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PoliticsNation, Monday, March 12, 2012

Read the transcript from the Monday show

Guests: Bob Shrum; Chip Saltsman; Jess Mcintosh; Marcy Kaptur, Judith
Browne-Dianis, Daylin Leach, Jeanne Devon, Dana Milbank

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation. I`m
Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, there`s something ugly happening in the GOP. On the
eve of two major primaries, the Republican candidates are campaigning in
the Deep South, pandering to southern voters however they can, and as they
get deeper into Dixie, the race is getting more disturbing.

A new poll shows 52 percent of Republican voters in Mississippi think
the president is a Muslim, 52 percent. And in Alabama, where I spent last
week marching for voting rights, it`s not much better, 45 percent of
Republicans there think the president is a Muslim.

This is a stunning set of briefs in a GOP getting more extreme by the
day. Just listen to some Mississippi Republicans talking about the
president for HBO "Real Time with Bill Maher."


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: You never liked the president, did you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Never. I never will.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thing, his name`s Obama.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is America. Our president should be
American, not Muslim.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I hate Obamacare. I think it`s retarded and

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We would rather go broke and die hungry than to
give up our moral beliefs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like, if voting God and voting faith is
more important to me than voting for free money or voting for a handout.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Like the tag on the front of my truck says, the
south will rise again.


SHARPTON: The south will rise again. The president is a Muslim.
Where are the Republican leaders denouncing this kind of talk? Where are
the people that want to take the GOP into the White House? Their rhetoric
isn`t much better.


is simultaneously apologizing to our religious fanatic opponents as they
kill young Americans while attacking the Catholic church.

you to go to college. He wants to remake you in his image. I want to
create jobs so people can remake the children into their image, not his.

people the president hangs around with and their agenda, a second agenda,
they have fought against religion.


SHARPTON: And they have not apologized for any of these words. Now,
contrast all of that with the president`s view of faith and politics from
an interview released just moments ago.


religion as a bludgeon in politics, when we start questioning other
people`s faith, we start using religion to divide instead of bring the
country together, then I think we`ve got a problem, and unfortunately we`ve
seen that sometimes during the political season.


SHARPTON: Bring the country together. Ultimately, we must all firmly
stand behind what we believe. I do, very passionate about it. But I`ve
learned that we must do it with the goal of uniting people for the good of
everybody. Not playing off each other to take cheap shots, to score cheap

Joining me now, democratic strategist Bob Shrum, who is also a
professor. And Chip Saltsman, a Republican strategist who was Mike
Huckabee`s presidential campaign manager in 2008. Thank you both for being
here tonight.


CHIP SALTSMAN, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: Glad to be with you, reverend.

SHARPTON: Chip, I want to start with you. I want to show you this
again. Fifty percent of Mississippi Republicans and 45 percent of Alabama
Republicans think the president is a Muslim. Are you surprised by that? I
mean, these folks that we`re talking about could choose your party`s

SALTSMAN: Well, I am a little surprised by that. I think most people
around the country, not just in the south, know that the president`s not a
Muslim. I don`t think that`s going to be an issue that you`re going to
hear our candidate say that he is. They believe that he`s an American, and
like I said, we may have lots of disagreements. I just don`t think this is
an issue that either most campaigns should be using. And I don`t think
you`re seeing any of our campaigns using it as an issue. But the poll
numbers do surprise me a little bit that they`re so high.

SHARPTON: But Bob, if none of the campaigns are using it, none of
them are loudly denouncing it. And let`s be clear, there`s nothing wrong
with being a Muslim. But, they`re really playing into this Islama-phobia
in a way that their silence makes one wonder, if it was the democratic
side, there would be all kinds of repudiation from President Obama or any
other leading democratic candidate if it was an open election.

SHRUM: Yes, that`s what Colin Powell said before the 2008 election,
when he said, he`s not a Muslim, but what if he was? This is a country
where we ought to have no religious tests for public office.

But look. When you look at the polls that you see in Mississippi and
Alabama now -- and here`s where I disagree with Chip. It`s not just the
casual notion that the president is a Muslim. Substantial minorities in
these polls also think that interracial marriage in this country, an issue
we settled in a Supreme Court case in 1967, should be illegal. You look at
those clips of people at the beginning of your segment, and you understand
here that you have a party of resentment. Resentment against the fact that
there`s an African-American president. A lily white party that cannot deal
with the fact that America is demographically changing, and that within our
lifetime, or certainly within the lifetime of people a little younger than
me, this is going to be a majority nonwhite nation.

