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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

Guests: Ed Rendell; Joan Walsh, Erin McPike; Dana Milbank, Marty Beil, Adam Green, Randi

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

Tonight`s lead, Willard Romney`s gamble. He is attending an event in
Las Vegas hosted by Donald Trump. He landed in Vegas this afternoon. You
can see the Trump plane right behind his.

But just hours ahead of Romney appearing with Trump, the birther king
re-ignited the controversy.


DONALD TRUMP, BUSINESSMAN: If you look at the birth certificate, you
take a look, you analyze the birth certificate. There are many people that
don`t agree with that birth certificate, they don`t think it`s authentic.


SHARPTON: They don`t think it`s authentic. Well, Trump started his
day off with the same extremism.


TRUMP: A lot of people are questioning his birth certificate. They
are questioning the authenticity of his birth certificate. I have been
known as being a very smart guy for a long time. I don`t consider myself
birther or not birther, but there are some major questions here.


SHARPTON: Hey, it`s not me. I don`t consider myself a birther. I`m
just asking the questions. These come as come days after Trump accused the
president of being born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia. But this, of
course, is nothing new.


TRUMP: All I want to do is see this guy`s birth certificate.

He may not have been born in this country.

His grandmother, in Kenya, said he was born in Kenya. And she was
there and witnessed the birth. Why doesn`t he show his birth certificate?


SHARPTON: But this story is not about Donald Trump. This is really
about Mitt Romney who will be standing arm in arm with Trump in Las Vegas
tonight. Romney`s campaign says he believes the president was born in the
United States.

So Willard, will you be denouncing this kind of talk tonight?


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don`t agree with all of
the people who support me. My guess is, they don`t agree with everything I
believe in. But I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I`m appreciative to
have the help after lot of good people.


SHARPTON: What kind of leadership is this? The Obama campaign
responded today saying this demonstrates his complete lack of moral
leadership. And they released this ad.


TEXT: As the Republican nominee, John McCain stood up to the voices
of extremism in this party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have heard about him. He`s an --

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: No, ma`am. No ma`am. He is a
descent family man citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with.

TEXT: Why won`t Mitt Romney do the same?

TRUMP: Why doesn`t he show his birth certificate? He doesn`t have a
birth certificate.

TEXT: McCain and Romney: Two Republican nominees, only one willing
to lead.


SHARPTON: Now we`ve seen this lack of leadership over and over again.
Willard`s all in on trump. And it is a losing bet. What happens in Vegas
definitely won`t stay in Vegas this time.

Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor-at-large from and MSNBC
political analyst and Dana Milbank, political columnist for the Washington

Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Joan, let me start with you. How much will this fund-
raiser damage Romney in the long run?

WALSH: I think it`ll damage him hugely, Reverend Al. One headline
after another show that newspaper editorial boards and reporters are taking
issue with this. I just watched David Frum on CNN, you know, just
completely trash him. He used words on twitter that I can`t repeat on
television. But go look at what he said.

You know, Republicans are upset this. Certainly Democrats are upset
about it. And I don`t think it will play well with independent, Reverend
Al. I mean, that clip of, I`ve got to get to 50.1 percent. Wow, what a
profile of encourage, right?


WALSH: That`s not the definition of leadership. He is totally
craven. He`s shown it time and again. And I really think this is going to
back fire.

SHARPTON: Dana, I mean, I can`t, for the life of me, figure out what
he is doing here. Because to say he`s got to get to 51 percent or 50.1
percent, is like, I will do whatever I need to do to get there, is the
inference. I mean, this is coming out of his mouth. And we are not
talking about you agreeing with everything a supporter says. We are
talking about a supporter doing something about the specific campaign
you`re in. It is not like they disagree on some social policy. This is a
campaign issue that is being highlighted by this supporter. And you are
standing with him. So directly deals with your opponent and the tone of
this race, Dana. What is he doing here?

MILBANK: I don`t know, Reverend. I would go out on a limb and say
that Romney already has the birther vote. If they hate Obama that much,
they are not on the fence at this point.

