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PoliticsNation, Thursday, June 21, 2012

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

Guests: Jonathan Capehart, Jim McDermott; Ted Strickland, Luis Gutierrez, Lorella Praeli, Loretta Ross, Laura Bassett

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Welcome to "Politics Nation." I`m
Al Sharpton live tonight from Atlanta, Georgia.

Tonight`s lead, Willard Mitt Romney has a jobs problem. And we saw it
on full display today. It`s not exactly a new problem. For months now
he`s been arguing that he is the man to fix this economy. That he could
bring us back from the brink. That he was leading because this president
made things worse.


economy was in recession. And he made it worse. And he made it last

He didn`t create the recession, but he made it worse and longer. He
did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.


SHARPTON: That was Romney`s argument. And he was sticking to it.
Except he soon found out it wasn`t the best strategy.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE REPORTER: How can you continue to say that things
are worse when they really are not?

ROMNEY: I didn`t say that things are worse.


SHARPTON: Wait. Didn`t we just play this clip?


ROMNEY: He did not cause this recession, but he made it worse.


SHARPTON: That`s what I thought. Romney repeatedly blamed President
Obama for making things worse until this little slipup.


LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO HOST: Isn`t it a hard argument to make if
you`re saying, like, OK, he inherited this recession and took a bunch of
steps to try to turn the economy around and now we`re seeing more jobs but
vote against him anyway? Isn`t that a hard argument to make? Isn`t that a
stark number contrast?

ROMNEY: Have you got a better one, Laura? It just happens to be the


SHARPTON: It happens to be the truth, Laura.

Under President Obama, the economy has improved. That`s a fact. Yes,
there`s work that needs to be done. But Romney`s got a bit of a problem.
He needs people to stop talking about the economic improvement. So much so
that it`s putting him at odds with GOP governors who are touting their
economic success. Governors like Rick Scott.

In fact, Bloomberg reports that the Romney campaign asked Scott to
down play job gains. Saying it clashes with the message that the nation is
suffering under President Obama.

Think about that for a second. Mitt Romney is rooting against this
economic recovery. He doesn`t want to hear about more Americans going back
to work. Guess he doesn`t like ads like this one touting Florida`s job


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Across Florida, here`s the news. Companies are
hiring, expanding, putting more Floridians to work. Florida`s unemployment
rate continues to get better. Now at a three-year low.


SHARPTON: Romney might not like it. The needle is moving under
President Obama. National unemployment peaked in October of 2009. Since
then it`s been dropping in key states like Florida. There, it`s fallen
from over 11 percent to 8.6 percent. Florida Republicans are actually
touting that progress. In Ohio, it`s dropped more than three points. Same
thing with Wisconsin. It`s down nearly 2.5 percent. In Virginia it`s
dipped to 5.6 percent.

Folks, this is great news. But Mitt Romney is rooting against this
economic recovery. He doesn`t want the jobs market to turn around. He
doesn`t even want people talking about a turnaround. He wants this economy
to fail. That`s his key to winning the White House. No plans, no
solutions, just root for failure. And hope the American people don`t

Joining me now is former governor Ted Strickland, Democrat from Ohio.
He is a national co-chair for the president`s re-election campaign. And
Congressman Jim McDermott, Democrat from Washington.

Thanks to you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Governor Strickland, let`s go to you first. Romney is
telling governors to keep the good economic news under wraps. How big a
deal is this in your mind?

STRICKLAND: Well, I think it`s rather shameful if it`s true and the
reports seem to be true that this is happening. But I can tell you that
Ohio`s economy is coming back. It started coming back in 2010.

But, Ohio`s economy, Reverend Al, would not be doing nearly as well as
it is doing today if the president had not rescued the American auto
industry. And that`s a huge deal in Ohio.

Thousands and thousands of jobs are connected to auto production and
to the supply chain. And the president deserves credit for that. And so,
I`m so happy that Ohio`s economy is doing better. And I`m also happy that
Florida`s is doing better even if Mitt Romney is not happy about that.

