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PoliticsNation, Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Read the transcript from the Tuesday show

Guests: Loretta Sanchez; Virg Bernero, Adam Schiff, Zachary Carter, Steve Kornacki

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

Tonight`s lead. Willard Mitt Romney returns to the state where he was
born on third base. Where his daddy was governor and where folks woke up
one day to learn that he thought Detroit should go bankrupt.

It is all part of Willard`s every town counts tour. He`s tasting food
at bake shops. He`s driving old American cars. And he`s repeating his
claim that he restored to middle class.


Americans and for Michiganders. I want to see rising wages again. I want
to help the American people know that if they work hard they get an
education. They will have a fair shot.


SHARPTON: Everyone deserves a fair shot. That`s a great sentiment.

But don`t be fooled. This is the man who Willard is campaigning with
today, Governor Rick Snyder. And this is the type of Michigan he bleeds

In his first budget, Snyder cut aid for more than 11,000 needy
families including 30,000 children. He slashed school funding by over
eight percent. Guess what all that made room for, a $1.7 billion tax break
for corporations. Those are some messed up priorities. Right? Not to


ROMNEY: What we immediate is to have someone in Washington that will
do for Washington what is being done right here in Michigan and I will.


SHARPTON: Hear that? He wants to do to America what snider is doing
to Michigan. I guess that includes the emergency manager law. It allows
such people to run any city or school district that is under, quote,
"financial stress." One person with the power elected officials and cancel
contracts. How`s that for democracy?

Of course, today`s event with Snyder comes on the heels of yesterday`s
love-fest in Wisconsin. Romney toured with Scott Walker, a man who vowed
to divide and conquer union workers. And Paul Ryan a man whose budget guts
low income programs and yet, here is what Romney talked about in Wisconsin.


ROMNEY: My priority is putting Americans back to work. That`s job

People in this country ought to know that they have a fair shot of
being successful and fulfilling their dreams.


SHARPTON: Let`s build the middle class! Really? While standing with
those would?

Willard can pal around with a union bus and guy whose budget hurts the
poor. He can even campaign with the governor who puts corporate profits
over people.

But he can`t pretend to care about the middle class. He can`t say he
cares about every town. It is clear what his motives are and it is clear
which party really cares about the middle class.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To me being middle class not a number. It is a
way of life. It is a value set. It is about a minimum standard of living.
It is about being able to own your home and not just rent it. It is being
able to live in a safe neighborhood where your kids can walk the streets.
Where there is a playground. That`s not polluted. Where you can send your
kid to a decent school, knowing if they do well they have a chance to go to
college. If they have that chance you have a chance to get them there.
That`s what being a middle class person is. That`s not asking too much!
That`s who we are! That`s what we believe! That`s what you are about!


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor-at-large for
and MSNBC political analyst. And Virg Bernero, the Democratic mayor of
Lansing, Michigan who ran against Governor Snyder in 2010.

Thank you both for joining me.



SHARPTON: Mayor, let me start with you first.

Do working class folks in Michigan think Willard is on their side?

BERNERO: Absolutely not. Look, we are fresh off the auto rescue and
we know who is responsible for that. And that`s Barack Obama.

What`s right -- what`s going right in Michigan, really, has to be
credited to President Barack Obama because manufacturing is leading
Michigan`s recovery. The people who are being put back to work, it is in
manufacturing and that stems from the auto industry.

And if it had been for Barack Obama and his plan to rescue the auto
industry, we wouldn`t be even on the map economically. If we would have
followed Mitt Romney`s advice and let him go bankrupt, we would be wiped
off the map. We would have been talking about a million more unemployed.
We would be in a depression and not a recession.

You know the only -- real surprising thing about this was that Mitt
Romney was speaking -- he went and visited a pie shop. And I would have
thought he was a let them eat cake kind of guy.


SHARPTON: Well, Joan, let me say this. The optics of trying to act
like you are just everybody`s friend and every day guy and every city
counts is one thing. But the policies don`t match what he`s trying to
project and those that are campaigning with him have policies that don`t
match that.

WALSH: Right. And, you know, also he`s picking some very interesting
places for his tour. He`s not picking other places. The place he was
today, I think it was Franklin news, 96 percent white in the wake of
President Obama`s announcement on ceasing deportation of young people who
are brought here illegally. He`s certainly not seeking out any
opportunities to dialogue with the Latino community. He is in a place
that`s very white and also older than the Michigan average.