So, I think what you see here is a lot of resentment, a lot of
resistance, and Republican candidates pandering instead of standing up. I
think it would be great if Romney stood up and said, of course the
president`s not a Muslim, and people ought to stop thinking that.

SHARPTON: Now Chip, didn`t John McCain once in his campaign stop a
lady and say, no, the president`s a decent guy. I mean, there is a
precedent for this that we`re not seeing done by these candidates, not one
of them. In fact, I played you some of what they said, very extreme, very
borderline themselves, saying things that really, really help to poison the
atmosphere. Why are we not seeing at least one person with the courage of
a John McCain in this race?

SALTSMAN: Yes, I remember when John McCain said that, and I was very
happy that he said that because I think politics doesn`t have to be so
personal. I mean, we make it so much because it`s so important to us. But
at the end of the day, we should say, look, the president`s a good man. I
think he`s raised an incredibly nice family. I think about how he talks
about his daughters, and that`s exciting. I hope someday, if I`m lucky to
have daughters like that, I hope I have a good family like that. And talk
about the issues. That`s the key. And I hope that Bob is wrong about our
party. I don`t see it that way. I think our party has not gone in that
direction, but that`s not how you win elections. That`s how you lose
elections. And I`ve seen some of our candidates stand up and say -- I`ve
heard Mitt Romney And Rick Santorum say, I think Barack Obama is a good
man, but let me tell you where I disagree. I`ve heard Newt Gingrich say

And so, I think that`s where they need to be saying more of because I
think you get more people to agree with you long term if you start out with
the premise, look, we`re all good people in this race. Let me tell you
where we have disagreements.

Like I said before, reverend I think Democrats and Republicans, both
think we want to have a - we both our goal is both to have a better
country. We just think there are lots of different paths to get there. We
just happen to disagree on which path is right.

SHARPTON: But also at the same time, Bob, we hear them constantly
using terms like the president wants to make you in his image, the
president is a food stamp president. I mean, these candidates themselves
have gotten very personal, very ugly with the president.

In the long run, beyond this election, isn`t the danger, Bob, that the
Republican Party will be perceived as the party of these extreme kinds of
elements and bias and intolerance?

SHRUM: Well, that`s what`s happened, I think, to Mitt Romney in this
race. He`s been pushed further and further to the right because he`s going
to pander, he`s going to stay whatever he has to, to get this nomination.
He`s going to announce he`s eating grits. He is going to start wishing
people in the south good morning, which he`s doing now.

But the deeper reality here and this is where I disagree with Chip,
he`s right that we ought to have a certain kind of politics. But I think
theirs is a -- it doesn`t help us to ignore history. And the history is
very clear here. When Lyndon Johnson told John Kennedy, as he was about to
propose the civil rights bill, that that was going to cost Democrats the
south for a generation, it`s been more than a generation. And there is an
element of racism here. There`s an element of tremendous anger that the
president is an African-American, tremendous anger that the country is
changing, a sense that -- all you have to do is look at these tea party
rallies that he have woo seen all over the country where the president is
portrayed as an alien and worse, and you understand the anger these
Republican candidates are appealing to. It fits perfectly for Gingrich.
It fits pretty well for Santorum, and Romney has cut his conscience to fit
the cloth of this kind of reaction.

SHARPTON: Chip, can`t you see that, as Americans look at this kind of
feeling, the anti-woman kind of misogyny we went through the last ten days
and then you hear Gods saying, the south will rise again. Well, to women,
that means put on your apron and get in the kitchen, and to African-
Americans, that means get back in the field. And no one - not one of the
leading candidates is really openly denouncing this and saying, wait a
minute. This is where we need to draw the line, and I am going to be more
careful in my own language, which many of us have had to do in our
political careers.

SALTSMAN: Well, I think - I think how candidates win is talk about
what they`re for, not necessarily what they`re against. I know Bob and I
talked about that before. Look, I`ve always said I`m a conservative. I`m
just not mad about it. And I think sometimes our campaigns, they`re
conservative, but it looks mean, and I think, when we talk about taxes, we
talk about less government, we talk about the things that matter to
conservatives, and you can talk about those social issues as well. You
talk about life. You talk about marriage. But you do it in a way that`s
not mad. And I think that`s how we win long term. There`s just no need to
up the rhetoric.