You know, it made sense during the primary for Romney to wrap his arms
around Trump, to try to get some of those conservative credentials. It
really doesn`t make a lot of sense. It will almost looks like Trump is
trying to sabotage him. He is having a birther day right here on the very
day that he is supposed to be having this fund-raiser with Romney. He is
telling everybody who will listen that he`s back. Sea reborn birther and
he is in fact renouncing the fact that he accepted Obama`s birth

So, it is sort of clownish that this is occurring right now. But,
this is what you get. You know, I mean. Trump is an entertainer first and
foremost and if Romney is going to share the stage then he is going to be
outclassed by this entertainer.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, as much as I would want it continue talking
about Trump, I think that`s what he wants. But let me stay right on focus
here. Because the president I want to focus on is Willard Mitt Romney.

Romney seems to have this problem of denouncing or taking exception to
people that say outrageous things or at least things that should have been
challenged throughout. Let me show you where Willard has shied away from
speaking out against Republicans who made controversial statements numerous

When Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a slut,
for saying birth control should be covered by her employer. Willard
responded that`s not the language I would have used.

When Ted Nugent said, quote, "if Barack Obama becomes president in
November again, I will either be dead or in jail this time next year."
Willard`s spokesperson says Mitt Romney believes everyone needs to be

When a voter in Ohio to a Romney that the president should be tried
for treason, Willard avoided answering a question and said, quote, "I will
respect the different branches of government if I`m fortunate enough to be

And when he was pushed to elaborate later that day, Willard said, "I
answered the question, I don`t correct all of the questions that get asked
of me."

I mean, here`s a guy, forget Trump, he refuses to come out strongly
and condemn anything that happens right specifically in the middle of his
campaign, a campaign issue.

WALSH: Right. Well, you know, one thing that I think I`m not sure
Dana is right about is this notion that he has the votes of every Obama
hater. I mean, that`s intuitive to us. But at the same time that
extremist base, no matter how much he panders Reverend Al, doesn`t seem to
completely warm up to him. And so, he has this policy of leave no Obama
hater behind. He feels like he can`t afford to alienate certainly not Rush
Limbaugh or even some crazy person who suggests that president be tried for

So he does have this history of just going along with and vetting and
encouraging these vicious attacks on the president without ever feeling the
necessity to stand up and saying, OK I`ve had enough. Like the John McCain
moment that we remember back from October 2008. That might have been the
last time that a Republican leader really stood up and refuted this kind of
hateful no one sense against the president. They just go along with it
because they feel like they need those people.

SHARPTON: Dana George, will seemed angry at the reemergence of the
Donald. Let me show what you Mr. Will had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This cost of this appearing with this bloviating
ignoramus (INAUDIBLE). Donald Trump is redundant evidence that if your net
worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude
into American politics.


SHARPTON: Bloviating ignoramus, Dana.

MILBANK: That is not the worst thing that Donald Trump has ever been

SHARPTON: Donald would be the worst in the policy lobby sentence.
But go, ahead.


MILBANK: The Donald embraces this. Sea clown, he loves it. This is
not Donald Trump`s problem. He is laughing about this. He floated this
whole candidacy and birther nonsense to get himself renewed in his own
reality show.

This is not about Donald. He is doing exactly what he wants to be
doing. The question is why Mitt Romney wants to wrap his arms around this
and he is opening himself up to all kind of other problems.

People are now asking, where is the same birthers are now saying,
where is Mitt Romney`s birth certificate? He never released his. They are
saying, Maybe his middle name isn`t Mitt. It maybe it is Milton. You
know, there is all kind of craziness out there from the birther movement.
And when you start paling around with these guys, so to speak, you don`t
know where it is going to end up.

SHARPTON: Well Joan, Tom Davis, the former Virginia congressman, said
there is only one reason Willard wants Donald Trump and that`s to raise
money. I don`t know if he is trying to explain him or denounce him but
President Obama last year at White House correspondents dinner seemed to
use it to his advantage, Mr. Trump and his birther crusade. Watch this.


put this birth certificate matter to rest than the Ronald. And that is
because he can finally get back to focusing on the issues that matter.
Like, did we fake the moon landing?