So he`s taking his -- we know which towns count under Mitt Romney and
we kind of know which towns don`t count. He`s also given up on I guess
this is a good thing, no longer saying hey, President Obama, listen to me.
He took my advice on the auto bailout. That wasn`t flying.

But he is staying -- certainly staying away from the president`s
obvious successes on that front. And he`s continuing to have this kind of
- it`s not blueberry pie. It is pie in the sky, very -- chiffon pie, very
light on any kind of details about how he would put middle class people
back to work, back in their homes, with their wages rising. There are no
details. Except corporate tax cuts and deregulation.

SHARPTON: Well, I have something to say about him and blueberry pie,
but we will leave that.

Mayor, let me say that Governor Snyder who you ran against campaigned
today. He said that Romney should not attack the bailout. He told "The
New York Times" in November I would have had some differences on how they
did it but I`m not going to second-guess it. The most important thing is
the results. And auto industry is doing very well today.

That`s what he told The New York Times in November. Today he was
campaigning with Mitt Romney who you quoted earlier as saying let them go
bankrupt, the auto industry.

BERNERO: Well, exactly. And like your other guest said, he didn`t
mention the auto industry. And for good reason. Because he`s running from
his record and the president is running on his record.

Look, he has to run from it. He wants people to forget about it. He
wants to reinvent history. In our hour of need, when we were on the ropes,
he wasn`t there. He was AWOL. Worst than AWOL, he was fighting on the
other side. He tried to stop it. He was against the auto rescue. And
that is Michigan. That`s when we are about. We make things.

He doesn`t get people that work for a living. They roll up their
sleeves and go out and make things and contribute to GDP, Gross Domestic
Product. That`s what it is about. And that`s what this country needs more
of. And that`s what President Barack Obama delivered to Michigan and to
this country.

The backbone of this country is manufacturing and he`s bringing it
back, including the investments in green energy which are taking off in
Michigan in terms of wind turbine.

You know, we are making wind turbine. We are making solar panels.
That`s because of -- battery technology. That`s because of the president`s
policies and the president`s investments. And by the way, our previous
governor who also worked with the president to make it happen. Michigan is
enjoying the fruits of those public investments and those public private

SHARPTON: Well, not only Michigan, Mr. Mayor, beyond Michigan, people
in the auto industry, the fact is that the state that was saved and auto
industry that was saved by President Obama`s auto bailout, 1.45 million
people are working as it direct result of the action.

BERNERO: Exactly. No wonder Romney does want to talk about it. Of
course, because he was on the wrong side of history. It is terrible thing,
Reverend Al, isn`t it, to be on the wrong side of history but that`s where
Mitt Romney was.

In our darkest time in Michigan, when we were fighting for our very
survival and like you say it would have been way beyond Michigan because
the supply chain would have affected millions of jobs. The president
didn`t the right thing. He the courage and guts to do the right thing.
And guys like Romney were on the sidelines throwing stones.

SHARPTON: Now Joan, the bus tour that he was on, not only did he not
mention the bailout he was against, in Detroit, he conveniently avoided
Freeport, Illinois, a city hurt by Bain Capital, and close to where he was
on yesterday.

Now, it is very important because here`s something that he`s raised
himself, Bain Capital is his example as a job creator. He`s right there
next to a city of their -- close to a city that Bain was involved in and
clearly he kept going. He didn`t go and show us the results of Bain`s

WALSH: Well, right. That`s because Bain`s investment in that
technology company, Reverend Al, actually wound up costing it jobs. So it
is -- you know, if he is going to talk about creating jobs, middle class
jobs that would not a place to take us.

I think that`s an interesting point too, maybe there is a place. You
know, why doesn`t he go to place that maybe he -- he helped - he can point
to really concretely that he helped turn around when he was at Bain.
Probably because he can`t.

And I -- you know, I just think that he -- touring these cities, It is
a very lovely, bucolic old-fashioned golden age kind of imagery but it
doesn`t really pertain to the way the country lives today. And doesn`t
really help us think about how we are going to get those manufacturing jobs
back. When that`s where the president has really been outstanding.

SHARPTON: Now, Mr. Mayor, Romney said the other day on the trail,
that he spoke with someone who had to fill out a 33-page form to change his
address. Listen to this.


