`ll talk about it


SHARPTON: The Gulf Coast is still recovering from the 2010 BP
explosion which killed 11 people and destroyed the livelihoods of Americans
up and down the Gulf Coast. Today the "Wall Street Journal" is reporting
that the first criminal charges against BP employees could be filed soon,
but BP management is getting off Scott- free. And while the people of the
gold coast suffer, BP is raking in the money. In the first nine months of
this year, BP reported over $16 billion in profit. Despite such huge
earnings, BP executives are dragging their feet on paying fines for safety
violations. Which could amount to only $36 million. The individuals
responsible for the worst oil spill in history should be held accountable,
but so should the corporation that can afford to pay for its role in this


SHARPTON: We`ve heard republican presidential candidates say a lot of
nonsense about the poor, but Rick Santorum is now saying something
especially ridiculous.


statistically will assure you -- what two things -- graduate from high
school, get married.


SHARPTON: Are you serious, Rick? That`s news to 3.2 million jobless
Americans who have a high school diploma and 4.1 million married people who
are looking for work, too. So much for that theory, Rick. But Republicans
as a whole don`t seem to have a clue about the problems facing unemployed
and working-class Americans.


HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: If you don`t have a job and
you`re not rich, blame yourself.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They`re getting unemployment and they`re getting
food stamps and they say call me when unemployment runs out. We also have
to realize there`s a lot of people gaming the system right now.

stop doing for people what they can and should do for themselves. Self-
reliance means if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congresswoman Donna Edwards, democrat for
Maryland. Thank you for joining me tonight, Congresswoman.

REP. DONNA EDWARDS (D), MARYLAND: Thank you, it`s good to be with

SHARPTON: I mean, I can hardly wait to ask you the question. If you
went to your district this weekend and said to them I`ve got a jobs plan
for you, get married and show me your high school diploma, what would be
the reaction?

EDWARDS: Well, the lunacy continues. I mean, the reality is, the
Republicans want to focus on marriage like Rick Santorum. But they don`t
want to focus on creating jobs and opportunities for the American people or
providing Pell grants and students` loans and nutrition programs to help
lift people out of poverty. And so, the lunacy really just goes on. I
mean, it`s actually shocking. Santorum also tried to blame the president
for the decline in marriage rates. And the reality is that decline started
40 years ago when the President was 10 years old. I don`t think you can
really blame him for the decline in marriage.

SHARPTON: So is this cynical, it this no clue, as Krugman wrote? I
mean, because it`s hard for me to believe that these people are experience
they are in politics are this clueless, but it`s also just as hard to
believe that someone with a straight face would say this unless they
really were clueless. I mean, I`m torn between which one it is.

EDWARDS: Well, I mean, let`s look at the reality, I mean, over these
last several months, what we have seen is a Republican Party that refuses
to do anything to work with the president and work with Democrats in
Congress to create jobs to try to improve the economy, so that people can
go to work, so that families can provide for themselves. The reality is
that we have republican leadership in the Congress and on the -- among the
presidential candidates who believes that somehow or other only wealthy
people get to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, as though that`s a
reality, and they don`t live the lives that we do. They don`t buy, go out
and buy gas and know how much it costs, go to the grocery store and
understand what it takes to put a meal on the table for a family. I mean,
the President talked about -- asked people to tell him, what does $40 mean
to you when the Republicans were considering not renewing and extending the
tax cuts, and I`ll bet you those Republicans candidates couldn`t tell you,
but $40 is a lot of money for the American people. And some of these folks
just don`t understand what it means to get up in the morning to go to work
to want to go to work and to take care of a family.

SHARPTON: Well, Congresswoman, you obviously didn`t get the memo.
See, if you get bailout money and you take the money and go into your
business debt in many ways went under because of your decision, that`s
called bailout and you`re a job creator. If you get assistance because
you`ve been laid out or your job`s been outsourced, that`s called welfare
and you`re beggar, you just didn`t get the memo.

EDWARDS: Well, I clearly didn`t get the memo and if you get a tax
cuts for the last ten years and refuse to create any jobs and pocket the
money and then asked for a bailout, that`s called protecting the job
creators. I mean, these guys are going to go into 2012 and what I know is
that voters are experiencing a lot of buyer`s remorse and 2012 is going to
be like the day after Christmas. The voters are going to return everything
that they bought before Christmas and they`ll either going to ask for a
refund or they`re going to say, I want something different. And that`s
what`s going to happen in 2012. Because these folks simply don`t get the
reality of people`s lives and what it takes to make a living and what it
takes to be a real job creator in this country in this economy and to work
to do that.

SHARPTON: Well, Congressman, I like that, the day after Christmas
2012 will be like that. The only difference is that the stores opened
early to handle the volume. And they`re trying to stop early voting.
That`s why we`re fighting against it. Congresswoman Donna Edwards, thank
you for joining me tonight. Have a Happy New Year to you and your family.
We`ll be right back.

EDWARDS: Thank you. Happy New Year.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Twenty-eleven was a rough year for a lot of folks but as
this year comes to an end, more and more people are hopeful about the year
ahead. A new Associated Press poll shows 62 percent of Americans think the
nation will improve next year, and 78 percent are more optimistic for their
families in 2012.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think 2012 will definitely be a better year. I
think things are definitely turn around.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: There`s real signs of turnaround, but I think
being optimistic makes a big difference.


SHARPTON: So, why do people have high hopes? Because the economy is
improving, and next year looks even better. Leading experts predict the
economy will grow by 2.4 percent in 2012 and say, unemployment will drop to
8.4 percent by the election. In fact, things are already looking up. The
number of people applying for unemployment benefits is at the lowest level
in three-and-a-half years. The economy is heading in the right direction,
bur on you national conversation is heading in the right direction, too.
Our President is fighting for the middle class and talking about creating
jobs. Don`t get me wrong. We have a lot of problems to still solve, a lot
of challenges ahead. I heard the President say, though, if you`re in a
ditch, don`t give the people the keys to the people that drove you into the
ditch. I say, we have our hands on the wheels and the gears. Ignore those
that are yelling for us to hit reverse. We`re finally coming up out of

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


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