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PoliticsNation, Thursday, Junly 12, 2012

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

Guests: Eugene Robinson, Joe Madison; Neera Tanden; Callum Borchers, Nia-Malika Henderson,
Bob Franken, Wendy Murphy

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

Tonight`s lead, an explosive new report is raising new questions about
Mitt Romney`s credibility. It all centers on his time at Bain Capital.
Romney claims he left the firm in early 1999 before some of the worst
bankruptcies by Bain-owned companies. Yet, a front page story in today`s
"Boston Globe" undermines that claim saying Romney maintained a role at the
company three years longer than he`s been saying. If you follow the paper
trail highlighted by "the Globe," it raises serious doubts about Romney`s
version of events.

In 2000, a year he supposedly left the firm which he`d founded, Mr.
Romney submitted paper work with the security exchange commission listing
himself as the CEO and president of Bain. In 2001, his SEC filing said the
same thing. And his disclosure forms for 2002 show he was paid over
$100,000 as quote, "executive" at Bain Capital. He signed these forms

Now, why does all this matter? First it`s a question of character.
We have to ask if Romney is distorting the truth about his own record.
Second, it undercuts his main defense against attacks on his time at Bain.
That he wasn`t working there when the company made some of the worst


Governor Romney at Bain Capital closed down a steel factory. But their
problem, of course, is that the steel factory closed down two years after I
left Bain Capital. I was no longer there. So that`s hardly something
which is on my watch.


SHARPTON: But these documents show it was on Romney`s watch. He was
getting paid over $100,000 as the president and CEO of Bain Capital while
it was shutting down companies and ruing lives. That includes 258 jobs
lost at AMPAD in 2000. The 750 jobs lost at GS Industries in 2001. And
the 1700 jobs lost at Dade Behring by the time it declared bankruptcy in

These are the voices we`ve heard on this show. I`ve talked to people
who worked at these companies. I heard their stories about being taken
over and taken apart by Mitt Romney`s Bain Capital.


back at reduced wages and no benefits to speak of. Our retirement was
gone. We had to pay more for health care. We got prone on 12-hour shifts.
It was just terrible conditions.

horrific way to treat people. I would hope that our president would not be
trying to create wealth for an elite group of individuals, but would in
fact they be looking out for the best interest of all Americans.


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Callum Borchers, a Boston globe political
correspondent who helped to write this key article, and Eugene Robinson,
Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the "Washington Post" and an MSNBC
political analyst.

Callum, let me start with you. The Romney campaign put out a
statement today about your reporting. They said quote, "this article is
not accurate. Governor Romney left Bain Capital in February of 1999 to run
the Olympics and had no input on investments or management of companies
after that point." What`s your response to that statement?

sticking to their party line that they`ve gone with all along, Al. So far
they haven`t disputed the factual information in the article. I think
that`s important to note.

You know, the documents say what they say and the Romney campaign
isn`t disputing that. Essentially, what they`re disputing is the
conclusions drawn by some folks in our article which suggests that, you
know, it`s hard to believe for many folks that Romney held these titles.
As you noted, continued to draw a paycheck as an executive, remained the
sole owner of Bain Capital, and planned to return after running the
Olympics. And yet, he says, he played no role in their investments during
that period. That`s really what the Romney folks seem to take issue with.

SHARPTON: Gene, when you read the article and you have a former SEC
commissioner saying and I`m reading the quote, "it doesn`t make a whole lot
of sense to say he was technically in charge on paper but had nothing to do
with the operation."

Are you telling me he owns a company but had no say in the
investments? I mean, that`s a little hard to believe if he owned a
company, was getting paid, but had nothing to do with any of the
investments and what was going on with the company.

if you step back, there are really only two possibilities here. Either a
lie is being told now, or a lie was told to the SEC in all those filings.
And it is not a technicality who runs a company especially when you`re
talking to the SEC. This is a key piece of information that you have a
responsibility, a legal responsibility to get right.

So, they can`t both be true. He can`t have been telling the truth
both in those filings and now about his role with Bain Capital. It`s just
not possible.