Look. Everybody on this show tonight said some things that got us in
trouble along the way. But overall, you`ve got to have a tone that makes
sense for most people, and I think right now, if we`re going to win in
November, I think we stay on the issues that matter which are jobs and the
economy. I think right now we`re in the heat of a primary. There are a
lot of things going on. Sometimes the campaigns say things they don`t want
to say, but I think ultimately these three campaigns, including Dr. Paul,
are talking about issues that matter to them which are jobs and the
economy. And that`s how we beat Barack Obama in November.

SHARPTON: No, they`re not talking about jobs. They`re talking about
women and not in such a favorable light. We`re going to talk about that

Bob Shrum, Chip Saltsman, thank you for your time tonight.

SHRUM: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, Republicans say they`re laser focused on jobs,
but they have a funny way of showing it.

Plus, some big news today on our fight to protect voter rights. But
also an alert that we have to watch out for.

And scary movie, you bet you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what the fed is? It stands for the
Federal Reserve System. No, please, don`t write. Just listen.



SHARPTON: "Game change" took us behind the scenes with Sarah Palin
four years ago. Is she still a force in the GOP? We`re live in Alaska.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Republicans keep saying there, focus on jobs. I didn`t
realize forced ultrasound in bending birth control was a job`s plan. We
watch what they do, not with they say, next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation" and this edition of watch
what they do and not what they say.

Speaker Boehner started his term vowing to create jobs. Let`s look at
the fine work they`ve done in the last year. They`ve ordered to defund
Planned Parenthood twice, deny access to birth control, and voted for the
Blunt amendment, which would allow any employer to deny employees coverage
because of their own beliefs.

And in the jobs column, they`ve managed to pass one bill. While this
is going on in congress, the GOP warned women`s health is at a fever pitch
in the states.

Today, Michigan is considering a law that would require women to go --
to undergo screening, to make sure they weren`t forced into an abortion.
Two and a half months into the year, and we`re on pace to shatter last
year`s record of 600 proposed anti-abortion measures. While they push
this, they still pretend jobs as their focus.

Governor Bob McDonnell, the new face of the war on women, was ready to
sign a law forcing invasive, invasive ultrasounds of women seeking
abortions. He backtracked. Here he is yesterday squirming on national


DAVID GREGORY, NBC HOST, MEET THE PRESS: Were you wrong to support
that initially, or did you simply back off because the political heat got
turned up the way it did?

GOV. BOB MCDONNELL, VIRGINIA: No, I think - listen. That was on bill
out of a thousand that we passed that were all focus on jobs and economic

GREGORY: Were you wrong when you said this procedure should be part
of the bill?

MCDONNELL: No, I never said that. People go into the voting booth in
November, and they`re going to look at who`s got the best vision to create
jobs, whose got the best idea to put us out of debt. And this constant
focus on social issues is largely coming from the Democrats.


SHARPTON: So forcing women into unnecessary medical procedures is a
plan to create jobs? This is a jobs plan I never heard of.

Joining me now, Representative Marcy Kaptur, democratic congresswoman
from Ohio, and Jess Mcintosh, spokeswoman for Emily`s list which helps
elect pro-choice democratic women to office. Thank you both for being here

for having me.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Kaptur, let me start with you. What are
voters in your district saying about the Republicans` attack on women`s

REP. MARCY KAPTUR (D), OHIO: Well, they think the Republicans want to
take us back a half century on reproductive health, and women are turning
to Democrats in droves because the Romney plumber economic and social
dogma, actually translate into class warfare on women. Their policies will
make life worse for women across this country.

SHARPTON: Now Jess, it seems that the Republicans and conservatives
that are taking these views are getting some interesting headlines. The
war on women is becoming a real problem for them. Headlines like the
Republican Party in need of prominent spokeswomen. Centrist women tell of
disenchantment with Republicans. Women will remember in November. GOP
candidates will pay a price for alienating half the electorate. Is this
backfiring on them, Jess?