So, just recently in an episode of celebrity apprentice -- you Mr.
Trump recognize that real problem was lack of leadership. And so
ultimately you didn`t blame little John or meat loaf. You fired Gary
Busey. And these are the kind of decisions that would keep me up at night.


SHARPTON: I mean, all of us laughed that night, but the president
seemed to mock Trump. But this, as Dana said, Joan, brings Trump back to
at least looking like he has some kind of clout in the Republican party and
the question is, why would Willard do this?

WALSH: Apparently he does have clout. And, you know, Willard does
this because he really can`t count on every vote. He really doesn`t know
how to get to 50.1 percent, Reverend Al. And you know I do want to pick up
on something Dana said that I`ve been thinking about a lot. It really
looks to me like Trump is having, a, a lot of fun, that`s obvious.

But there is also this weird, I think, humiliation ritual going on
with Mitt Romney because he`s got to know that this is making life harder
for Willard. He`s got know that he is costing him something, maybe not as
much as he is raising him. But who knows, maybe more. And he won`t shut
up. Most good supporters eventually, somebody says they are doing harm,
they shut up. He will not shut up about this. He doubled down on CNN. He
insulted Wolf Blitzer. It is never a good idea to insult mainstream media
figures on behalf of your candidate. It is a disaster. And he is enjoying
every minute of it.

SHARPTON: Well, I can say this, Dana. I don`t know about anybody
trying to find his birth certificate. I don`t encourage that. I will
affirm here tonight, he was governor of Massachusetts and they were 47th in
job creation and there is only 50 states. And he was the author of Romney
care. I will defend that with Willard all the way.

Joan Walsh and Dana Milbank, thanks for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thank you.

MILBANK: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Ahead, the same people who attacked Willard`s history and
private equity are now slamming d Democrats for bringing it up.

Plus, with a week to go to the Walker recall, the eyes of the
progressive world are on Wisconsin. We`re live in Madison, with some big
news tonight.

And President Obama honors some American icons. The "Medal of
Freedom" was given out today. But there`s one that some Republicans may
not be happy about.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Mitt Romney has a new plan to defeat President Obama,
bashing stimulus money. Really? This is your plan b? OK. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation" nation. I have a
question for you. Do facts matter? I`m not trying to be funny here. I`m
dead serious because right now, one of the two men running for president
apparently doesn`t believe in facts, especially those pesky little facts
about the stimulus.


ROMNEY: Things are getting a little better and in a lot of places in
this country. But it`s not thanks to his policies. It`s in spite of his
policies. That stimulus he put in place. It didn`t help private sector
jobs. It helped preserve government jobs. We have 145,000 more government
workers under this president. Let`s send them home and put you back it to


SHARPTON: The stimulus didn`t help the private sector? What about
those 26 months of private sector job growth that took place after the
stimulus? Or the three million jobs that stimulus saved? Willard`s fact
checker must have glanced over those.

Here`s the truth. Romney has decided to abandon facts when talking
about the stimulus and how it has helped the economy. And along the way he
also conveniently forgot how much he used to love the stimulus. Like when
he was pushing his own stimulus plan in 2008.


ROMNEY: Today, I passed a plan which I would like to see enacted
within the next 30 days, provide stimulus to our economy on a short term
basis as well as ignite long-term growth for the American economy.


SHARPTON: Or, when he slammed John McCain for not backing a stimulus
in 2008.


ROMNEY: He said that he would reduce government spending. That is
not stimulative. Republican and Democrats both have recognized the need to
stimulate the economy at a critical point, not slam on the brakes.


SHARPTON: Need me to go further? How about this dozy from 2002 when
Romney bragged how much stimulus he could get from Washington.


ROMNEY: I`m a big believer in getting money where the money is. And
the money is in Washington. I want it to go after every grant, every
project, every department in Washington to assure we are taking advantage
of economic development opportunity.


SHARPTON: Facts matter, Willard. The sooner you learn that, the

Joining me now is former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, now an NBC
news political analyst and Erin McPike, political reporter for "Real Clear

Thank you both for being here tonight.

Governor and Erin, thank you both.



SHARPTON: Governor Rendell, does Romney really think he can get away
with running a fact free campaign?