SHARPTON: Well, in fact, the Obama campaign strategist Stephanie
Cutter slamming Romney on a conference call today. Let me show you what
Cutter said exactly on that point, Eugene.


through his own words and his own signature was misrepresenting his
position at Bain to the SEC which is a felony, or he was misrepresenting
his position at Bain to the American people.


SHARPTON: Callum, was he lying then or is he lying now?

BORCHERS: It`s a good question, Al. There`s really not a firm answer
to that. One thing I can tell you though, it`s a footnote in history that
goes forgotten. But when are Mitt Romney ran for governor in Massachusetts
in 2002, there was a dispute whether he was even eligible to run because
he`d been living and working in Utah for the past couple years. And one of
his defenses before the state ballot commissioner at that time was that he
took a leave of absence, not a retirement, not a resignation from Bain
Capital. That`s his words. He said leave of absence. And he added that
he had intended to return after the Olympics. That did not happen. But as
you noted, it`s sort of can`t have it both ways type of situation.

SHARPTON: Now, it`s very interesting, Gene, because if you have the
candidate, all these technical points in terms of business may be a little
boring to a lot of people including me, but when you have a candidate now
that either misled the SEC or is misleading us now. And then when he went
to establish why he could qualify to run for governor, he`s either
misleading them then or misleading us now. You`re starting to see a
pattern here that is disturbing if you`re talking about somebody running
for president of the United States.

ROBINSON: Well, if you`re talking about the pattern, what it looks
like is being highly selective about which facts you choose to highlight at
any given time. You know, if you look at the bigger picture, though, this
is going to continue to be a problem I think for the Romney campaign, the
complexity and the exotic nature of his personal finances and his history
at Bain.

And so, he says he left but he was still CEO and chairman, and I
believe obviously informed as to what the company was doing. How can you
have that both ways? The offshore accounts and companies in Bermuda and
the Cayman Islands, the now closed Swiss bank account, all those things may
have made sense at the time and looked a certain way at the time. They can
look in a completely different light when running for president. And, you
know, I think there`s going to be more of this kind of revelation as the
campaign goes on.

SHARPTON: Now, Callum, when you look at the fact that Bain Capital
put this statement out. Mitt Romney left Bain Capital in February 1999 to
run the Olympics and has had absolutely no involvement with the management
or investment activities of the firm. If that is true, that means he
misled the SEC in the forms of 1999 and 2000 and 2001. And it also means
he mislead people when he was establishing why he was qualified to run for
governor of Massachusetts.

BORCHERS: That`s the way a lot of people feel, Al. It`s important to
understand that Bain`s contention is in the phrase that they`ve used is
legacy signatory issues. In other words, there were some Bain Capital
entities created before February of `99. And their contention is these
existed after Mitt Romney left. He was in charge. And it was more
convenient rather than restructuring the management on those business
entities to just to ask Mitt Romney to sign those documents. And they say
that`s why his name continues to appear on certain documents appearing as
the man in charge even though in a practical sense, he was not in charge.

The problem with that argument, though Al, is that we found the SEC
documents, there are reference to five different business entities that are
under his control. And those five weren`t created until January of 2002.
So the legacy signatory issues argument could not apply to those five.

SHARPTON: Eugene, your response to that? Five companies that didn`t
even exist to 2002 and they would be -- they were under his management.
How could that be if he was not there?

ROBINSON: Well, I personally think the answer is that he never really
left. You know, he may have left in a technical sense, but he never really
left. I mean, here`s my question. Why would you sign your name to
documents with the SEC that you know are false? Why would you take
responsibility before the SEC for things that a company might do if you
were not in fact running that company? That`s a foolish thing to do.

SHARPTON: Well, let`s look at the fact that the "Boston Herald"
article posted in February `99. This was the day after he took over the
Olympics and supposedly left Bain. They said quote, "Romney said he will
stay on as a part-timer with Bain, providing input on investment and key
personnel decisions. But he will leave running day-to-day operations to
Bain`s executive committee."