SHARPTON: Well, yes governor because when you look at the fact that
unemployment has been dropping in key states and it has projected to do
well in those same states on Election Day.

Congressman McDermott, in Ohio where governor Strickland was just
speaking of, it`s likely to be 7.2 percent -- down to 7.2 percent
unemployment on Election Day. Colorado 7.1 percent. Virginia 5.6 percent.
Which clearly we still need to work on. But these are lower rates than
we`ve seen clearly four years ago and clearly in a long time.

This is a problem for Romney if his whole campaign is that the
president has not done well with economic recovery.

MCDERMOTT: Al, if the economy keep on the track it`s a disaster for
Romney because it is getting better. And he`s so desperate, he`s now
willing to throw Republican governors under the bus. He`s telling them,
don`t tell anybody it`s any better. Just go out there and say how awful it
is under Obama. And they can`t do that because the people in their own
states, in the swing states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Virginia, Florida. All
these states are doing better. And Romney`s going crazy trying to figure
out how to shut up the governors for taking charge.

They`re running for re-election themselves and want to talk about how
things are better. And he`s saying be quiet. Make it look like Obama`s
going down the tubes.

SHARPTON: And I think that`s the point you just made, Congressman

Governor Strickland, you`ve been governor of a state. You have
governors that are seeking their own re-election, trying to show there is
progress which is diametrically oppose on the strategy that Mr. Romney
wants. And then you have headlines by these governors.

Kasich`s Ohio job message at odds with Romney too. McDonald concedes
Obama`s stimulus plan helped Virginia. Governor Rick Scott says Florida`s
on track to create 700,000 jobs.

These headlines help them in their state elections, but it does not
line up with the national strategy of Mitt Romney to say this president has
failed and I`m the only hope.

STRICKLAND: Well, Reverend Al, Mitt Romney`s record as governor of
Massachusetts is nothing to brag about. As we`ve all heard, Massachusetts
was 47th in the nation in terms of job creation.

And, you know, if my Republican friends want to ask the question is
the economy better today than it was four years ago? You better believe it
is. Because when this president took office, this country lost 800,000
jobs the very month he took office. And we`re actually gaining jobs now.
We`re on the right track. We`re headed in the right direction. And we
need to stay with this good president because he`s steady. He is leading
us forward. And we need to give him a chance.

That`s why I`m so excited about his second term because I think we are
headed in the right direction. And if we stay the course, if we don`t turn
back to the policies that cause the recession which Mitt Romney wants to
do, I think we`re going to be OK.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman Steny Hoyer told reporters today, took it
a step further. He said that the GOP is sinking the economy on purpose.
Let me read to you this quote.

"There`s no intention on behalf of the Republicans in the House of
Representatives to try to help the president move this country forward."

Do you think it is the intent of some of your Republican colleagues to
stall the economic recovery for political purposes?

MCDERMOTT: I think that`s absolutely what the situation is, Al. From
Mitch McConnell in January of 2009 when he said my goal is to prevent
Barack Obama from being re-elected, to this very day they`re doing
everything possible.

The president has put out proposal after proposal and they won`t even
give it a hearing. They don`t even want the people to know that he is
making positive proposals. They want to throw the economy and the American
people under the bus so that they can get back in control of the White
House. That`s all they care about. Nothing else.

SHARPTON: Governor Strickland, when you look at the fact that not
only did McConnell say that that was the one goal, the very night of the
inauguration, the very night while many were at the inaugural balls, they
were meeting less than a mile away from the president and the first lady
were dancing at the ball planning to take this president out of office.
And they came out, their goals were show united and unyielding opposition
to the president`s economic policies. Begin attacking vulnerable Democrats
on the airwaves. Win the spear point of the house in 2010. Jab Obama
relentlessly in 2011. Win the White House and the Senate in 2012. We get
this out of draper`s book.

But right on this program, Newt Gingrich admitted to me there was a
meeting that night that he participated in and some of the language that
was discussed. He admitted that here on "Politics Nation."