RENDELL: Sure. I mean, if you have enough money behind what you say,
you can get away with it. Look, the stimulus, whether we like it or not,
got off it a bad start in terms of the spent and a lot of American people
have an unfavorable view of the stimulus. That`s supported by the facts.
And you`re right.

In addition to the great facts you gave, Rev, consider of the CBO, the
congressional budget office said without the stimulus unemployment would
have been a point to two points worse than it was during the dark days back
in 2009.

So the stimulus clearly worked to prevent worse reception and to get
us back on the road to recovery, the auto bailout tremendous success. So -
- but stimulus gives them an opportunity, because it got off to a bad name.
You look at polls and the polls show the American people didn`t like the
stimulus or didn`t think it helped.

So, even though the facts are on our side, the spin was bad on
stimulus so they are going to try and drive that point home. I think it is
important for us to fight back and tell the American people what the true
fact were, just like on the auto bailout.

SHARPTON: Now, Erin, so it is really political, it is really playing
to the spin. Because if you look at facts, when he was governor, he loved
stimulus. He proposed more than $700 million in economic stimulus as
governor. He also loved federal money when he was running the Salt Lake
city Olympics; just compare it to other modern U.S. Olympics.

U.S. spending on the Olympics, 1984, Los Angeles Olympics cost 75
million, 1996 Atlanta Olympics cost 609 million, 2002, Willard`s time, Salt
Lake city Olympics, 1.3 billion.

So, suddenly he is not speaking something that not only he has
believed in the past but he has practiced. So is he playing to those poll
numbers that the governor is talking about in hopes that facts never break
through to the American people, where they understand where the gains were
from the stimulus and auto bailout?

MCPIKE: Sure. But let`s go to the facts for a second. Mitt Romney
has done this on several occasions. It is a pattern for him on the
campaign trail. When I was covering him in Ohio, in early March, he said a
couple of times that President Obama had never signed any trade agreements,
which is actually not true. The president has signed three trade
agreements. But as for the stimulus in particular, as a tactical matter, I
agree with the governor.

But, look. Back in 2009, 2010, Republicans members of can Congress
were photographed throughout their districts and ribbon cutting ceremonies
for projects that the stimulus funded. So it is of course hypocritical in
certain ways to criticize this stimulus when in fact, your own district and
the electorate is getting some use out of it.

SHARPTON: Now, governor, not only did we site what he did as governor
with stimulus money, and the Olympics, Bain, Bain Capital, his whole
example of doing entrepreneurship and doing it in the private sector by
himself, while the fact is that he didn`t mind federal money when working
at Bain either. Bain worked with steel mill GS technologies, a federal
government insurance agency, pay $44 million to bailout the company`s
pension plan while Bain made millions of dollars on the deal. So in every
aspect of his leadership, he has dealt with government money.

RENDELL: Absolutely, Rev. And look at clip you played by the 2008
candidate Romney. Right after the recession hit. What did he propose in
stimulus? What did he say reducing spending would do? That it wouldn`t be
stimulus. So the 2008 Romney candidate was telling you the truth that to
stimulate the economy you do need some government money to get it rolling
again which is exactly what President Obama did.

So I think you`re right about Bain. But the most telling thing is
this fellow running for president in some of 2008 wanted stimulus and said
reducing spending would not be stimulative.

SHARPTON: Why is stimulus important, governor? Let me ask you that
you run a big state Pennsylvania, why is stimulus important? Why is
government money from a federal level important?

RENDELL: Because it serves to leverage the investment of private
capital. Reverend, when I became governor of Pennsylvania, we were in a
tail spin in 2003. And I proposed that $2.4 billion state stimulus from
state economic development fund money. That money produced $19 billion in
private sector investment and projects.

So, for our two billion we got about 8.5 times the level of private
sector involvement, private sector investment. So that is what stimulus
means. It stimulates other investment. It stimulates growth. It works.
There is no question about it. The stimulus in Pennsylvania was the main
reason when I left office. Pennsylvania had an unemployment rate two
points below the national average.

SHARPTON: Governor Ed Rendell and Erin McPike, thanks for joining me
this evening.