So, he himself said he was staying on part-time. And the reason all
this is important is Romney said that we should judge him by what he does
at Bain. He defended his record at Bain and he says this is why voters
should trust him to fix the economy. Let me show it so people will feel
I`m not misquoting Mr. Romney.


ROMNEY: Twenty five years in business including business with other
nations, competing with companies across the world has given me an
understanding of what it is that makes America a good place to grow and add
jobs. Someone who spent their career in the economy is more suited to help
fix the economy than someone who spent his life in politics and as a
community organizer.


SHARPTON: So Gene, if he spent his life in business, he was not a
community organizer, yet we find he says he either is telling falsehood to
the SEC and was just signing off on business that he had no knowledge of or
in fact he was in charge and was losing jobs and was bankrupting companies,
this is what he told us to judge him on. Don`t judge me as governor.
Don`t judge me in the Olympics. Judge me at Bain. And when we go to Bain,
he gets a little pain.

ROBINSON: Well, you know, I just think that all of us basically need
to take responsibility for what we sign our names to. And he, in fact,
signed his name as CEO and chairman of Bain during this period where he now
wants to say I had nothing to do with the company. Those two things can`t
both be true.

SHARPTON: Well, I think he`s going to have a lot to continue to

Callum Borchers and Eugene Robinson, thank you for coming on the show
tonight. We are certainly going to keep watching the story.

BORCHERS: My pleasure, Al.

ROBINSON: Great to be here.

SHARPTON: Ahead, remember when I said Romney wanted to get booed at
the NAACP speech? He proved me right. The free stuff controversy is
coming up.

Plus, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney gave us a lot of firsts. Tonight
we have another one. But somebody was hoping we wouldn`t notice.

And an investigation into the Penn State sex scandal accuses the
legendary coach and top officials of a massive cover up. Will we see

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out on facebook? Today, our
fans had a lot to say about Romney`s free stuff comments.

Sue says he assumes that all most black folks care about is free
stuff, insulting, but not shocking coming from him. I know exactly how he
feels about me and folks like me.

We want to know 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`re back with more on the fallout over Willard Mitt
Romney`s NAACP speech.

Last night I mentioned he wanted to get booed in front of that crowd.
And hours later he confirmed it. In Montana he told donors quote, "I hope
people understand this. Your friends who like Obama care, you remind them
of this. If they want more stuff from the government, tell them to vote
for the other guy. More free stuff. But don`t forget nothing is really

Free stuff. You mean stuff for common people like food stamps, stuff
like health care, stuff like student loans. This comment cuts to the core
of who Mitt Romney really is. Mr. one percent. Mr. VIP. The great Mitt`s
be. And we have heard this before.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know what would make me happy, free birth

ROMNEY: If you`re looking for free stuff, if you are looking for free
stuff you don`t have to pay for, vote for the other guy. That`s not what
I`m about, OK. That`s not - that`s not what I`m about.

We`ve encouraged young people take a shot. Go for it. Take a risk.
Get the education. Borrow money if you have to from your parents. Start a

I`m not going to promise you all sorts of free stuff. It doesn`t take
a leader to promise giveaways. It takes a leader to ask for sacrifice and
really lead.


SHARPTON: But sometimes Willard just loves free stuff like millions
for defense, like huge tax breaks for big oil. And that Paul Ryan budget
plan that takes millions from the poor for a giveaway to the rich.

Joining me now is Joe Madison, nationally syndicating radio host of
"Mornings with Madison" and Neera Tanden, president of the Center for
American Progress.

Thank you both for being here tonight.


with you.

SHARPTON: Joe, what message is he sending with this free stuff
comment hours after that speech?

MADISON: That poor people, the working poor are shiftless, lazy,
beggars. Not the people who work like in Houston, Texas, where maybe he
should have stopped off and met with the janitors that clean 90 bathrooms
in a five-hour period and only get paid $8 and some cents an hour. And
JPMorgan only wants to give them 50 cents extra hour over a ten-year
period. That`s who he`s talking about. Then, of course, if we bring this
up on our side, it`s class warfare.