STRICKLAND: Reverend Al, it`s a serious charge to say that the
Republican leadership wants the economy to do badly in order to win an
election, but their actions say that very clearly. There is nothing this
president has tried to do to bring about job creation that they`ve been
willing to cooperate to work with them and achieve. That`s the fact.

And I`m convinced that between now and the election, we`re going to
see more of this obstruction and this unwillingness to cooperate. The
president to his great credit has reached out. He`s made suggestions.
He`s proposed solutions. He has a jobs plan that they will not move
forward. And so very soon in just a few months, the American people will
have a chance to bring an end to this kind of unacceptable gridlock. And
they will have a chance to say they want actions, actions speak louder than
words. They want common sense solutions. And they want cooperation.

And Mitch McConnell and Speaker Boehner, because of the makeup of
their caucuses, I believe, are basically unable to cooperate even when they
may choose to do so.

SHARPTON: We`re going to have to leave it there. Governor Strickland
and Congressman McDermott, thank you for being here.

STRICKLAND: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, a far more toned down Mitt Romney speaks to a group
of Latino elected officials and totally dodges the questions everyone`s
asking. Where`d that self-deportation line go?

Plus, Dick Cheney claimed there was a connection between Saddam
Hussein and 9/11. But a document just declassified puts Cheney in the hot

And burglaries and fires break out at women`s health clinics right
here in Atlanta. Now the FBI is investigating. Is this an act of domestic

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: There`s new news tonight in the fight back against voter

Today, New Hampshire democratic governor John Lynch vetoed a
restrictive voter I.D. bill. The bill would have required voters to show
photo identification at the polls. As we seen around the country, the
proposal would have made it harder for ill eligible people to vote.
Governor Lynch said quote, "our election laws must be designed to encourage
and facilitate voting by all eligible voters in New Hampshire."

He`s not the only governor stepping up the fight but our attorney
general Eric Holder and it`s one of the reasons the GOP is on a witch hunt
against him. That story is next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to "Politics Nation."

Republicans claim the attack on attorney general Eric Holder are all
about fast and furious. And subpoenas and contempt and who knew what when.
But that`s not the truth. Today house democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said
what it`s really all about.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: They`re going after Eric
Holder because he is supporting measures to overturn these voter
suppression initiatives in the states. This is no accident. It is no
coincidence. It is a plan on the part of Republicans.

Instead of bringing job-creating legislation to the floor, the
transportation bill, they are holding the attorney general of the United
States in contempt of Congress for doing his job.


SHARPTON: She`s right. This is all politics. Attorney general
Holder is fighting against some of the GOP`s favorite far-right projects.
He`s blocking their voter suppression laws. He`s challenging anti-
immigrant laws. And he`s refusing to defend the anti-gay defense of
marriage act.

But there`s another piece ensuring this is just about the Republican
political agenda. GOP lawmakers are refusing to go after George W. Bush`s
attorney general Michael Mukasey. Even though the gun-walking programs
started during the Bush era and Mukasey himself knew about them.

A recent democratic report says quote, "in 2007, Mukasey was
personally informed about the failure of previous law enforcement
operations involving the illegal smuggling of weapons in Mexico. And that
he received a proposal to expand these operations."

In that briefing, Mukasey was told quote, "ATF would like to expand
the possibility of such joint investigations and controlled deliveries
since only then will it be possible to investigate entire smuggling network
rather than arresting simply a single smuggler."

Mukasey knew about gun-walking programs long before Holder was ever
attorney general. If Republicans really wanted to get to the bottom of it,
they`d call Mukasey to account as well. Yet the Democratic report says
quote, "the committee never held a hearing or even conducted an interview
with the former attorney general Michael Mukasey."

Joining me now is Jonathan Capehart, an opinion writer for "the
Washington Post" and an MSNBC contributor.

First of all, Jonathan, thanks for being here.