MCPIKE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, just watch Republicans squirm as they try to
explain why it was OK for them to attack Bain Capital but not OK for the

Plus, the final days of a fight that began more than a year ago, the
recall of Wisconsin`s union busting governor Scott Walker. How
progressives are mobilizing for the recall, now just one week away.


SHARPTON: Now that Mitt Romney`s, the all but certain nominee, his
Republican friends are jumping in to defend his record at Bain Capital and
as Massachusetts governor. The problem is they were the ones who attacked
him in the first place. Take a look.


MCCAIN: I think you manage to companies and he bought and sold and
sometimes people lost their jobs. That`s the nature of that business.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I brought taxes down by 17 percent. Under him
taxes went up 11 percent per capita I led.

eluded the companies, left people total unemployed and walked off with
millions of dollars.


SHARPTON: Ouch. But that`s all water under the bridge. Now these
guys are doing their best to pretend Willard`s their guy. Here is Senator
McCain trying to explain his past criticisms of Bain Capital.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: This is the free enterprise system.
The only place in the world that I can recall where companies never failed
was the old Soviet Union. Yes, free enterprise system can be cruel.


SHARPTON: The free enterprise system can be cruel. Watch out
Senator. Your right wing buddies might accuse you of attacking capitalism.
Here is Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani, talking about his older tax on Romney`s
time as governor.


FMR. MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI, NEW YORK: They had a growth of jobs in
about 40,000. We add growth of jobs of about 500,000. So, I was comparing
what I thought was my far superior record to his otherwise descent record.


SHARPTON: Rudy`s attacks were OK because his records were far
superior to Mitt`s. I`m sure the Romney folks love that one. But I think
my favorite line came from Newt Gingrich.


DAVID GREGORY, HOST, "MEET THE PRESS": You called this time at Bain
exploitation at one point in the campaign.

GINGRICH: Sure. Look, I went straight at him on the Bain issue.



SHARPTON: Sure. Newt went straight at him on the Bain issue. On the
Bain attacks. But apparently, they`re bad now that the Democrats are doing
the same thing. Do these guys think they wouldn`t call them out for their
flip-flops on Willard? Nice try. But we got you.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. The eyes of the
progressive world are on Wisconsin. We`re just one week away from the
election to recall Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Progressives are
fighting hard to harness the energy they had last February when thousands
marched in Madison, taking over the state capitol. Vowing to fight back
against the union best in governor. At a debate over the weekend, Governor
Walker was asked what he might change if he could go back in time.


GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: My problem was I can fixed it, then
I talked about it. Most politicians spend all their time talking about it
but never fixed it. In the future, we`re going to both talk about it and
fix it. We understand the product is ultimately the most important thing
that the process itself is very important.


SHARPTON: But it is not just the process, it is also the policy. Is
Walker`s anti-union policies that set this recall in motion? Not his
process. With a week to go, Walker has a huge financial advantage in this
race. He outspent his challenger nearly three to one in TV ads and he has
a 25 to one financial advantage over Mayor Tom Barrett. And all that money
has helped keep him ahead in the polls. But it`s been tightening up in the
last two weeks with Barrett trending higher and with just one week to go,
they have the money. But for the Democrats, it`s down to the ground game.
It is getting back to the same energy that got Wisconsinites this far.

Joining me now is Marty Beil, executive director of Wisconsin American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 24. And Adam
Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. First of
all, thanks to both of you for joining me tonight.

to be here.

having us on.

SHARPTON: Marty, the ground game is key right now and you`re in the
thick of it. What turn out do you expect and how can you win?

BEIL: We expect a huge turnout. You know, as you mentioned, Walker
may have dollars. We`ve got people on the streets. Last weekend, we got
35 thousand volunteers doing doors and doing phones. He certainly, you
know, money can`t buy that kind of activity. The energy that we saw 16
months ago here in Wisconsin we see again here. We`re on track to do a
million five doors by Election Day and in six days, Wisconsin citizens will
take the government back, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Now, Adam, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee
announced today donating another $100,000 to go towards democratic ground
work and field operations to unseat Walker. How did you raise it and how
do you -- how important do you think it is for the ground game? What are
you are you looking to see as you keep putting money in?