ROMNEY: This optometrist wanted to change his billing address. This
is so he can get reimbursement from the federal government for the services
he provides for poor and seniors. The form he gets to change addresses is
33 pages long, 33 pages long. He calls someone to ask how to fill it out.
He calls someone in the government. They tell him what to do. He sends it
in. They send it back. Wasn`t done right. Got to do it again. Another
33 pages.


SHARPTON: I mean, doesn`t this say Willard can`t even tell the truth
about little things? I mean, that`s a little outrageous.

BERNERO: Well, of course it is that. But beyond that, Reverend Al,
the guy has nothing to talk about. I mean, it is like Joan said earlier.
He has no plan, no vision, no alternative. He comes here, all he does is
bash the president, bash government and mow down on pie. I mean, give me a

He is running for president of the United States. What`s your plan,
Mitt? What`s your plan to put people back to work? We don`t need
hypocrisy. We don`t need any more trickle-down economics. I don`t know
about you, Al. We are tired of being trickled on here in Michigan. We
have had enough.

We need a government that`s going to work for working people and
that`s what President Barack Obama is trying to do. He has a Congress
working against him in every turn, throwing up hurdles and playing games.
We need the president back and we need a democratic Congress and we need
people to stand back and fight for working people.

SHARPTON: Can the president win Michigan? What`s it look like out
there, quickly, Mr. Mayor?

BERNERO: Absolutely. The president can win Michigan.

SHARPTON: What do you think, Joan?

WALSH: Yes. I think he can very -- very -- he will very likely win
Michigan. I expect him to win Michigan.

SHARPTON: Joan Walsh, Mayor Virg Bernero. And Mr. Mayor, work on
your energy next time I have you on.

Thanks for your time tonight.

We have breaking news coming up. Attorney general Eric Holder is
speaking out after his big meeting on Capitol Hill. Republicans may be
moving ahead with their vote to hold him in contempt as soon as tomorrow

Plus, you know Republicans are in trouble when they are looking to
Mitt Romney for political coverage. Why the GOP is desperately seeking
answers on immigration.

And we will dig into some revelations about a New Jersey controversy
that could threaten Chris Christie`s national ambitions. And GOP`s hopes
for 2016.

You are looking at "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Breaking news, according to the Egyptian news service,
Middle East news service, Hosni Mubarak is clinically dead. We will update
this story as we learn more.

Of course, Mubarak served as president of Egypt, 30 years. And
earlier this month, was sentenced to life in prison.


SHARPTON: We are back with Republicans reeling and on the defense
after President Obama`s big immigration decision. They are boxed in. They
are losing on this issue. They have no idea what to say about it. And you
know it is bad when they are passing the buck to Willard Romney.


interested in learning what governor Romney has to say about this issue.
We are going to see what governor Romney has to say. He`s the leader of
our party from now until November and we hope beyond.


SHARPTON: Folks, I can smell the desperation from here. And we you a
degree. We would all like to know what Mitt Romney thinks about President
Obama`s new immigration policy.

Willard, the ball is in your court.


ROMNEY: What I can tell is that those people who come here by virtue
of their parents bringing them here, who come in illegally, that`s
something I don`t want to football with as a political matter.


SHARPTON: Something I don`t want to football with? What does that
even mean? How about Senator Marco Rubio, what do you make of the


SEN. MARCO RUBIO (R), FLORIDA: It feels weird to deport a
valedictorian that has been here since they were 4-years-old and have done
well in school. So, trying to find the balance there, that`s important.
What the president did by ignoring the constitution, ignoring the Congress
makes it harder to find that balance.


SHARPTON: Actually, the only weird thing is that Senator Rubio kept
saying he supporting this policy until the president did.

Senator, no matter how much you would like to ignore it, the fact is
that the president beat you to the punch. So can we count on the old guard
to give us the standardized Republican response?


actions are going to make it much more difficult for us to work in a
bipartisan way, to get to a permanent solution.


SHARPTON: There it is. When all else fails, blame the president even
if it is not true. But it doesn`t look like it is going to work important
the GOP this time.

Joining me is democratic Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez from
California. And Maria Teresa Kumar, president and CEO of Voto Latino and
MSNBC contributor.

Thanks to both of you for being here.



SHARPTON: Congresswoman Sanchez, let me go to you first.