MCINTOSH: Absolutely, it is. I mean, women of both parties are
fleeing the Republican agenda and with very good reason. Emily`s list
commissioned a poll. You can see the whole results at Emily`, but
the takeaway was that voters overwhelmingly oppose these efforts to
restrict access to birth control. It`s 2012. They don`t want to be
debating this right now.

And the blunt amendment that you mentioned before is so unpopular that
40 percent of Republicans are less likely to vote for somebody who
supported it. And keep in mind, that`s every Republican except for Olympia
Snowe supporting it. So absolutely, absolutely, this comes back in

SHARPTON: Now -- and on top of that, Rush Limbaugh, we understand,
think progress has obtained a memo from premier radio that listed over 100
companies, Jess, have requested their ads not be played on Rush Limbaugh`s
show over there. So there seems to be a price being paid for this.

MCINTOSH: For sure. For sure. I mean, I think it`s important to
realize that Rush is just the last front in the overwhelming GOP war on
women. And what you said before was absolutely correct. They won in 2010
because they campaigned on jobs.

When they got into office, when the GOP took over the house, they
pulled this huge bait and switch on the American people and started on this
really divisive social agenda, and it is absolutely backfiring.

At Emily`s list, which helps elect democratic women, our membership
has doubled since John Boehner took over the house.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Kaptur, let me bring you back in on this.
Dems and Republicans are waiting on the passage of the geo small jobs bill,
but are this enough?

KAPTUR: I don`t know. They`re dodging -- they`re not really kicking
over the goal post. They`re just taking the transportation bill. That
would create millions of jobs across this country, reverend. And they just
can`t seem to get it out of the house and Senate.

The American people are clamoring for getting the roads paved, for
improving our airports, for improving our mass transit, for improving our
ports. You would think America could do this. We were a great nation.
Fifty years ago, we built the interstate highway system. We weren`t afraid
of it. This group can`t seem to get a transportation bill out of the
congress. That is the biggest job creator we could have.

And let me say something about women, if I might. The poorest people
in this country are women, women over the age of 75, women who are 18 to 24
years of age, they are raising children, they are elderly themselves, or
they`re taking care of sick relatives or spouses or children.

You know, it seems to me that there should be a little more focus on
the economic challenges facing women in this country, and many of those
women would go to work in support positions, even on the lines in many of
our building trades and electrical trades and so forth.

We can`t get this bill out of the house and Senate. What a shame.
It`s time for a change, and I think we ought to have democratic majorities
in both chambers elected.

SHARPTON: And when you dealt with it in the Senate, they came and
attached the Blunt amendment. But when you factor in the gender gap in
income, it even embellishes the poverty of women. Yet that`s why I don`t
understand the political strategy here because yet, when you look at the
fact that women have cast between seven nearly 10 million more votes than
men in recent elections. In 2000, 7.8 million more women voted, 2004, 8.8
million more women, 2008, 9.7 million more women. I mean, they are
absolutely offending the largest voting bloc in terms of gender in the
country. Congresswoman?

KAPTUR: Yes, they certainly are, and if you take a look at women in
positions across this country, whether they are serving as nurses, whether
they`re serving as waitresses, whether they`re professors, whether they`re
in public life, they`re going to remember who gave them the right to
affordable health care. They`re going to remember which president it was,
President Obama, that passed equal pay for equal work as his first measure.
They`re going to remember who raised the minimum wage and who gave them
access to education and Pell grants.

American women will remember who fought for reproductive health care
for women across this country. They`re going to vote in November.

SHARPTON: Now Jess, hearing that, does Emily`s list think the
Democrats may even have a chance at taking the house given this new fact of
women being alienated by the Republicans?

MCINTOSH: Look, I really do. It`s not enough to reelect the
president. We absolutely have to do that, but we have to send him
reinforcements. We are seeing strong democratic women stand up in the
house and in the Senate, fight back against the right, and try to get some
progressive policies in there for women and families.

Like the congresswoman said, women want to be talking about jobs and
the economy. The only people in America who want to be debating birth
control in the 21st century are these Republican men, and sending them some
strong democratic women as opposition really sounds good right about now.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman, let me ask you the last question. You face
in this election Joe the plumber. Are you going to politically flush him?