SHARPTON: I want to first mention we called all 23 Republican members
of the oversight committee that voted against Eric Holder and none could
join me tonight. None. Many were traveling today, but we do hope to have
someone from their side on the show very soon.

Now, Jonathan, let me go back to you. Shouldn`t the Bush attorney
general at least be interviewed about a program that started during the
Bush administration that he had knowledge of?

CAPEHART: Sure. If the committee is truly interested in getting to
the bottom of the fast and furious program, how it got started, why it got
started, the ups and downs, and how it was possible an agent was killed in
the process of carrying out this operation, then yes. Former attorney
general Mukasey should be interviewed.

But, as you said in the setup for this segment, the Republican-
controlled committee isn`t interested in talking to him which is really too
bad. Because you know, I thought those committees were supposed to be
about broadly and generally speaking about investigating, holding people
accountable, and getting at the truth of a problem. But that`s not exactly
where this committee appears to be going.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at the fact that Republicans including
Rush Limbaugh and Darrell Issa saying that this fast and furious was the
administration -- this administration`s attempt to attack the second
amendment. Listen to this.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO HOST: The purpose of this was to jam up anti-
amendment to sentiment among the people in this country. The American
people don`t want by a vast majority any gun control legislation. But that
doesn`t matter to people like president Kardashian or Eric Holder or any of
the Democrat party on the left. They don`t want you to have guns.

REP, DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: They never answered the question.
What were they thinking of? Could it be that what they really were
thinking of was in fact to use this walking of guns in order to promote an
assault weapons ban? Many think so and they haven`t come up with an
explanation that wouldn`t cause us to agree.

This administration has trampled on the constitution, on the first
amendment, on religious rights. And if you don`t think that this fast and
furious and things like it are the beginning of an attack in a second term
on the second amendment, you really haven`t evaluated this president.


SHARPTON: Now, Congressman Issa seems to be following Rush Limbaugh
here. You hear what Limbaugh said, Issa says almost the same thing. Yet
it is all -- not only is it interesting he`s parodying Limbaugh. It`s also
interesting they tried and act as though fast and furious started under
this administration for the reasons of going after the second amendment
rather than it started under the Bush administration who they won`t call in
that attorney general and dealing with the basis of his continuing the
program was.

CAPEHART: Right. Well, Rev. This is the conspiracy theory that I
think we should be focused on. That Republicans think that fast and
furious are at least the narrative that they`re putting out there is fast
and furious is an Obama administration creation. That is sort of this
Trojan horse that would then allow the federal government to institute an
assault weapons ban to keep guns out of the hands of Americans who want to
have guns to override the second amendment.

That`s the conspiracy theory we should be focused on. Not the
conspiracy theory that the speaker -- I`m sorry, minority leader Pelosi
mentioned at her press conference that you showed at the top of your

Congressman Issa and Republicans on the hill on the fast and furious
investigation are not going after Eric Holder because of what he`s doing on
a separate track on voter suppression laws. They`re going out on him on
this specific issue for this specific reason. Quote, unquote "concern
about the second amendment."

Now, if there are plenty of other Republican chairmen up there on
Capitol Hill who could haul attorney general Holder in over voter
suppression, over some of the other things they have a problem with. They
have plenty of problems with attorney general Holder.

But they`re not going after him on those things or going after him on
fast and furious and not on really the details of the botched program or
the botched plan. They`re going after him over e-mails that happened
months after this agent was tragically killed in an effort to have, say, a
gotcha moment. And a gotcha moment that`s just not going to come.

SHARPTON: But Jonathan, Senator Cornyn did say when he called on the
attorney general to resign, he specifically brought up the voter fraud.

But let me tell you something. Whether you go with Ms. Pelosi or
whether you go with Rush Limbaugh, I have a better conspiracy.

I think George Bush and his attorney general set up operation wide
receiver. Then it came back and did the Hernandez case. And it came back
with the Mendrano case. All of this was fast and furious so they could set
the President Obama up who they knew they were going to be replaced by.
Who they knew was going to beat McCain so he could go after the second
amendment. It was Bush and Obama all along.