GREEN: Yes. Well, first of all, Marty is absolutely right. In this
battle of corporate power versus people power, corporations can dominate
the airwaves but they can`t replicate the boots on the ground. And that
why thousands of people went to our Web site in the
last nine days, and shipped in over $100,000 to ensure that Wisconsin
Democrats have the resources that they need to get out and to vote. It
really all comes down to this.

This could be a neck and neck race, it all comes down to what people
do on Election Day. Can we reach people at their door, remind them it is
Election Day, one final case and pull them to the polls if we have to.

SHARPTON: So, you raised it on-line.

GREEN: Thousands and thousands of people, you know, less than 20 hour
average contribution. And these are people around this continent, across
the nation who understand, this is not just a local fight, this is a
national fight. And it is a question of, will we fight back in the
republican world?

SHARPTON: Because they had seen that the progressive community had
gone kind of quiet and lost a little energy. Is that true or is the
perception wrong?

GREEN: I don`t think that`s true. That is a story line that
Republicans have been pushing. You know, I think, Marty and his crew have
been great stuff on the ground. Progressives nationally have been very
engage in this fight. There is some talk about how committed the national
Democratic Party has been. They are saying now that they are being
supportive but I don`t think progressives for one instance have let up
their focus on this fight.

SHARPTON: Marty, you`re on the thick of the fight, tell me, has the
energy been there? Has the support you need been there?

BEIL: The energy here in Wisconsin is incredible and the energy and
support from a lot of our parent groups in Washington and across the
country have been incredible. But I want to say one thing. There`s
Politico`s inside the Beltway, you know, who are making predictions. Those
politicals didn`t start this. This recall here. The Wisconsin people
started this here. So they can interpret polls. They can come up with all
their pipe dreams about what may or may not happen here in Wisconsin. But
will happen here in Wisconsin is those volunteers, those workers, those
middle class folks, who will throw Walker out of office next Tuesday.

SHARPTON: Now, Walker, Adam, is feeling that money is a huge
advantage. He has pulled $13.2 million since January and of that, 8.3
million came from outside of Wisconsin. That`s two thirds of his money.
He`s had to raise outside of Wisconsin. So the, on the ground gain, is the
only thing to counter this kind of money that Marty is talking about.

GREEN: That`s true. Not only is this money from outside of Wisconsin
but by and large is from big corporations. It`s from billionaire oil men
like the Koch Brothers. Whereas they are supporting the recall of this
governor are everyday people. You know, grandparents chipping in $3, $5 at
a time to support this effort. And then again, as you said, the boots on
the ground. And I would point out one other things. You know, some people
are trying to again, call this a local election, some people saying it,
doesn`t really matter to national, you know, national narrative. But what
happens in Wisconsin on June 5th as well as whether some other big
primaries like Eric Rigo (ph) in New Mexico and Louie Sadani (ph) in
California, if these progressive causes win, that will be a big boom to
this president as he tries to get re-elected. But we cannot lose, if we
lose, you know that Republicans a lot of filled day with that. So, it`s
all hands on deck right now. All of us have to do our part.

SHARPTON: Well, Marty, Adam mentioned the Koch Brothers and Koch
Brothers funds Americans for prosperity has launching up bus campaign in
Wisconsin this week. That`s their ground game I suppose and this bus tour
is touting positive reforms with a better Wisconsin bus tour travelling
around the state from May 30th to June 2nd. There are positive reforms,
what a coincidence.

BEIL: Yes, well I don`t know how positive they are, Reverend Al. You
know, they have done this bus tour before and they played to a crowd of
about two dozen folks. We have done bus tours, we`ve got hundreds and
sometimes thousands of people come out. You know, I have to say that there
is a lot of money on the republican side of this. But the interesting part
of all this is that Walker`s numbers, in spite of the money, in spite of
the ads have remained plateaued and in fact, a poll that was just done last
week is popularity dropped by two points. So, you know, he can have money.
We`ve got people. We`ve got the truth on our side. We are out there every
day, every minute, every breath to make sure that Wisconsin takes its
government back.