KAPTUR: Well, our goal is to conduct a fine campaign and to return to
the Congress in 2013 and to stand up for the rights of working men and
women across this country. And to stand up for the future. I think that
Romney plumber economics is a no win certainly for the district I
represent, certainly for Ohio, and certainly for the country, sir.

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Kaptur and Jess Mcintosh, thank you both for
your time tonight.

KAPTUR: Thanks.

SHARPTON: Ahead, happy 65th birthday, Willard. He`s celebrating with
some grits and by making bogus claims about Medicare. My present to him
tonight, the facts.

Plus, we marched all week against radical voter laws that suppress the
vote. Tonight big breaking news on how the fight is working.


SHARPTON: Folks, the GOP candidates have a rough election tomorrow.
So I`d like to take a moment to set the politics aside. And wish Mitt
Romney a happy birthday. Willard is 65 years old today. Happy birthday,
governor. I hope you get all the cheesy grits you can eat.

But, of course, now that he is 65, Willard Romney is eligible for
Medicare, but Romney`s campaign says he won`t sign up for Medicare. He`ll
keep his private insurance instead. I guess he wants to protect himself
from the Republican attack on Medicare, a little thing called the Ryan plan
that Willard just loves.


ROMNEY: One of the greatest ideas that required extraordinary courage
on the part of our Republican friends in Washington was to vote for
something known as the Ryan plan.


SHARPTON: Really? It took courage to vote for the Ryan plan? The
Ryan plan that would force seniors to pay an extra $6,000 a year for health
care? The Ryan plan that the "the Wall Street Journal" were quote,
"essentially end Medicare." Willard, maybe you don`t need Medicare, but 95
percent of all seniors do. I know you thought we`d let you off the hook
just because it`s your birthday. Nah. But we do hope you have a happy
birthday. Oh, yes, and nice try. But we gotcha.



ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: We cannot and we must not take
the right to vote for granted. Nor can we shirk the sacred responsibility
that has fallen upon our shoulders. We will examine the facts, and we will
apply the law.


SHARPTON: That was U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder vowing to
protect the right to vote two months ago. Today, he acted on that promise.
The Justice Department rejected Texas voter I.D. law under the voting
rights act, finding the state failed to show the law will not discriminate
against minority voters. Assistant attorney general wrote, quote, "Even
using the data most favorable to the state, Hispanics disproportionately
lack either a driver`s license or personal identification card." Also,
today a major ruling in Wisconsin, where a judge blocked a strict voter
I.D. law, ruling it unconstitutional.

Both cases are good news for the GOP effort to disenfranchise millions
is still going strong. An alert tonight out in Pennsylvania where the
republican state house is expected to pass its own restricted voter I.D.
law. This week, excuse me, Governor Thomas Corbett is expected to sign it,
and it could have a major impact on the election. This is why we marched
for a week. They`re trying to fix a problem that doesn`t exist. I still
can`t find anyone who can show me widespread voter fraud and where it
exists. This is why we must keep on fighting.

Joining me now is Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach, a big
opponent of voter I.D. And Judith Browne-Dianis, co-director of the
Advancement Project. Great to have both of you with us tonight.


SHARPTON: Judith, let me start with you. Big news today out of Texas
and Wisconsin. Where do you see this going? The fight back is working,
you think?

right. I think so. I think these are huge victories in Wisconsin, where
they have put the voter I.D. law on hold and then in Texas where the
Department of Justice has said, no to discrimination and voter suppression.
And so, I think this is a good start, but we have to be vigilant because we
know this is a partisan effort to roll back civil rights, to cut back
participation of particular voters. People of color, young people, and
elderly, and so we have to keep up the fight like we`ve been doing.

SHARPTON: So, what we`ve seen now is the Justice Department going to
South Carolina and Texas, where they have standing on voting rights because
they have the clearance there. And we see eight states are trying to even
challenge them on pre-clearance with a section 5. So, this is -- I don`t
understand what pre-clearance has to do with voter I.D., which makes it
clear this is about trying to roll back voting rights and dealing with
partisan politics.

DIANIS: Well, Reverend Sharpton, yes, I mean, it`s the Department of
Justice is supposed to either approve or reject these laws, especially in
the southern states. And so the Texas fight actually is not yet over
because we will be in court around that issue. But we really have to
remember, this is about a partisan effort, but it disproportionately
impacts people of color, and that`s where the voting rights act comes into
play because we need to make sure that we`re not cutting off participation
of people of color in particular.

