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PoliticsNation, Monday, July 16, 2012

Read the transcript from the Monday show

Guests: David Bernstein; Dana Milbank; Erin McPike, James Carville, Errol
Louis, Alicia Menendez

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

Tonight`s lead, the secret`s out about Mitt Romney`s secretive
campaign. Willard Mitt Romney is running the most secretive presidential
campaign in modern history refusing to provide details to basic questions
about his record and his views. How long did he actually run Bain Capital?
Why did he have a Swiss bank account? Who are the billionaires and
millionaires funding his campaign? Releasing his tax returns would help
answer many of the questions. But once again today he refused.


wanting more and more and more, more things to pick through. More things
for their opposition research to make a mountain out of and to distort and
be dishonest about. We`re going to put out two years of tax returns.


SHARPTON: This weekend even his allies broke rank and said if he
doesn`t release more tax returns, then he must have something to hide.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The costs of not releasing the returns are clear.
Therefore, he must have calculated that there are higher costs in

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should release the tax returns tomorrow. It`s
crazy. You got to release six, eight, ten years of back tax returns. Take
a hit for a day or two.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was asked today that question, do you think
Governor Romney should release his tax returns and I said I do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s obviously something there. If there was
nothing there, he would say have at it. So, there`s obviously something
there that compromises what he`s said in the past about something.


SHARPTON: There`s something there. What striking is that secrecy is
not new for Romney. Oddly for a public figure that`s been an article of
political faith. His secrecy extends to his career at Bain Capital.
Romney now says he left Bain in 1999. But he`s listed as CEO for three
years after that.

Today "the New York Times" reports quote, "Romney`s name or signature
appears on dozens of documents filed with the SEC, that`s the Security and
Exchange Commission, between February of 1999 and August 2001. All told,
Romney`s name appeared on at least 142 such forms, 142 forms." All signed
after he says he left. He no longer had a role in the company, he says.

To explain his inconsistency, team Romney has been forced to introduce
a whole new explainer to the political world. Folks, may I introduce you
to a new talking point, retroactive retirement.


retroactively at that point. He ended up not going back to the firm after
his retirement in Salt Lake City.

He took a leave of absence and ended up not going back at all and
retired retroactively to February of 1999 as a result.


SHARPTON: Folks, I think Republicans are retroactively regretting
they didn`t do a better job of vetting Romney back during the primary. But
wait. There`s more. President Obama, senator McCain, and President Bush
all released the name of their campaign bundlers who bring in the big
dollars. But Romney is refusing to do so. He apparently thinks the
American people don`t deserve to know whose raising money for his campaign.

All this secrecy makes for bad politics. But it also makes for bad
policy. We should all be worried about what Romney is hiding for plans in
the economy and plans for the country.

Joining me now is Dana Milbank, columnist for "the Washington Post"
and Erin McPike, reporter with "Real Clear Politics."

Dana, let`s start with you. How does all this secrecy effect in
rounding out the portrait of Willard Mitt Romney?

The retroactive retirement is a powerful concept. What this means is Mitt
Romney is potentially a time traveler and can go back in time and change
history. So, I think the next thing we can expect is he`ll go back in time
and actually take his dog off the roof of the family car.

Assuming he cannot do that, however, he does seem to have this
repeated problem with not getting information out there. I don`t know why
it keeps happening. Because whatever`s in those tax returns, it can`t be
as bad as the bleeding he`s going to be suffering every day. And then,
he`s going to be forced to release them in some form anyway. So, he`s
really fallen into the trap that the Obama campaign has laid for him quite
masterfully. And I don`t see how he gets out of this.

SHARPTON: Now, with Republicans coming out, with conservative
commentators, columnists, TV commentators coming out, do you think
ultimately he`s going to be forced to release them?

MILBANK: Well, he`s already said he`s going to release another batch,
the last year`s 2011 returns. But there`s kind of this braying for it.

SHARPTON: He said he`s going to release 2011.


SHARPTON: But that`s not a batch, Dana. I mean, a batch is, like,
its fine with it or like others that ran and won for president.

MILBANK: It gets very difficult when this sort of thing becomes so
central. It becomes a proxy issue for all sorts of other things he`s not
releasing. He can refuse to release it, of course. He used to be a
businessman. They thrive on secrecy. He`s in a different arena here and
he`s not realizing how much damage he`s causing himself. It`s hard to see
how he gets away with it.

SHARPTON: Well, it`s the quiet rooms he talks about.

But Erin, let me go to you. When you look at the record, President
Obama released 12 years. George W. Bush, eight years. George Romney his
own father, 12 years. And when you hear this raise to the Romney campaign
he`s been inaccurately saying Teresa Heinz Kerry didn`t release her taxes
in 2004. Let me show you what he says about Mrs. Kerry.


ROMNEY: John Kerry ran for president. You know, his wife who has
hundreds of millions of dollars, she never released her tax returns.
Somehow this wasn`t an issue.


Now, I might add the Kerry campaign -- not the campaign but his
office, he`s not running anymore, head back with this comment saying, the
Romney campaign needs to stop getting their facts wrong. Mitt Romney ought
to speak for himself instead of trying to deflect attention by making
inaccurate comments about Senator Kerry`s wife, Teresa.