SHARPTON: And one sentence, Adam, what do progressive need to do in
this one week left?

GREEN: We need to consider this all hands on deck moment. Everybody
needs to make phone calls. Still chipping in to the cause and if you`re in
Wisconsin, please, please get out and vote.

SHARPTON: What do we need people to do, Marty?

BEIL: We need people to contact relatives, friend, kids, outlaws, in-
laws, church members, community groups and tell them that the 5th, next
Tuesday, it is absolutely critical that they go to the polls. And if they
can`t make that commitment, they can early vote and absentee until June
1st. There`s been thousands of people Reverend Al in Milwaukee in Madison
lined up yesterday, 90 minutes to get into vote absentee. So folks have
some concern about not voting on the fifth. They can vote early, but we
need to have them vote.

SHARPTON: Mary Beil and Adam Green, thanks for your time tonight and
good luck.

BEIL: Thanks, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Mitt Romney calls education a quote civil rights
issue. But his ideas fail to address the problem. We`ll talk about it
with Randi Weingarten, head of the American Federation of Teachers.

Plus, while some on the right might have a problem with President
Obama`s ceremony today honoring American heroes. That`s ahead. Here on


SHARPTON: Mitt Romney is trying to make America`s teachers the
villain in his attack on President Obama`s education policies. We`ll get
some reactions from Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation
of Teachers. That`s next.


SHARPTON: If there`s one issue in America today that should be beyond
politics is education. But Mitt Romney has been using the issue to try to
score political points. Most recently claiming that America`s school kids
were getting quote, a third world education under President Obama.


prosperous nation on earth but millions of our kids are getting a third
world education. And America`s minority children suffer the most. This is
the civil rights issue of our era.


SHARPTON: So, how would Romney address this civil rights issue? His
record as governor of Massachusetts doesn`t exactly inspire confidence. He
cut $277 million from the K-12 education budget. He cut $130 million from
higher education. And he vetoed $10 million to expand kindergarten. And
just last week, Romney raised eyebrows by suggesting kids need two parents
to succeed in school.


ROMNEY: If you think about the kids of tomorrow trying to help move
people to understand, you know, getting married and having families whether
there is a mom and dad together has a big impact.


SHARPTON: But not all kids live with two parents, Willard. As a
matter of fact, one in four children are being raised in single parent
homes. Are all these kids destined to fail? Is there any answer from
Romney for those children?

Joining me now is Randi Weingarten, president of the American
Federation of Teachers. Who met today with Education Secretary Arne
Duncan. Randi, thanks for being here tonight. Let me start with this.
Mitt Romney has a record on education. How do you assess?

you know, all he did in his speech was say these tired old plays from the
old republican play book where, if you actually looked at the evidence,
none of these things works.

SHARPTON: Facts again.

WEINGARTEN: Right. So, essentially what he did was, he suggested the
kind of education policy that operates in Chile, instead of suggesting the
kind of education policy that operates in the countries that out compete
us. Which is what we actually just did today in New Haven. Go to a place
that is actually working. So if he spent a minute of time in a school to
see what is working, he would never have suggested what he suggested. So,
what I was really shocked about, was, you know, investment policy in terms
of schools. A policy that pretends that poverty doesn`t exist and what is
worse, this notion that if you`re for kids, you have to be against teachers
or if you`re for teachers you have to be against kids.

That doesn`t work in schooling in America. What works is building
capacity of teachers so that they are the best they can be. Investing in
them and also creating collaborative environments like we see in New Haven
which are, you know, which should be, you know, what we should do
throughout the nation. So, I was really disappointed that someone who
supposedly as smart as Mitt Romney would come up with a play book from 20,
30 years ago that never worked then and doesn`t work now.

SHARPTON: Now, he has been taking really sharp attacks at teachers
and even the teachers union. Let me show you what he said today in
Colorado to an 8-year-old girl.


ROMNEY: You a good school here? Yes, I`ll bet you do. I want to
make sure that we have a president that cares more about kids than he cares
about the teachers` union.


SHARPTON: What is that supposed to mean?