SHARPTON: And I was very happy when I heard about Wisconsin and Texas
today, even though my feet are still aching from 54 miles. But before I
could celebrate, Pennsylvania came up. Senator Leach, you are facing a
vote there that is predicted that the house there in Pennsylvania will pass
and Governor Corbett will sign. Senator, tell us what`s going on in

LEACH: Well, you`re right, Reverend. That`s exactly what`s going to
happen. And to give you an idea how egregious this is, they`ve done a
study over a ten-year period in Pennsylvania, and you know how many cases
of voter impersonation there have been? Zero. So, when you say we`re
solving a problem that literally never happens, that`s absolutely true.
And what will happen is on the day that this bill assigned to the law,
700,000 Pennsylvanians, again, mostly poor people, people of color,
students, elderly people, and handicapped people will no longer be eligible
to vote. Now, they say, well, you can go get a voter I.D., but you have to
have a birth certificate, you have to have a Social Security card, you have
to travel to a PennDOT office to do that. All of that costs money, it
takes time. And you know, the great thing about voter suppression is, you
don`t have to suppress every vote. If you can knock down-turnout by 25, 30
percent, that`s going to make a real difference in close elections. And
that`s the goal here.

SHARPTON: But I want to make it clear now because we would talking --
Judith was talking about the South. This is Pennsylvania now. We`re
talking about in Pennsylvania. They want to pass these laws when you`ve
had zero voter I.D., photo I.D. Fraud established, according to you. We
went back all fraud, we looked at all fraud since `99. Out of 31 million
votes cast in Pennsylvania, there`s only been 12 voter cases that have come
up. So you`re talking about a complete fabrication of a problem here,

LEACH: Right. And keep in mind a lot of people in the general
public and a lot of politicians who support this use the term fraud
broadly, or voter fraud broadly. Voter fraud can mean many things, from
buying a vote to stuffing the ballot box, to fiddling with the machines or
a variety of things. This only, voter I.D. only addresses one type of
voter fraud, which is voter impersonation. They successfully commit that
crime which is a crime that you faced five years in prison if you`re
caught. You have to know the person that you`re impersonating is
registered at that poll, that no one is going to recognize that person
from, you know, the five or six people there, and that, you know, the
person has not already voted that day. If you make one mistake, you`re
going to be in prison for five years. So what you would predict would
happen is this crime is so high risk and low reward, it never occur occurs.


SHARPTON: Judith. You were trying to get in here, Judith.

DIANIS: Yes. Reverend Sharpton, we know. We`ve been covering this
for a while. This is not about preventing fraud. This is about preventing
voting and it`s important to understand this is a partisan effort, that, in
fact, the person who sponsored the law in Pennsylvania is a Tea Party
darling who is a part of the American legislative council. So we`ve been
talking about this for a while, and we need to remember that this is not
about voter fraud. It`s about preventing voting. It`s a partisan effort
to take away the vote.

SHARPTON: No, let me throw this to you, Senator, as a last point
here. Governor Corbett will sign this when it passes but let me show you
what Mr. Corbett said in 2010, before he was elected governor, to give you
a reason why many of us are very concerned about Pennsylvania. He talked
about wanting to keep voter turnout down, so it would hurt the Democrats.
Listen to this.


GOV. TOM CORBETT, PENNSYLVANIA: The Governor said yesterday that Bob
should resign as chairman of the democratic committee in Philadelphia if he
doesn`t get 50 percent turnout. We want to make sure that they don`t get
50 percent. Keep that down.


SHARPTON: We`re going to make sure they don`t get 50 percent. Keep
that down. Not that we`re going to get more votes than them. We`re going
to keep down their vote. This is the man, Senator, that will sign a voter
I.D. law. Maybe he`s keeping it down again?

LEACH: You`re correct, Reverend. He also said that Philadelphia has
too much influence in state elections, when he was trying to change the way
we pick electoral votes in Pennsylvania. The idea that, because there are
more people in Philadelphia than there are in like forest county doesn`t
mean that Philadelphia should have more influence in his view. Again,
through this, through voter I.D., through gerrymandering, this has been an
administration and the Republican Party in Pennsylvania that has been
extremely aggressive about making sure that they never lose elections
again. And that`s what we`re facing.