How you like that one, Jonathan? Thanks for your time.


SHARPTON: I`ll give you overnight to think about that one.

CAPEHART: Yes. Thanks, rev.

SHARPTON: If we`re going to be crazy, go all the way crazy.

Ahead, I have a big question. Where did Mitt "self-deportation"
Romney go? Wait until you see the softer Romney speak to a group of
Hispanic elected officials today.


SHARPTON: Time as caught up with some of Dick Cheney`s untrue
statements about the justification for the Iraq war.

The Bush administration justified that war by claiming there was a
connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attack. Here`s vice
president Dick Cheney in December 2001 talking about 9/11 hijacker Mohammed


we now have that`s developed since you and I last talked was that report
has been pretty well confirmed he did go to Prague and he did meet with a
senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last
April several months before the attack.


SHARPTON: Pretty well confirmed that Atta met with Iraqi agents in
Prague. That is not true. A newly declassified document shows the CIA
briefed the White House the day before that interview. That briefing
stated that Atta did not travel to Prague. The person who attempted to the
Czech Republic was not the same person who attacked the World Trade Center.
Things were not pretty well confirmed. Maybe Cheney missed that briefing,
but I doubt he still didn`t know about it a year and a half later when he
repeated this bogus claim.


CHENEY: With respect to 9/11, of course we`ve heard the story that`s
been public out there. The Czechs alleged that Mohammed Atta lead the
attack and met in Prague with the senior Iraqi intelligence official five
months before the attack. But we`ve never been able to develop any more of
that yet either in terms of confirming it or discrediting it. We just
don`t know.


SHARPTON: False statement like this led 69 percent of Americans to
believe Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. It was a key part
of selling the war to the American public. Folks, what`s pretty well
confirmed is that Cheney wanted to go to war no matter what. What`s pretty
well confirm is that more than 4,000 U.S. troops were killed in Iraq. And
what`s pretty well confirmed is that we spent $800 billion. That`s a
billion on unnecessary war, $800 billion. Nice try, Vice President Cheney,
but I think it`s pretty well confirmed that we got you.


SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with the ongoing waiting
game. Seven days. That`s how long it`s been since the President made his
bold announcement on immigration. And we still have yet to hear what the
GOP presidential nominee would do if he were elected. But he finally got
the chance to set the record straight on a big stage today in front of top
Latino officials in the country.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Some people have asked if I
will let stand the President`s executive order. The answer is that I will
put in place my own long-term solution that will replace and supersede the
President`s temporary measure.


SHARPTON: His own long-term solution. That`s not an answer. It`s
just another evasion. But he did strike a softer tone today promising to
work with Democrats on immigration reform.


ROMNEY: I`ll work with states and employers to update our temporary
worker visa program. I`d staple a green card to the diploma of someone who
gets an advanced to green American. I will stand for a path to legal
status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation
through military service. And I`m going to address the problem of illegal
immigration in a civil and resolute manner.


SHARPTON: A civil manner? Where`d the primary season Mitt Romney go?


ROMNEY: If I`m president, we`ll put in place an e-verify system which
you`ve opposed to make sure that we can find out who is here legally and
not and crack down on people who come here illegally.

Well, the answer is self-deportation.

We went to the company and we said, look, you can`t have any illegals
working on our property, I`m running for office for Pete`s sake, I can`t
have illegals.


SHARPTON: Self-deportation. Cracking down on immigrants. Make no
mistake about it, there was no one in the GOP field farther to the right on
immigration. Of course, moments after his speech today, Governor Romney
went right back to giving folks the silent treatment.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Governor Romney, what`s your stand on the Dream



SHARPTON: Joining me now is Congressman Luis Gutierrez, democrat from
Illinois who has long been a leader on this issue. And Lorella Praeli who
is on the coordinating committee of United We Dream which supports the
Dream Act. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.

REP. LUIS GUTIERREZ (D), ILLINOIS: Welcome. Pleasure to be with you.