But what they forget, Reverend Sharpton, is that many people`s Social
Security, Medicaid, Medicare, many of these programs, we`ve paid taxes.
We`ve paid into these programs and gee, how about Wall Street and the free
money they got at the end of the Bush administration?

SHARPTON: Well, let me go to you Neera, because I think progress
crunched the numbers on Romney`s tax plan and found it would raise taxes
for more than two million African-American working families since he was at
NAACP while giving tax of $250,000 tax cuts to millionaires. So, we`re
talking about giveaways, we`re going to give to the rich and take from the
poor and then accuse the poor on top of that of wanting free stuff and

TANDEN: I mean, I just want to agree with Joe Madison about this. I
think the question is who does this government work for? And each time
that question has been posed to Mitt Romney it`s clear whether it`s his
fund raiser at the Hampton last week or fundraiser video with Dick Cheney
or his actual policies that matter most, he believes the government should
work for the wealthiest and well established and people who are connected
in the political process.

I mean, the fact is that his policies are actually worse than the Bush
administration. He`s calling for a 20 percent across the board tax cut
that would provide millions upon millions of tax breaks to the people who
have done the best in this economy, the wealthiest well connected. And not
any support -- in fact, you noted think progress who works - is part of the
Center for American Progress, has found out that it was $2 million -- 2.2
million people who would be affected, African-American people who would be
affected by a tax increase by Mitt Romney. And so --

SHARPTON: While he`s giving a tax cut to millionaires.

TANDEN: And I think the issue is here who does he stand with, middle
class folks, people who are struggling, people who are the backbone of this
economy who actually provide - who are the reasons we have growth, or the
wealthiest Americans?

And in this economy, the wealthiest Americans don`t need hand up, they
don`t need help, they don`t need support, they don`t need more corporate
tax break.


TANDEN: They need to be part of a fair share, meaning more
responsibility. And that`s why it`s so important that the president this
week talked about fair taxes, taxes where everyone pays their fair share.
And that is a huge difference between Mitt Romney and President Obama.

SHARPTON: Now, Joe, Rush Limbaugh says Romney was booed because he
was white. Listen to this.


confident they`ll boo Romney simply because Romney`s white. He`s confident
of that. So Romney takes advantage of the occasion. He goes there and
makes a speech that is, really, I think over these people`s heads in the
sense his audience was much larger than just inside the convention.


SHARPTON: Now, I want your response to that, but three things I get
from this. One he was booed because he was white. So I guess Joe Biden
and other speakers are not white. Second, he was talking over their heads,
whatever that means. And talking to a wider audience which may mean that
Rush and I agree for once, that he wasn`t really there to talk to those
people. He was really there to use them as a back board to talk to some
other people, Joe.

MADISON: Well, let -- you`re right on three. I`m with you on that
one. That speech was not written for that audience or the intended
audience the NAACP leadership represents. You know. I served on that
board for 14 years. I watched Ronald Reagan come through there. I watched
both Bushes come through there. I watched Dukakis come through there,
Clinton come through there. They`ve been applauded. Ross Perot was even
taken down in Nashville.


MADISON: But here`s what`s crazy about what he said. When he was
introduced, he was white when he walked across the stage and got applause.
And he was white when he finished and got a standing ovation. What you
know what really bothers me in that is how hypocritical the other side is.
Nobody yesterday or today accused Rush Limbaugh of playing the race card.


MADISON: If that had been the two of us on our radio show or your TV
show also, we would have gotten e-mails, facebook comments, tweets and
everything else saying we were playing the race card.

This man not only plays the race card, he sits there and shuffles the
deck and then tries to somehow suggest that the speech was over everybody`s
head, not recognizing that these are intelligent leaders in the
communities. These aren`t just delegates who are coming there for a
vacation. These people represent communities across this country. They are
leaders, they are ministers, they are educated. And once again, it`s Rush
Limbaugh at his worst playing the race card.

And you know what? I`m glad he said it, but here`s the other final
thing. Not one Republican leader has denounced once again anything that
Limbaugh said.