The Republicans don`t like the president`s immigration policy but
what`s their policy? I mean, is there one?

SANCHEZ: Well, their policy has been to do nothing for immigration.
Their policy has been and, in fact, sitting on the homeland security
committee. Their policy and their efforts have said hey, listen. If you
fortify the border, if you charge companies who are misusing the system, if
you deport people, if you get rid of criminal aliens and you deport them,
once you do all of these things, then we will talk to you about some sort
of comprehensive immigration reform.

Well, guess what? The president worked on fortifying the border. The
president worked on deporting people. The president worked on going after
criminals. He has done everything that they have said is important before
getting to this issue of what do we do with the people who are already
here? Guess what, these kids through no fault of their own are here. They
are great. They are great. They have been working hard and this country
needs them.

So, I say kudos to the president for saying hey, it is time that we
take care of the rest of the situation.

SHARPTON: Now, Maria, the Republicans were for the dream act before
they were against it. Take a look at this.

August of 2001, the dream act was a bipartisan bill.

March of 2009, it was re-introduced by several Republicans and
Democrats. Bipartisan.

July 2010, another bipartisan version was even approved by the
Republican controlled synergy -- Judiciary Committee.

May of 2011. Several Republican who had previously supported the bill,
withheld their support.

Is this all just partisan politics? How do you have a consistent
pattern of support here, Maria, and now all of a sudden they are all
opposed to it because President Obama was the one to push for it.

KUMAR: That`s right, Reverend. What basically what the president did
was call the Republicans` bluff saying you keep saying you want go ahead
and introduce the dream act, recognize them you keep falling short. Where
I want to do is provide temporary relief because again, this is not ideal.
It is dream acolyte. But it is not ideal. But he threw it back in a
Congress and saying now it is up to you to do something.

The fact that Speaker Boehner has said today that what he - that the
president was trying to create a political atmosphere, that`s nonsense.
Immigration policy, whether it is the dream act of comprehensive
immigration reform is excellent policy for the American people. Because it
provides, one, get people out of the shadows and ensures make sure
everybody is getting paid fairly. It is important for national security.
I want him to be able to know who is living in my neighborhood as do the
rest of the American public.

So, what right now is happening is that President Obama called the
Republicans` bluff. Saying OK, you want immigration reform, I will provide
temporary relief. I`m throwing it back to so Congress can permanently fix

SHARPTON: Now, and it is clear that the American people agree with
you because in a Bloomberg poll, 64 percent approved of the policy, 30
percent disapproved. And clearly, the American people are with the
president on this, Maria.

But Congresswoman, let`s talk a minute about another poll on Latino
enthusiasm. In five battleground states, Florida, Virginia, Nevada,
Colorado, Arizona, Latino voters were questioned on whether new policy
makes them more or less enthusiastic about the president. More
enthusiastic, 49 percent. Less enthusiastic, 14 percent. No effect, 34

What are you getting out there? Is this poll right as enthusiasm gone
up for the president because of this move?

SANCHEZ: People are very excited about this move. People are very
excited to see these young people who have worked so hard, who are needed
by our country to be able to stay here and to go to work and to help solve
some of our problems. So there is a real excitement in the Latino

Actually, there is a real excitement in those people not just Latinos
but those people who work with Latinos` people, who are used to living with
Latinos. They are just as excited because they understand that these young
people have a lot to give to this nation and that we really need to move
along the whole spectrum of getting to real immigration reform.

And this is one of the first positive steps towards going that way.
So back home in California, they are excited. I was -- I was looking at a
poll from Arizona where they say the president is getting very close.

SHARPTON: Very interesting poll. I`m glad you brought that up.

SANCHEZ: Exactly.

SHARPTON: Very interesting poll. In Arizona, the Willard Mitt Romney
leads 49 percent to 46 percent. That`s within the polls` 3.5 percentage
point margin of error.

In Arizona, Maria, is only gone to a Democratic presidential
candidate, only once since 1952. This is very interesting.

KUMAR: And your viewers may forget that actually Obama almost beat
McCain in Arizona.

Now, with this new piece of legislation that executive order the
president came out, what he is going to do is he is going to galvanize, not
just Latino voters in Arizona, but he`s also going to galvanize the
supporters of Arizona saying, you know what, this is a shot we have been
waiting for Mr. President for you to stand up and have leadership.