SHARPTON: Congressman, let me start with you. Does today`s
performance help Mitt Romney with Hispanic voters?

GUTIERREZ: I think that number one after listening to the speech that
Mitt Romney gave, what he offered the Latino community was nothing. One of
the first tests that a candidate for president of the United States must
meet and must pass is the test of leadership. His pleasantries and being
vague offer no solutions. Latinos have specific questions and demand
specific answers. And he gave none today. He could have simply said, I
will let the order of President Barack Obama stand while I work for a
permanent solution as president. But he didn`t want to say that. Because
he doesn`t want to alienate the most extreme sectors of the Republican
Party which of course have advanced his presidency in the republican
nomination. He didn`t say what he would do with the millions.

And let me just be clear. He believes that Arizona 1070 should be the
model for the nation. Did he refute that today? No. He believes that
self-deportation which Reverend you`ve brought up -- what does that mean?
Pick up your bags and leave. You`ve been here 20 years? Pick up your bags
and leave. You have American citizen children? Pick up your bags. You
have a business, pick up your bag. You`ve been caught up in an immigration
system. Your husband or your wife is out there fighting in Afghanistan
right now? Pick up your bags and leave. That doesn`t fix a broken
immigration system. And let me just say. What`s going to be on the line
Reverend, as we go towards the election is if the President does not stand
-- that is, if President Obama is not re-elected, you are putting at risk
the lives and the future of 800 to 1.2 million young dreamers. Let`s
protect them.

SHARPTON: One of those young dreamers is with us. Lorella, you came
here from Peru. You`re a recent college graduate. And you would benefit
directly from the President`s new policy. What`s your reaction to all

LORELLA PRAELI, UNITED WE DREAM: I want to know where Mitt Romney
stands on this issue. So, I think he`s been dodging the question. I think
he`s been -- he has not been clear on where he stands and what he plans to
do if he were elected to be president of the United States. So, I think
for us, not just undocumented young adults, but also for the Latino
constituency and Latino voters, this is a very important issue. And we do
not know where he stands. What is clear to us is that he is constantly
contradicting himself. First, advocating for strong policy of self-
deportation or attrition through enforcement. And now being very vague on
what he would actually do to as he said, to find a civil and resolute
manner and resolve this problem.

SHARPTON: Tell me what it was like as you heard the President speak,
what he was saying, and how you were feeling and what has it been like with
you and your friends this week since the President made this announcement?

PRAELI: I think it`s been wonderful. I don`t think that there are
really words. It`s been a beautiful moment in the United States of America
in our home, in our country. We are finally moving forward. I think
America is ready for this. America wants this. And for us, it`s a life
changing moment. So for us college graduates, for those who are still in
high school and are considering going to college were for those about to
graduate from college. But aside from all of that, it also means that we
no longer have to live with this kind of cloud of deportation that any
moment individuals like ourselves could get picked up. And that, I think,
brings some peace to our lives.

SHARPTON: Now, I actually saw a photo -- in fact I`d like the
producers to put it up, of you while you were watching the speech where
you`re actually tearing up. And I think a lot of times we talk so much
politics, we forget the human side. And it`s in your eyes. Where people
can in a real change of policy in that moment have to stop worrying about
what the next knock on the door is and they didn`t do anything wrong. I
think that we just wanted to share that moment with you.

Congressman, let me go back to you for a moment on the politics.


SHARPTON: Let me show you what Mitt Romney said, today going back to
the old tired attack on President Obama. Listen to this.



ROMNEY: For two years, this president had huge majorities in the
House and Senate. He was free to pursue any policy he pleased. But he did
nothing to advance a permanent fix for our broken immigration system.
Nothing. Instead he failed to act until facing a tough re-election, and
trying to secure your vote.


SHARPTON: Now, I keep hearing a lot of the right wing, a lot of the
Republicans and Romney keep saying that you`re in Congress. Do they think
the American people will going to forget about how they filibustered
everything for those two years?