SHARPTON: Neera, let me ask you this. Romney himself went on FOX
after the speech and he said he expected to get booed. Let me let you hear
what he said.


ROMNEY: I think we expected that, of course. But I`m going to give
the same message to the NAACP that I give across the country which is that
Obama care is killing jobs and if jobs is the priority, then we`re going to
have to replace Obama care.

I spoke with a number of African-American leaders after the event and
they said, you know, a lot of folks don`t want to say they`re not going to
be voting for Barack Obama, but they`re disappointed in his lack of
policies to improve our schools, disappointed in urban policy, disappointed
in the economy.


SHARPTON: Now Neera, he said that he expected to get booed. He went
in and attacked the president`s affordable care act calling it Obama care.
I mean, he really baited to get booed and said he expected going in.
People like me think that was part of the strategy.

TANDEN: Well, look. I mean, to attack Obama care which -- and use
that term is very lewd, but obviously the affordable care act is going to
ensure that millions of Americans, millions of Americans who happen to be
white, who happen to be black, who happen to be Latino, happen to be Asian
are going to have affordable care.

And the irony of this entire system id that or this entire discussion
is that Mitt Romney has turned himself into a pretzel on the issue of
health care. He was supportive of health care when he was, you know, he
was supportive of this plan when he was governor in a progressive state,
Massachusetts, and now he has turned himself as the largest opponent of the
affordable care act even though it`s the same thing he proposed.

SHARPTON: And it was based on the same premise. I`m going to have to
leave it --

TANDEN: It`s the same thing. I think this is a level of cynicism to
just turn on everything you belief in order to win an election.

SHARPTON: OK. Cynicism or opportunism, but we will see.

Joe, Neera, thank you both for your time.

MADISON: Thank you. Anytime.

SHARPTON: Coming up, vice president fired up the NAACP crowd today
talking about the fight for the heart and soul of America.

And something is happening tonight at Dick Cheney`s house in Wyoming
that`s never happened before, and it involves Mitt Romney.


SHARPTON: Mitt Romney has managed to win his party`s nomination
without appearing in public with two major figures in the party. George
Bush and Dick Cheney. That`s about to change though. The former vice
president is hosting a fund raiser for Willard in Wyoming tonight. It
begins at a swanky country club with a golf course designed by Arnold
Palmer. I bet it has a lot of quiet rooms.

Then supporters can pay $30,000 to hang out at Cheney`s house. It`ll
be Romney`s first appearance with Dick Cheney on the campaign trail. He
still hasn`t appeared with Bush. Remember the endorsement that President
Bush gave Romney? He said, I`m for Mitt Romney as the elevator doors
closed on him. No fun fair. No speeches.

Romney apparently doesn`t want any public connection with Bush except
he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts indefinitely. He`s asked Bush
advisers to shape his economy policies. Seventeen of his National Security
advisers worked for Bush. And let`s not forget what a spokeswoman for the
Republican National Committee said about Romney`s agenda.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It`s less government spending. It`s lowering
taxes so small businesses can grow.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: How different is that concept from what was -- what
were the policies of the Bush administration?

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I think it`s that program, just updated.


SHARPTON: The Bush program just updated. Romney would give us more
deficits, more inequality, and maybe even more wars. In other words, more
of what we got from his buddy Dick Cheney. Out there in Wyoming. Did
Romney think we`d buy his act that he barely knows these guys? Nice try,
but we got you.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. What a difference a day
makes. Vice President Joe Biden was in Texas today speaking to the NAACP
one day after Mitt Romney`s speech to the same group. The Vice President
painted a picture of how our country would change if Romney were to win in


VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: He proposes a $1.6 trillion
tax cut. The people who can qualify are only people who make a million
dollars or more. He eliminates college tuition tax credit. The earned
income tax credit. And the child tax credits are cut. The result? 2.2
million African-American working families will see a tax increase if he
succeeds. The governor isn`t sure what his position is on the violence
against women act.