People forget that Russell Pierce, the one who basically create
crafted Arizona sb1070, the anti-immigrant racial profiling law was
actually ousted this past October because of the mobilization of
immigration groups.

SHARPTON: I`m going to have to go. It is exciting, isn`t it?

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez and Maria Teresa Kumar, thanks for your
time tonight.

KUMAR: Thank you, Reverend.

SANCHEZ: Thank you, Revered.

SHARPTON: Still ahead.

Breaking news from Capitol Hill. It appears Republicans will be
voting tomorrow to hold the attorney general of the United States in
contempt of Congress.

We will have Eric Holder`s reaction coming up.


SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out on facebook?

The conversation is going on all day long. How fans have a lot to say
today about Darrell Issa`s threat to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in
contempt of Congress.

Ken wants Democrats to step up, quote, "every Democrat should put
their full support behind Holder and tell the Republicans to stop this
witch-hunt now." He`s right.

We want to hear what you think, too. Head over to facebook and search
"Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going
long after the show ends.


SHARPTON: We are back with breaking news. Republicans may be moving
ahead with an initial vote tomorrow to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in
contempt of Congress. It is all about whether the Justice Department has
handed over to Republicans in Congress enough documents about the failed,
"Fast and Furious" gun walker program. It is a dramatic escalation of a
campaign that began before Holder even took office. Just moments ago,
Holder wrapped up his meeting with the republican who has been leading that
campaign, Congressman Darrell Issa. Holder ordered to hold a briefing
about turning over more documents related to the "Fast and Furious"
program. Issa rejected that offer.


ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: The ball is in their court. They
rejected what I thought was an extraordinary offer on our part. They have,
I guess, until they decide -- they have the ability to change their minds.
But -- as I said, we -- we made, I thought was an extraordinary offer. And
indicated to them that these materials have been accumulated and they are -
- for distribution to them. We will make, as I said, somebody available to
brief on them and we will answer questions connected to them.


SHARPTON: Here`s Issa from Maryland.


That`s Elijah Cummings. That is not Mr. Issa. Republicans, we are
going to pull up Issa for you but Republicans have held several hearings on
the so-called gun walking program even though it was cooked up by the Bush
administration and shutdown by Holder. Despite all of that, Republicans
are still moving towards a contempt vote at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning.

Joining me now is democratic Congressman Adam Schiff of California.
He`s a former federal prosecutor who has been outspoken in Holder`s
defense. Thank you for being here, Congressman Schiff.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D), CALIFORNIA: You bet. Pleasure to join you.

SHARPTON: Now, Congressman, do you think Republicans will definitely
go ahead with this contempt vote?

SCHIFF: Well, unfortunately, I think they definitely will. And I
think that`s been the game plan all along. I wish I could say otherwise
but this looks like really a completely political exercise. In the
beginning, the committee was demanding grand jury materials, wiretap
application materials that the Justice Department was legally precluded
from providing. They had to walk back from that. But now they are
demanding information that is part of the deliberative process of the DOJ
which the DOJ has never turned over. But the Attorney General made an
extraordinary offer to do that, to provide additional extensive materials
and that -- good faith offer appears has been rejected out of hand by the

SHARPTON: Now, let me walk through this slowly because I want to make
sure that we all listening and myself included to understand. The Justice
Department has already handed over 140,000 documents. Seven six hundred
pages turned over. Eight hearings before Congress. You said that they
then requested things that the DOJ never hands over, has never handed over,
and the Attorney General even said, they were prepared to do that and even
at that, they are saying no deal.

SCHIFF: Well, that`s exactly right. You know, first they asked for
materials that legally the AG`s office is not allowed to turn over. Then
they narrowed the scope of what they`ve asked for but still asked for
materials that the Department of Justice, for good reason, hasn`t turned
over historically. That is part of the work product of the office, the
internal memoranda of the office. But the Attorney General extraordinary
steps said look, let`s not have a constitutional fight about this even
though it is the Attorney General`s view that he is on solid constitutional
ground. We will provide materials that were not obligated to, historically
we have not provided. Let`s sit down on that table and work this out. But
I think the problem here is that the committee doesn`t really want to work
this out. That the conservative base is really demanding these continuing
political attacks on the administration and they founded profitable to go
after the Attorney General if they reach an accommodation with the Attorney
General, then that, I think, is disappointing to some of the conservatives.
So --

SHARPTON: Very interesting, Congressman. You feel that the base of
the party is so extreme now that Issa no matter what the Attorney General
says, Issa has to go forward to keep his base with him?