DIANIS: And this is the real voter fraud.

SHARPTON: Thanks, Senator Leach. I will have to go there. Judith
Browne-Dianis, thank you both for your time this evening. And you know,
how passionate I am about this week. We always go over time, but I really
have to go. We`ll be on this until we resolve this all over the country.

DIANIS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, tens of thousands rally for union rights in
Wisconsin. I`d be worried about that recall election if I were Governor

And a former McCain aide calls the Palin presidency, quote,
"frightening." But is she still a game changer in the Republican Party?


SHARPTON: We`re back with 65,000 reasons why Wisconsin`s union
busting Governor Scott Walker is facing big trouble in his upcoming recall
election. On Saturday, 65,000 people turned out to protest Walker at the
state capitol. Marking one year since he signed his bill that ended
collective bargaining rights for public workers. Sixty five thousand
people turned out to say the fight is just beginning.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Giving tax breaks to the very wealthy at the
expense of the middle class is wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: They`re trying to defund us. We cannot let that

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I sense change in the air, and I`m not talking


SHARPTON: And that change is already taking place. Just today,
Wisconsin officials ruled that recall elections would go ahead for four
republican state senators who backed Walker`s law. Walker himself will
face a recall this summer. We learned today will most likely be scheduled
for June 5th. That recall is happening because one million people stood up
for workers` rights and signed a petition aimed at forcing Walker out of
office. Walker doesn`t stand a chance against the proud working people of
Wisconsin, who turned out again this weekend to say, enough is enough.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, Sarah Palin. Over the weekend, HBO
finally had the film "Game Change," which goes behind the scenes of Sarah
Palin`s 2008 campaign when she was John McCain`s running mate. Take a


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s important that you know exactly what you`re

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Going to Alaska to interview her colleagues, her
enemies. There was no political vet whatsoever.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: She didn`t know why North and South Korea were
different countries.

SARAH PALIN, FORMER ALASKA GOVERNOR: I think the United States has
always maintained a great relationship with the queen.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Governor, the queen is not the head of government
in England. She`s the head of state.

PALIN: Well, then, who`s the head of government?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The prime minister. Do you know what the fed is?


SHARPTON: Wow, pretty scary. Palin responded to the movie in an e-
mail to ABC News saying, quote, "I believe my family has the right
priorities and knows what really matters." And she spoke out on claims she
was unprepared and unstable.


PALIN: I`m really not too concerned all about an HBO movie based on a
false narrative.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Is there any truth to that story?

PALIN: I was never in a funk. Thank God, I have the right
perspective on what really matters in life.


SHARPTON: But the two key McCain aides say, that`s pretty much how it
happened in real life.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It was very accurate. I think, for all of us who
were in the campaign, it really rang true. It gave you a little bit of

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: True enough to make me squirm.


SHARPTON: One line that really stood out to me was this one.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Still think she`s fit for office?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Who cares? Forty eight hours, we won`t even
remember who she is.


SHARPTON: Well, it`s almost four years later, and Sarah Palin`s
neither gone or forgotten, but is she still a viable force in the
Republican Party?

Joining me now from Anchorage, Alaska, Jeanne Devon, founder and
editor of Alaska political blog, Mudflats, she`s also the co-author of
"Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin." And from Washington, Dana Milbank,
political columnist for "The Washington Post." Great to have you with us

DANA MILBANK, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Good evening, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Dana, you saw the movie.


SHARPTON: Sarah Palin looked pretty bad, but running made her a huge
star. Is she still a game changer, in your opinion?

MILBANK: Well, of course she is, Reverend. You know, there were
scary points of that film but nowhere near as scary as it was for those of
us who lived it in real-time. I don`t think anybody ever expects that
Sarah Palin is going to be the President of the United States or even the
nominee of her party, but basically, the whole party has been reinvented
around her, and there`s a lot of pretenders to trying to co-op the Palin
message. You know, that`s what Rick Perry was about. That`s what Michele
Bachmann is about, that`s Santorum and Gingrich to some extent. And the
only way Romney is staying in the race is by being more like them. So it`s
really Sarah Palin`s world now, and the rest of us are just living in it.