He`s not sure whether or not Lilly Ledbetter law that passed was good.
But he is certain on what his position is on Roe V. Wade. Overturn it.
Planned Parenthood, get rid of it. Imagine what the Romney Justice
Department will look like. Imagine the recommendations for who is likely
to be picked as Attorney General and the head of the civil rights division.

Imagine what the Supreme Court will look like after four years of a
Romney presidency. This election, in my view, is a fight for the heart and
soul of America.


As President Barack Obama says, we are our brother`s keeper. We are
our sister`s keeper. We have an obligation.



SHARPTON: Joining me now is Nia-Malika Henderson, national political
reporter for The Washington Post. And Bob Franken, King Features
syndicated columnist. Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Nia-Malika, let me start with you. That was very tough
attack from Vice President Biden. What do you make of it?

HENDERSON: That`s right. It was a tough attack. And let`s face it.
This is what a vice president is supposed to do in campaign season.
They`re supposed to go after the candidate and obviously Romney`s got to
figure out who his vice president is going to be. They`ll likely take the
same role. But what he did was he laid out what George Bush used to call
the vision thing. The vision that Barack Obama is laying out for this
country which Biden says is very different other than the vision of that
Mitt Romney is laying out for this country.

Remember that Barack Obama`s running on this idea of forward movement
of progress. And they are trying obviously to link Mitt Romney to the past
to less a progressive policies. He talked about what`s the Justice
Department that would exist under the Mitt Romney presidency. And he
obviously knows this audience. He`s someone who`s a friend of the NAACP
and he was speaking to their concerns. Following up in large measure on
what Attorney General Eric Holder said talking about these voting rights
laws, these voter ID laws that are cropping up in dozens of states across
the country.

So, then that`s why you saw that he had one big Amen corner in that
audience there and they were booing at the end because they didn`t want
him to leave the stage. Very different from what we saw from Mitt Romney.

SHARPTON: What do you make of it, Bob?

FRANKEN: Well, first of all, besides the voting rights part of it,
what I was intrigued by was how this was a message that could have been
delivered to the NAACP, it could have been delivered to any group of people
in the middle or less than middle classes who have been exploited by the
current economic situation. It was remarkably un-racial, although of
course one has to point out particularly that African-Americans have really
suffered even worse than other segments of the society in this economy with
an unemployment rate which is double pretty much what it is for the general
population. But I was intrigued by the fact that that could have been a
speech that could have been delivered to just about any group that
represents the middle class or some of the lower middle class.

SHARPTON: Yes. I think that`s very important. But both of you
mentioned about the voting rights aspect and both of you know we`ve been
out there both on this show and in my organization fighting on this. Let
me show you what the Vice President said about voting rights, because I
think it`s going to be a big issue.


BIDEN: You have the right to vote, you have the right to change
things. We see a future where those rights are expanded, not diminished.

And by the way, this ain`t your father`s Republican Party. Remember
working with Republicans on motor-voter, on expanding the franchise on
early voting, on voting by mail. Some of these were republican ideas.


SHARPTON: Nia-Malika, motor-voting, voting by mail, early voting.
Contrasting that now where you have a party that is purging voters. You
have a party with voter ID laws that how clearly is answering fraud that
isn`t there. And Willard Mitt Romney supporting these voter ID laws. Is
this going to be a very significant issue?

HENDERSON: Well, of course, you remember that Mitt Romney did not
address it in his speech there yesterday. He likely would have gotten the
course of boos if he had come out with his position which is he backs for
these laws. The Democratic Party obviously very aware that these laws are
on the books. They`ve got people, attorneys in all of these states trying
to fight these laws which they say, will suppress a great deal of
particularly the African-American community, minority communities, younger
people, older people who might not have these certain IDs that would be
necessary to cast a ballot.

And you heard Attorney General Eric Holder in a very strong language,
likening these laws to a poll tax. It`s going to be very much, I think a
rallying cry for Democrats in these states to not only push back against
them, but try to get these laws repealed on the books. And I think it`s
going to be a real source of energizing and organizing for these
progressive groups.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, you talked about how the Vice President`s speech
could have been made any number of places because it was -- you used the
term un-racial. A pew poll showing President Obama beat Romney two to one
when voters were asked who would do the best quote, dealing with problems
of poor people. President Obama 60 percent, Mitt Romney 30 percent.
Clearly this appeal to middle class and working class and working poor
people according to the polls is resonating on behalf of the president.