SCHIFF: I think that`s unfortunately true. I don`t know at this
point whether Darrell Issa could walk back even if he wanted to. And in
fact, that dime may have been cast weeks ago. This is unfortunate because
it puts the legislative branch which has an important oversight function in
collision with the legislation, really in my view for no good reason except
the politics of the moment. And we ought to be thinking beyond this
moment. We ought to be thinking about what this does to the future
relationship between the two branches of government and how the subpoena
power is used and how it is you abused. But, unfortunately, here I think
it has become now completely political exercise.

SHARPTON: Now, what does it mean in layman`s term that if the
Attorney General of the United States is held in contempt? What happens?
How serious is that? What happens to the Attorney General?

SCHIFF: Well, you know, the committee will vote on the contempt
citation. It will then go to the House floor. Since the House floor is
controlled by Republicans, presumably will pass there, it then becomes a
court fight which won`t be decided any time in the next several months. So
plainly, if the committee really wanted to get the documents and wanted to
get them in a timely way, the Attorney General has offered to provide them
but it is not really about getting documents. It is about getting the
political fight at this point. And, unfortunately, I think the GOP
committee would rather have the fight than the documents. And that seems
to be the path we are headed on.

SHARPTON: So, you are telling me if they hold him in contempt, it
goes to the House where the Republicans -- in the majority, they go ahead
and hold him in contempt, this becomes a court process that will take
months when they could get the documents now since the Attorney General has
offered this so they are really trying to go through a campaign season of
being able to say the Attorney General is in contempt. They are really not
trying to get the documents on "Fast and Furious" in your judgment.

SCHIFF: I think it is really clear. If you look at the history of
the investigation, of course as you pointed out, the -- gun walking, this
tragic ill-conceived idea of gun walking began under the Bush
administration. But whenever witnesses in the hearings try to talk about
the origins of this program which was shut down by this Attorney General,
by our Attorney General, the committee didn`t want to hear that testimony.
They didn`t want to look at beyond where -- this administration where the
origins of the program began. So, it has been clear all along that the
focus was trying to score political points against the AG and against the
president. And also, it has been clear, unfortunately, and this is the
greatest strategy of all that there has been no interest in the committee
and no interest in the House in trying to make progress on the very issue
this is all about which is the massive numbers of American-made weapons
that are going into Mexico fueling the drug wars down there. And when we
could say steps to deal with that and we don`t engage in this political
circus instead, it is a real disservice to our country and its disservice
on our neighbors to the South as well.

SHARPTON: Congressman Schiff, thank you for your time tonight.

SCHIFF: Thank you.

SHARPTON: It seems to me that it is a sham and shame that the
Attorney General of the United States may be facing contempt when he`s made
this unusual unprecedented offer to turn the materials over. It also seems
to me to be the height of an insult to the American public that is facing
so many questions in a criminal justice system to put this crowd over the
Attorney General at a time that we are dealing with everything from high
crime to voter ID laws, to questions that are clearly important even life
and death questions. But some would rather play politics than to have us
move forward and deal with these issues.

I think that people ought to be real clear and we are looking at. We
had this program start under the Bush administration. It was called
operation wide receiver in 2006. It was called Hernandez case in 2007. It
was the Mendrano case in 2008. But they don`t want to talk to any of those
people. They only want to hold this Attorney General up and then hold him
in contempt even when he offers it over. You make your own conclusion.
Some of us understand the difference between politics and due process. We
will be right back after this.


SHARPTON: And explosive investigation in New Jersey has people
looking to Chris Christie for answers. That`s next.


SHARPTON: We are back on POLITICS NATION with a story developing in
New Jersey that`s raising all kinds of questions for Chris Christie. The
governor is in the news today as rumors swirled that he could deliver the
keynote address at the republican convention. But he`s also in the news
for another reason. A "New York Times" investigation into the New Jersey
halfway house system reveals lucrative business growing more and more
dangerous. Christie has been a staunch supporter of community education
centers, CEC. The company dominates the state`s halfway houses. But it
might not be so innocent. Meet Paul Palatucci, he`s senior vice president
and general counsel for community education centers. He`s also one of
Christie`s closest friends and Christie`s former legal partner. Palatucci
has been called quote, "The most powerful nonelected official in New Jersey
and now there are questions about the cost of that friendship."