SHARPTON: Now, Jeanne, the people in Alaska know her very well. When
she was selected, Steve Schmidt on "Morning Joe" today talked about what
her selection meant and how it affected the campaign. Watch.


negative in a sense that someone was nominated to the vice presidency who
was manifestly unprepared to take the oath of office. That I think the
lesson in all this is the rigor that a campaign should put us through. It
should be staffed like a presidential decision, not like a campaign
decision. We made a campaign decision, not a presidential decision.


SHARPTON: Now, the gist of what was said is she was unprepared, even
maybe unstable. So you in Akron -- in Alaska and around different parts of
the northwest knew her better, but specifically in Alaska where she was the
governor. Were you surprised when they put her on the ticket?

DEVON: Yes, I think I can probably speak for the entire state when I
say that we were very, very surprised. And the universal reaction from
people here who had been paying attention to politics and watching as her
governorship was starting to become on shaky ground, I mean, there were
people here that said she wasn`t prepared to be governor, who were kind of
appalled that she had been elected and were wondering to themselves on this
micro level, like the nation eventually did, you know, how was she elected?
You know, how did she become our governor? But the universal opinion here
was but she`s not prepared. She has no idea what she`s doing. Her world
at the moment is oil and gas, tax policy within the state. She had no
footing on the stage outside of the borders of Alaska. So, we were pretty

SHARPTON: That`s what I want to ask you, Dana. Outside of Anchorage,
outside of Alaska, she has kind of reshaped the party, though, whether
she`s a viable candidate or not. You`re saying to me that a lot of what is
going on in the party is because of her influence and her driving the party
to the right and how she really set up a persona that you`re saying is
still very much something that is being dealt with in this present

MILBANK: Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, I think that this party has
been transformed. It has essentially become the Tea Party, but Sarah
Palin, of course, was the forerunner of the Tea Party. Those are very much
the same people. So, I think there`s a lot of other people in the
Republican Party now who feel they can deliver that message with a little
more authority and wisdom than Sarah Palin could. That may be true, but
she was the first to really tap into this new wave of conservative anger
that really took off after the economic collapse. Now, you know, they
probably would have lost that race regardless, but there`s no question that
John McCain, who was sort of the maverick moderate in the party, will have
the lasting legacy of having given Sarah Palin to us, which has turned the
party in a fundamentally new direction.

SHARPTON: Now, Jeanne, according to a new Washington Post poll, most
Republicans want another nominee. Seventy percent want someone else to be
his nominee. Palin didn`t rule out that there could be a brokered
convention, and she didn`t rule out that she would eliminate herself from
the floor. Anything is possible, she says. I don`t close any doors that
perhaps would open out there. So, no, I wouldn`t close that door, and my
plan is to be at that convention. Is this within the realm of the possible
to you?

DEVON: Well, I think her quote there about open doors harkens back to
something that she had said previously, which was, you know, she looked at
her vice presidential nominee as God opening the door for her and her
walking through. And I think that she does tend to live her life and make
many of her decisions based on a sense of destiny, based on a sense of, you
know, God providing an opportunity and her obligation to take it. You
know, she had spoken a while back to someone, I can`t remember, but that
George Washington was her favorite founding father. You know, he was a
reluctant leader. He was called by, you know, those beneath him to lead,
and I think she identifies with that and sort of looks for those
opportunities to feel chosen. But one interesting thing too about her
being the voice of conservatism is that, when she was the governor of
Alaska, she really was a very moderate voice. The only reason that she was
able to get things accomplished was working with Democrats across the
aisle. So her transformation has been pretty remarkable from Alaska to the
national stage.

SHARPTON: Well, Dana, I will tell you she`s still a favorite on late
night TV. "Saturday Night Live" came and dealt with her again this week.
Look at this, Dana.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Well, how are you there, don`t you know? Good to
be back here on SNL.


Oh, yes. Don`t you know --


SHARPTON: Jeanne, Dana. Jeanne, let me ask you. You`ve got to
answer this yes or no because I have to go. Just between us, can you see
Russia from her backyard?

DEVON: Not from her backyard.

SHARPTON: I don`t think so.

DEVON: You`d have to travel hundreds and hundreds of miles.

SHARPTON: Jeanne, Dana, thank you for your time tonight.

DEVON: Now you know.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

DEVON: Thank you so much, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Well, we still will see tomorrow what happens in Alabama
and Mississippi. The Palin influence in the republican primaries.

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


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