FRANKEN: Well, one would think. I mean, Mitt Romney can put lipstick
on this pig all he wants, but really he is the person, the spokesman, for
the one-tenth of one percenters. He is the one who speaks for that small
group and they`re able to confuse things a lot. But the simple fact of the
matter is, is that they are representing their very selfish interests and
the rest of the country be damned. That is a message that they haven`t
been able to gussy up as much as they`d like.

SHARPTON: Now, Nia-Malika, the President did an interview with CBS
and he said something very interesting. He talked about what he thought
his one big failure was. Listen to this.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: The mistake of my first couple
of years was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy
right. And in my first two years, I think the notion was well, you know,
he`s been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but you know, where`s the
story that tells us where he`s going? And I think that was a legitimate


SHARPTON: He feels he should have inspired the country more and not
deal just with policy. What is your reaction Nia-Malika?

HENDERSON: That`s right. And it`s a bit of an irony because here was
a senator elected to president -- the presidency. And in many ways people
thought he was the great communicator. And that was one of the reasons he
was so inspiring because he was such a great communicator. But you have
had Democrats criticize him in saying that he has failed in many ways to
sell some of these policies, to tell a story about health care, to tell a
story about the economy.

And so interesting that he`s admitting that failure on his part. And
I think they`re looking for this election and this campaign to really sort
of fine tune what their message is.


HENDERSON: Fine tune the vision thing. Fine tune their story and
vision for this country. You had Mitt Romney just a couple of minutes ago
release a statement to say, it`s not about storytelling, it`s about policy,
it`s about what the direction of the country and the economy. So of
course, they had their message out on this as well.

SHARPTON: Nia-Malika Henderson, Bob Franken, great to have you both
on the show tonight.

FRANKEN: Thank you.

HENDERSON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the blockbuster report that rips open the cover-
up in the Penn State scandal. That`s coming up.


SHARPTON: We want to wish a very happy anniversary to the Senate
candidates in Massachusetts. Both of them. Turns out today`s the wedding
anniversary for both republican Senator Scott Brown and his democratic
challenger Elizabeth Warren. And buzz feed reports that Warren sent Brown
flowers to mark the occasion and the Senator sent her a box of chocolates.
How nice. And we wish them a very happy anniversary.


SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with an explosive report on
the Penn State sex scandal. A seven-month investigation by a former FBI
director found the university`s top officials idly stood by taking no
action while assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assault the young
boys. The scathing report lays blame on the school`s legendary head coach
Joe Paterno, the former university president, the former vice president,
the athletic director. To quote the lead investigator, all showed a
shocking disregard for Sandusky`s child victims.


Mr. Paterno was made aware of the 1998 investigation of Sandusky, followed
it closely, but failed to take any action even though Sandusky had been a
key member of his coaching staff for about 30 years and had an office just
steps away from Mr. Paterno. In order to avoid the consequences of bad
publicity, the most powerful leaders at Penn State University, Mr. Spanier,
Schultz, Paterno, and Curley repeatedly concealed facts. Well though
concern to threat the child abuse that you mainly were expressed stated, no
such sentiments were ever expressed by them to Sandusky`s victims.


SHARPTON: What a disgrace. Now we must be sure that justice is
served. Now, I`m joined by legal expert Wendy Murphy, a former child abuse
and sex crimes prosecutors. Wendy, first of all things for coming on the
show tonight.


SHARPTON: This report threw a lot of blame at Penn State officials.
But you say it wasn`t nearly scathing enough. Why are you saying that?

MURPHY: Yes. I mean, I`m probably the only one that`s going to be so
impolitic about this report that`s being described universally as explosive
and so forth. I read most of it. It`s very long. I didn`t learn a damn
thing that I didn`t already know. Of course they all knew. Of course they
all covered it up. That`s been the story since last fall. I wouldn`t call
it a whitewash, but I`d call it a red wash. And what I mean by that is,
it`s a garish kind of gigantic red herring that looks so damn good because
it`s long and it`s got, you know, really harsh language and it`s got a lot
of citations to complicated laws.