And it`s interesting to me, Erin. First he was saying Kerry only put
out two years and it ended up being five. He`s trying to do everything he
can to deflect from answering. Why he doesn`t do what most people have

also, Teresa Heinz Kerry didn`t run for president. John Kerry did. And in
this case, Mitt Romney is running for president. The bigger problem here
Al is that, look. You know, this is indicative how Mitt Romney could
govern as president. Will he keep secrets from the American people if he`s
president in what he is doing everyday in the negotiations with other
countries et cetera? That`s the question. And that`s why this is a big
problem. Americans want transparency with their government. And he`s not
giving that to anybody right now.

SHARPTON: And part of it is he said he was the business guy that
could bring the economy back. He told people to look at what he did at
Bain. Now, he`s telling us but I`m not going to tell you everything about
how I handled my own finances or Bain.

MCPIKE: Yes. That`s right. And here`s the other thing. This is why
this is not going to go away. The press core is like a moth to a flame
when it comes to secrets. So, unless he puts out tax returns or is more
upfront about his tenure at Bain Capital, we`re going to keep digging until
we get to the bottom of it. And that`s why it`s a problem for Mitt Romney
going forward.

SHARPTON: Now, Dana, he`s a businessman, a cost effective guy. What
could be in there that would be worse than what he`s going through now? I
mean there has to be something that makes him feel like I`ll take all of
this, I think you used the term bleeding, is less than if I release it.
What could this be?

MILBANK: Well look, we don`t know, Reverend. And that`s what`s so
tantalizing about this. Presumably, he was getting ready for this
presidential run last time around. He rearranged some of his finances to
get it more in a politically salable position to be in. Look, there was a
time he did not expect his tax records to be public. And when you`re in a
business environment, you expect privacy. You expect to protect
proprietary information. He was dealing in a completely different realm.
We know the path leads to the Cayman Islands to Bermuda to Switzerland.
That`s embarrassing enough. Is it just more the same? Well, that`s pretty
bad or are there still other things on top of that. And Obama has been
merciless in exploiting this as he should be. So clearly there seems to be
something else.

SHARPTON: Erin, the thing that also bothers me is the secrecy of his
economic plan. Paul Krugman in the Sunday `s column in "New York Time"
said quote, "Romney`s tax cuts would increase the annual deficit by almost
$500 billion. He claims he would make this up by closing loopholes. But
he`s refused to give any specifics and there`s no reason to believe him.

So not only is he not being forthcoming with his leaving Bain and
tenure at Bain which he is the one that told us to look at, he won`t even
tell us his policies in terms of I want to pay for this by closing
loopholes but he won`t tell us how.

MCPIKE: Exactly. Well, Mitt Romney`s advisers have indicated they
think specifics are going to be a problem. Once you put specifics out
about the plan, then it gives the press something to make a target of. And
it`s the same principle with why he won`t disclose his bundlers that are
helping him fundraise for his campaign.

In that case, it`s guilty by association because then, the press will
go after each of those bundlers looking to their business deals. And then,
each time one of those bundlers have had a bad business deal, Mitt Romney
has been guilty by association again. And so, that`s why he`s not doing
that too.

SHARPTON: Interesting. So you want a specific vote for a specific
office but you`re not going to talk specific policy.

Dana Milbank, Erin McPike, thank you for your time tonight.

MCPIKE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama goes to the key swing state of
Ohio with a tough message for the Romney campaign. I`ll talk about the
campaign strategy with the raging Cajun James Carville. He joins me live
here in the studio.

Also is Anthony Weiner making a political comeback? He`s back in the
headlines today, in a big way.

And the kitten who took on the Koch Brothers, I mean the Doberman.
That`s coming up.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Folks, have you joined us on facebook yet? The
conversation is going all day long.

Today our "Politics Nation" facebook fans are writing about
retroactive retirement. They`re having some fun with it.

Christine wonders, is retiring retroactively mean you have to give
your salary back?

And John says he`d like to retroactively play that winning lotto

Felicia is using similar logic. Quote, "I retroactively started my
diet in January, but I continued to eat whatever I wanted until today."

Great stuff. And we want to hear your retroactive rewrite too. Or
anything else you have on your mind. Head over to facebook and search
"Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going
long after the show end.


SHARPTON: There`s a new issue raising questions about the secrecy of
Mitt Romney`s past. One surrounding an accomplishment he loves to talk


ROMNEY: My leadership helped save the Olympics from scandal and gave
our American athletes the chance to make us all proud as they did. I led
an Olympics out of the shadows of scandal. I worked in business. I worked
in helping turn around the Olympics. I worked at one company, Bain, for 25
years. I left that to go off and help save the Olympic Games.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Romney helped bring the Olympics back from the
brink. But did he do it for political gain? And how did his connections
to Bain play into it? Here`s how the story goes.