Since Christie took office, the New Jersey Department of Corrections
has paid CEC $71 million to put up inmates in the halfway houses. That`s
22 percent more than what the CEC got from Christie`s predecessor. And for
less work. There are 11 percent fewer beds under contract now. But it is
not just about the money. There is a human cost, too. This story, two
years ago, a 21-year-old woman was killed by her ex-boyfriend. His name
was David Goodell. Goodell was on parole at one of CEC`s halfway houses.
But managed to escape one night. Hours later, he strangled a woman to
death. Two years later and no investigation, nothing has been done. So,
how could this impact Christie`s political future?

Joining me now is Zachary Carter, former U.S. attorney for the eastern
district of New York. He`s now partner with the law firm of Dorsey and
Whitney. And Steve Kornacki, political columnist for and MSNBC
political analyst. He has been writing about the story this week. Calling
it Chris Christie`s Willie Horton problem. Thanks for both of you for
being here tonight.

Zach, let me start with you. It has been two years since that young
woman was murdered but there has been no formal investigation into the
halfway house to see what happens. Doesn`t that seem strange to you?

ZACHARY CARTER, FORMER U.S. ATTORNEY: Well, what seems more strange
is that there have been hundreds of escapes, if not thousands of escapes,
from these privately run halfway houses. And those have not seem to have
attracted a comprehensive investigation by anyone who is in a position to
take corrective action.

SHARPTON: Now, we checked this out. There have been 1300 escapes
since Christie took office. And nearly 100 inmates are still at large from
these facilities. How do we explain these kinds of escapes, people at
large, and this company still is getting all the state money?

CARTER: Well, I mean, part of it is a philosophical issue that with
large is kind of insinuated into the national debate that we have now. And
that is, what is the proper role of government. Where -- what are the
things that government does best and what are the things private industry
does best? And this kind of exposes that fault line because now a service
that implicates public safety in a life and death way as demonstrate by the
case involving the tragic deaths of this woman has been entrusted to a
private company with a profit motive. And -- at least in my view where
public safety at this level is involved, there shouldn`t be any compromise
in the quality of the services that are provided. Both with respect to
security and safety and the screening of personnel, screening of inmates to
determine whether or not it is appropriate for them to be in a halfway
house in the first place. And there certainly shouldn`t be the distraction
of trying to reach some profit margin goal as opposed to investing every
dime they received from the state in making sure that they have the highest
quality facilities.

SHARPTON: Steve, how did this catch your eye? Why did this catch
your eye? And why would you call this the Willie Horton for Chris

STEVE KORNACKI, SALON.COM: Well, it is such a -- from some sort of a
systemic standpoint it is very disturbing, you know, all the details that
are raised in the story. But that`s such a powerful and damning anecdote
about this particular case where have you this guy, you pass in the system,
you faked sickness, got to a hospital, escaped, went out and killed a
woman. And what`s really kind of galling about it is like, you say, this
is was a couple of years ago. The administration, the crazy administration
basically made assurances at the time, there will be consequences for this,
policy standpoint, and there`s basically has been nothing. There has not
been a big follow-up to this. And you look at Christie.

SHARPTON: They promised there would be and has nothing.

KORNACKI: There has nothing. The state parole board basically said,
we conducted a review. They`re asked by "The New York Times," OK, can we
look at the review? They said, well, it is in not an actual document. The
company itself, community education that runs these things said, well, you
know, we conducted our own internal review, what a surprise, they
exonerated themselves. That`s basically where they stand two years later.
And, you know, Christie himself -- you want to talk about the politics of
this stuff. Christie himself showed how this is done because there is a
couple of years ago, there was a legislator in New Jersey who passed an
early release program. Somebody threw through that early release program
went out and committed a murder and Christie called the legislator out by
name and he said that the murder is on her conscience. So, in that
situation, if he is willing to throw out a charge like that, in a situation
like this, there is a lot going on here. But this is a guy at the top
spent two years -- starts to get -- raise the same point about him.

SHARPTON: Zach, beyond even politics, and that is certainly serious
questions that Steve is raising, the fact that these people are going back
into poor communities that already have high crime, would -- kinds of
facilities that seem to not be able to secure them -- if you have 1,300
people escaping, I mean, doesn`t this increase the danger while people like
Christie are running around talking about let`s be hard on crime?