But, look, there`s nothing in there that Louis Freeh says, about Penn
State`s responsibility or top four guys who we know were involved in
covering it up. That they didn`t have to admit to because the incidents
that they really acknowledge being responsible for the `98 incident, the
`01 incident...


MURPHY: .in the shower. Those are in-writing. Those are documented.
There were reports about that. E-mails about what they all knew.

SHARPTON: But clear, they still.

MURPHY: You know, Al, you don`t get points for admitting that which
is in writing.

SHARPTON: But could they still face time in jail for cover-up?

MURPHY: I hope they do. You know, I don`t know. I will tell you
this. We have an embarrassing culture nationally on punishments around
failure to report child abuse and cover-ups at an institutional level.
Especially when it comes to universities. I`ve been dealing with these
kinds of cases for 25 years. Universities cover-up all sorts of bad stuff
and never, ever, ever get in trouble because they have too damn much power,
wealth, and influence.

SHARPTON: Now, how is the school liable for this? Are they going to
be liable? And how much could they be forced to pay?

MURPHY: Well, they`re going to be forced to pay. Not by virtue of
our laws. Our law stinks. Our law protects schools like this and lots of
nonprofits including wealthy schools that shouldn`t be nonprofits with
immunity laws. But they`re going to pay probably several millions of
dollars to all of the victims because of the press. Thank goodness for the
press on this.

But we need child abuse reporting laws in this country that require
something other than the chain of command reporting that allowed all the
people who knew to only report up the ladder to Graham Spanier who by the
way should be indicted. Why is he walking free? Why did not Louis Freeh
demand in his report that the child abuse reporting laws in Pennsylvania
and across the country mandate that lower level employees like the janitors
who were afraid of losing their jobs, mandate that they report themselves
to outside law enforcement and child welfare officials and not just up the
chain of command where things disappear.

SHARPTON: Well, Wendy, you said janitors and others have said they
were afraid to talk.

MURPHY: Right.

SHARPTON: It was part of the culture.

MURPHY: It`s not just part of the culture. You can get fired if you
are a janitor in a university and you see a child being raped and you have
the morality, the decency to call the cops or call child welfare
authorities, you can get fired legally in this country. That`s a scandal
that Louis Freeh didn`t mention. Didn`t mention.

SHARPTON: Yes. That`s a terrible scandal. Wendy Murphy, thank you
for your time this evening.

MURPHY: You`re welcome.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Today the House Agriculture Committee approved its final
version of the 2012 farm bill. The proposal cuts $16.5 billion from
federal food stamp program over the next decade. If passed, two to three
million people will be thrown off food stamps and nearly 280,000 children
will lose access to free school lunches. These cuts would be devastating
for kids. As 47 percent of food stamp recipients are children.

How about a real face to food stamps? Meet Vicki Jones. She`s a
single mom depending on food stamps while she puts herself through medical
school. She says, she applied for the aid to help her son.


VICKI JONES, FOOD STAMPS RECIPIENT: I need to feed my son. I need to
feed myself. I truly believe that at some point I will be able to pay this
back and to help people in my situation who can`t afford good medical care.


SHARPTON: But don`t expect Vicki to get much sympathy from
Republicans. We told you earlier that Mitt Romney says, to vote for the
other guy if you want free stuff. And he`s not alone. You judge the
nature of a country, the nature of a government, the nature of a culture by
how it helps those that need help. Not freebies. Not giveaways. But
people that need during times that they may have invested in. A little
help from those that govern them.

When you have those at the top that are pushed even further up and
those at the bottom pushed further down, you are splitting the country and
eroding the longevity of a country that should go down with the greatest in
history. I would hope that as we vote, whoever you vote for, we vote for a
country that does not beat down those at the bottom. And elevate those at
the top while you castigate those that only seek a chance.

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


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