GUTIERREZ: Reverend, let`s make the record clear. In November of
2010, the House of Representatives under Barack Obama`s leadership passed
the Dream Act, 216 to 198. And of the 216 in favor of the Dream Act, there
were only eight Republicans. Five of them weren`t even coming back. We
then had 55 senators. Fifty one senators, democrat and four Republicans
but we couldn`t beat the filibuster in the Senate. Otherwise that bill
would have been taken to the President`s desk. Moreover, who filibustered?
Republicans who were co-sponsors of the Dream Act and who had voted for in
committee in order to staple. Mitch McConnell has said time and time
again, I will stop anything from happening that shows this president in
good stead with the American people.

We will stop him even if it`s at the detriment of the good people.
Let me just say. We fought too hard -- I think, this is the political
thing we need to understand -- we fought too hard for that wonderful young
woman on our program this evening. We fought too hard for hundreds of
thousands, nearly a million people to be able to come out of the shadows.
And we cannot at this time walk back. You know what the President did last
Friday from a pure-lip? He called their bluff. He sent out their senator,
Rubio from Florida, and we sat down with them and we were ready to work
with them. And you know what the President said? Wait a minute.

While you guys work out the politics, I`m not going to allow one more
of them to be deported. And he called their bluff and now they don`t know
what to do because they really aren`t on our side. Because they really
want to speak to a small, narrow base of the American people. If they want
to be president of the United States, the only road is through Arizona but
the only road is through New Mexico and Colorado and Florida, and Nevada
and through Latino neighborhoods and communities throughout this nation.
And Mitt Romney today failed the test.

SHARPTON: We have to leave it there. Congressman Luis Gutierrez and
Lorella Praeli, thank you both for your time. And Congressman, again,
thank you for your leadership on this.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Coming up, a wave of arson and burglaries targets doctors
who spoke out in defense of women`s health rights and is having a chilling
effect on a critical debate. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Here in Atlanta, the FBI is now investigating a possible
case of domestic violence. Investigation involves a wave of violence
apparently directed at doctors who dared to speak out for a woman`s right
to choose. The crime wave began during the recent debate over a
controversial bill limiting abortion access beyond 20 weeks. During that
debate, five separate OB-GYN clinics were hit with burglaries or arson in
the Atlanta area. All but one of the clinics were run by doctors who
opposed that bill. Now it seems there`s been a chilling effect. The
Atlanta Journal Constitution says, quote, "Physicians who participated in
the general assembly`s debate on new abortion restrictions say they warned
lawmakers they were being targeted for reprisals."

The paper says, quote, "The doctors suspected but not could prove that
whoever targeted their clinics were exceptionally well informed about
their activities in the Capitol during the 40 days of the session even
those activities that occurred out of the public eye."

Joining me now is Loretta Ross, national coordinator for SisterSong.
A Georgia group that advocates for women`s health issues. And Laura
Bassett, a journalist who covers these issues for the "Huffington Post."
Thank you both for joining me.

LAURA BASSETT, "HUFFINGTON POST": Thanks for having me.


SHARPTON: Let me start with you, Loretta. How have these attacks
affected doctors and women in your community?

ROSS: Well, every year we`ve got to go before the state legislature
to fight for women`s rights as part of this war on women. And now we face
the prospect that some doctors may be afraid to come out and testify and
speak their true feelings on these bills because they`ve been targeted for
speaking up in the past. And so it really has a chilling effect. It
really makes us wonder why we move from the legislature to violence. I
mean, we should be able to have a civil debate on these issues if you call
restricting women`s rights civil without this threat of terroristic
violence for this really happening. And it is scaring people. I can`t say
it doesn`t scare people. It concerns us who are on the frontlines trying
to work with women.

SHARPTON: Well, I mean, one of the things that struck me in the
article in the AJC it says, is it says that and I`m quoting from the
article, "The burglary at the Georgia OB/GYN society occurred the weekend
before a Senate committee was to discuss amending the bill to continue to
keep private the names of physicians who have to report abortions to the
state. The intruders bypassed three laptop computers but stole two laptops
in the executive director`s office that stored the names and addresses of
doctors." That is chilling to read, Loretta.