CARTER: Well, the two things that don`t seem to be accomplished by
this company, they are not securing these interests.


CARTER: But also, they`re not rehabilitating them. Because generally
speaking, these are people who have been released from prison to a halfway
house. These are people who are within weeks of being returned home. The
incentive to flee shouldn`t be that great. If they are quality programs,
you would expect that people would stay and submit to those programs. Now,
people are always going to take advantage of them from time to time. And
that`s where you have to have quality supervision.

SHARPTON: And there`s even danger in this halfway house when you talk
about quality supervision.

CARTER: Correct. According to The Times reporting, the supervisors
that is the personnel, or at least as much of a problem as the inmates and
parolees. I mean, it is -- one of the anecdotes that`s reported is --

SHARPTON: Yes. Report sexual assault by prisoners and guards, gang
activity, ramping illegal drug use.

CARTER: And drug sales.

SHARPTON: And drug sales. Steve, how close when we say that this is
the closest trends, what is the connection of the person, the executive of
this firm, Palatucci and Governor Christie?

KORNACKI: Chris Christie would not be the governor of New Jersey and
would not be mentioned as a national political figure if it was not for his
friendship with Bill Palatucci.


KORNACKI: About a decade ago, Chris Christie was lost politically,
he`d had a promising career in New Jersey, he got thrown out by the voters
in his home county. And he was basically a political joke in New Jersey.
Bill Palatucci`s friend was tied into the world of the Bush`s family. And
George W. Bush was getting ready to run for President in 2000. Palatucci
set out to raise money for him and to recruit people to raise money. And
he recruited Chris Christie. Chris Christie became a very politic Bush
fundraiser. He got into the Bush family network. And when Bush became
president in 2001, the story has it that Bill Palatucci basically went to
the Bushes and said, here is your next U.S. Attorney for New Jersey. And
that`s how Chris Christie, he was a washed-up politician --

SHARPTON: So, he helped get him in the appointment as U.S. Attorney.

KORNACKI: And that`s how Chris Christie became the U.S. Attorney and
he wouldn`t be governor if he had never been U.S. Attorney.

SHARPTON: We`ll talk a lot about this in -- coming days. Zachary
Carter and Steve Kornacki, thanks to both of you for your time.


SHARPTON: It used to be the party of Lincoln. A big tent party. The
compassionate conservative. Today more evidence, it is now a party of
mean. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Day after day, and week after week, the question keeps
growing. How did the Republican Party get so mean? It is the party of
Lincoln. It used to be the big tent party. In 2000, George W. Bush sold
himself to the American people on the image of compassionate conservatism.


FMR. PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), UNITED STATES: Technology, education,
and ambition. On the other side of that wall, poverty and prison,
addiction and despair. And my fellow Americans, we must tear down that
wall. This is what I mean by compassionate conservatism. And on this
ground, we will lead our nation.


SHARPTON: Didn`t quite work out that way but can you imagine a
republican even trying to run that way today? Today, the party is allergic
to the word compassion. As it is, to the word compromise. Take one of the
new faces of the Tea Party. Indiana Senate candidate Richard Murdoch. He
says, businesses should be allowed to deny employees` health care coverage
if they have cancer. Quote, "Does that employer have the right to do it?
I would say yes they do if they want to keep their health care costs down."
He quickly tried backtracking even arguing companies would want to offer
the best coverage to get the best employees. The fact is Murdoch said what
he said. This is how the right wing fringe are thinking these days.
Remember this is the same guy who said this.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I certainly think that bipartisanship ought to
consist of Democrats coming to the republican point of view.
Bipartisanship means they have to come our way.


SHARPTON: When you have Wisconsin republic Senate candidate Eric
Hovde. He says, he`s tired of hearing sub stories about poor people.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I see a reporter here -- stop writing about oh, the
person couldn`t get, you know, their food stamps or this or that. You
know, I saw something the other day that you just -- you know, it is like -
- another sub story. What about what`s happening to the country?


SHARPTON: He doesn`t want to hear about the people not able to get
food stamps. How did we get to this point? Politics should be about how
we have the best policies because we care the most. We should be competing
about who has the most care for people. Not who can be the meanest to

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


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