WEINGARTEN: Again, this must be right out of the republican play book
from 30 years ago. The country, let me say this as loudly as can I to Mr.
Romney. The countries that out-compete us are the ones that are the most
unionized. The states in this nation that do the worst are the least
unionized. Teachers really need a voice, Mitt. You should be working
together with teachers and with the teacher`s union like we are doing in
New Haven where we are turning things around. Every school, and every
school district in this nation, that has worked for kids, works with its
teachers, doesn`t demonize them. Doesn`t mean that all of us have to
change. Of course, we have to change, of course we have to do more. But
we have to invest in kids and share responsibility, not demonize and

SHARPTON: Now, "The New York Times" last Monday did an article on --
school choice programs which Romney supports. And it says in the article,
"The programs are operating in eight states this school year alone, the
programs re-directed nearly $350 million that would have gone into public
budgets to pay for private school, scholarships for 129,000 students."

WEINGARTEN: Exactly right. So, look at the evidence. Every time we
do a divestment strategy from schools, kids lose. Let`s take something
like early childhood. Mitt Romney cut early childhood in Massachusetts.
What is early childhood education mean? Every dollar we spend on early
childhood, we save $7 later on.


WEINGARTEN: And yet we are cutting early childhood. So instead of
investment strategy, he is doing a disinvestment strategy particularly to
poor kids. The same in terms of class size reduction. There were teachers
at that charter school in Philadelphia. Who said to him, we have to
actually differentiate instruction to kids. That means we need smaller

SHARPTON: He said larger classroom sizes. I mean, he`s the first one
I`ve ever heard come with that one.

WEINGARTEN: So, look, it`s just someone who is out of touch. He
clearly has not been in a public school classroom, in a very long time. If
he is actually going to think that the way in which we bring this country
together is that you divide teachers from kids, the way we create
opportunity is that you scapegoat and demonize, that is someone who
obviously doesn`t know anything about how you educate children or at least
how you educate poor children in this country.

SHARPTON: Randy Weingarten, president of the American Federation of
Teachers. Thanks for your time tonight, Randi.

President Obama honoring the Medal of Freedom recipients today. There
was one that some Republicans probably won`t be celebrating. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: It was a day to honor icons at the White House today.
President Obama celebrated the latest Medal of Freedom recipients. More
than a dozen cultural and political icons. Receiving the nation`s highest
civilian honor. Like former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
Dolores Huerta, co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association.
Dolores and I marched together to protest voter ID laws earlier this year.
Author Toni Morrison was on it. Rock legend Bob Dylan was there. And John
Doerr, a legendary leader of the Federal Efforts to protect and enforce
civil rights during the 1960s. Then, the President honored Juliette Gordon
Low, the founder of the girl scouts who died in 1927 at the age 66.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Juliette Gordon Low was not
exactly typical. She recognized early on that in order to keep up with the
changing times, women would have to be prepared essentially later, almost
16 million girl scouts have gained leadership skills in self-confidence
through the organization that she founded.


SHARPTON: A fitting tribute to an incredible organization. Teaching
character and ethics. But I hope the Republicans weren`t watching. Some
aren`t really fans of the girl scouts. Like Indiana State Representative
Bob Morris. He thinks Planned Parenthood works with girl scouts to quote
sexualize young girls. He also says, girl scouts promote homosexual
lifestyles. And then there`s Alaska State Representative Wes Keller. He
blocked a resolution honoring the scouts. Because he heard they were
linked to Planned Parenthood. So I was wondering, where do the Republicans
get these outrageous ideas anyway?


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Turns out girl scouts is more than just cookies.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Kind of what you just feel is a liberal agenda, in
the national Girl Scout organization.


SHARPTON: A liberal agenda. I guess it was a liberal agenda to build
courage, confidence and character to try to make the world a better place.
Not to mention great cookies. But seriously, though, this isn`t a group we
should be tearing down. It is one we should be building up. One we should
be honoring. We should honor those that invest in the youth in this
country. To try and build character in young women. But to the memory of
the founder and to all of those that lead the girl scouts, one of the
things I`ve learned is you can judge people by those that are opposed to
them. So you should be honored that those that oppose you are people that
most Americans oppose with what they say.

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


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