ROSS: Well, they really are targeting doctors because they feel if
they can reduce the availability of abortion services so that women have
fewer options, then you`ve coerced or forced women to continue pregnancies
that they may have otherwise terminated. So, by attacking the doctors,
they`re really going after what can be a very vulnerable thing. But also I
want to talk about black and other doctors of color who can`t afford the
elaborate security that many of their wealthier comrades can afford. So
they`re even more vulnerable. Getting them out to testify can be even more

SHARPTON: And they have a more chilling effect because they can`t set
up the same mechanism to protect themselves. Laura, you covered a lot of
these things around the country. When we look at the assault on choice.
Clinic workers were under attack. Since 1993, eight murders. Since 1991,
17 attempted murders. Since 1977 to 2009, 41 bombings and 175 arsons. So
that seems to be nationwide, these violent attacks and in some cases murder
and in other cases threats and arson against those that want to stand for
women`s right to choose.

BASSETT: Absolutely. There`s no other way to characterize it except
that it is domestic terrorism. Unfortunately, I don`t think the people who
are perpetrating these crimes consider themselves terrorist. I think
because of the inflammatory rhetoric surrounding the abortion debate
because of all the extreme laws that have been pushed over the past few
years. I mean, over the past few decades, abortion is a wedged issue. And
it`s designed to inflame people`s emotions. It`s designed to bring out the
hard right. And as a result of these laws that criminalize doctors and
liken abortion to murder, people feel as if they`re defending fetuses and
people feel as if they`re heroes when they do something like light a clinic
in Atlanta on fire. I think we need to change the conversation and let
these people know that this is not heroic, this is terrorism.

SHARPTON: Now, Loretta, how do you go continue to stand on the
frontline? Where do you go from here? In Georgia, you have bills that
want to ban abortion after 20 weeks, ban on abortion coverage for state
employees, cut budget for family planning, expand employer religious
exemptions. Where do you go from here, quickly -- I`m running out of time.
Where do we go from here?

ROSS: Atlanta is the birthplace of the civil rights movement. And we
know that violence or threat of violence has never stop threat them. So,
we`ve got to connect all these issues together, understand it`s about
opposing a democratic base and a democratic president and keep on keeping

SHARPTON: All right. We`re going the stay on this issue. Loretta
Ross and Laura Bassett, thank you both for your time tonight.

BASSETT: Thank you.

ROSS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: The summer`s here and that`s a song that gets everyone in
the spirit for a little vacation. And that`s exactly what Mitt Romney is
doing. Good for him. Everyone needs a little downtime. But his is a bit
different from your backyard barbecue. The Washington Post reports Mitt`s
hosting a two-day retreat of strategy and policy sessions for his top
donors, fundraisers and advisers. And it`s all happening at the Deer
Valley Resort in Park City, Utah. Romney`s top fundraisers will be
rewarded with major access to Romney and he`ll be here to guest like Paul
Ryan, John McCain, Condoleezza Rice and Jeb Bush. We`re not sure who the
fundraisers are, but they`ll be wining and dining their way through the
weekend. Including a Saturday night reception with dessert and dancing and
a Sunday golf outing. But one guest seems a bit out of place. Former
George W. Bush strategist Karl Rove. Now, we all know he can handle the


But jokes aside, Rove`s attendance raises some serious red flags.
Rove runs a super PAC. American Crossroads. Federal election laws
prohibit super PACs and political campaigns from coordinating with each
other. So what`s Karl Rove doing at a retreat focused on campaign strategy
discussions? How is that not a conflict? Now, if it was the other way
around, I`m sure right wing bloggers would be in the bushes and the trees
trying to find out what`s going on. And if there`s any discussion that
shouldn`t go on. So, Karl, over the weekend when you hear little bush,
rattling, noises in the trees, it may not be the cat. It may be me.

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


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