Mr. Romney stepped in as CEO of the Olympics after it got caught up in
an international bribery scandal. Part of Romney`s job at the time was to
drum up corporate sponsorship. One such group was the insurance company
John Hancock. They had threatened to pull their money in the wake of the
scandal. But according to "the Boston Globe," Mitt Romney met with the CEO
and argued that quote, "his political future hung on the fate of the

Hancock came back on board. And many more deals were made. But
here`s the thing. According to "the Boston Phoenix," the details of those
deals were never disclosed. Romney exempted them from his total
transparency pledge regarding the finances and business arrangements. This
is something that has people scratching their heads.

Joining me now is David Bernstein, political reporter for "the Boston
Phoenix" who`s covered Romney for a long time. He first reported on the
story back in 2007.

David, thanks for coming on the show tonight.


SHARPTON: Now, everyone is focused on when Mr. Romney left Bain, but
why aren`t more people asking about his time running the Olympics?

BERNSTEIN: Well, that`s the flip side of it, of course, is that those
shadow years at Bain as I call them are the years that he was running the
Olympics. And one of the questions I`ve raised in the past and others have
raised here and there are about possible conflicts of interest and ways
that he may have done his business there to try to as you point out get
those sponsorships that were so necessary not just for saving the games,
which was the immediate thing, but from his perspective of saving his
political career.

And you know the quote you showed from David Del Sandro (ph) sort of
sums up his thing at the time. He, you know, Mr. Romney really felt he
needed to be the savior of the Olympic Games. And you could imagine that
someone might have been able to use his power or assumed power over a
conglomerate like Bain Capital and all those companies that they controls
when making deals, especially when you look at what we do now.

SHARPTON: But, let me be clear, David. We`re not saying he did not
do a good job at the Olympics. He did a good job and saved the Olympics.
But we`re talking about how he did it and things that didn`t come out.
Like, for example, in 2007 you wrote about this and you list off staples as
an example of a company that had ties to Romney and Bain.

Let me bring what you said. By now, this, you write, we all know that
Bain invested start-up money in the company in 1985. But Romney also had a
connection by the time Romney took over the Olympics. He was on the
staples board and holding a financial stake in the company.

While Romney was running the Olympics, he told the CEO of Staples that
he would work on lobbying the Olympic board to switch their office supply
contract to Staples. But before Staples got the bid, office depot landed
the sponsorship

But the story didn`t end there. Romney had his Salt Lake City Olympic
staff offered $1 million to Office Depot to back out of the deal. Office
Depot declined and kept the sponsorship. Seems like in all of this
sponsorship, there was a lot of wheeling and dealing that allegedly was
going on.

BERNSTEIN: That`s right. And he writes about this in his book
turnaround. This isn`t something that I just made up. He wrote about it
himself. That Tom Stemberg, his friend, who is the CEO, was the CEO of
Staples was very reluctant said he was not going to be a sponsor of the

And Romney says that he went and made him sweeten the deal by saying
that he would lobby the trustees of the Salt Lake organizing committee and
other corporate connections he had which may have meant other companies
that Bain had interest in, for instance. He would lobby them to change
their contract for office supplies to Staples.

SHARPTON: Now, we`re not alleging anything illegal, but clearly when
he talks about transparency and accuses the president of Chicago style quid
pro quo, clearly here we`re seeing he raised corporate money if these dots
connect as you wrote it by making certain overtures and arrangements that
would sort of sweeten the pie.

BERNSTEIN: That would have made it much more -- they would have put
money into Staples` pocket at the time when Romney, as you mentioned was on
the board, held about a million dollars worth of stock. And at the time
Bain, although Bain Capital had divested its initial investment at Staples,
it had tens of millions of dollars, tens of millions of dollars worth of
Staple stock as well.

SHARPTON: Now, let me rush to another one that you wrote that caught
my eye.

Jon Huntsman. Jon Huntsman gave a million dollar, this is you writing
again, to the Olympics. Then July of 2001, Bain Capital invested roughly a
quarter of a billion dollars in Huntsman`s international holding companies.
Huntsman became the national finance co-chair of Romney`s 2008 presidential
campaign, another combination of coincidences.

BERNSTEIN: Yes. Again, we don`t know what happened here. But we do
know that Jon Huntsman, this is Jon Huntsman Senior we are talking about,
the father of the recent presidential candidate, a very influential
individual in Utah philanthropy circles. And he was adamant, very public
that he was not going to contribute to the Olympics games in any way, and
in fact, made that claim through a spokesperson just a few days before,
apparently changing his mind and writing a million dollar check. And then
as you say, about a year later, Bain Capital came through with this
enormous piece of funding that helped Huntsman Corporation which he is
chair of it at a time complete a takeover deal that made Huntsman
Corporation the largest privately held chemical company in the world. It`s
a very big deal.

SHARPTON: Aside, David, from the obvious that there`s certain things
we don`t get due to him not dealing with transparency, let me ask you
straight out. A lot of these transactions happened after he was at the
Olympics, correct?

BERNSTEIN: That`s right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, if these things were happening and Bain was
involved, if Romney no longer was with Bain, then how could he help to
engineer Bain`s investment and Bain putting money in? Was Romney still
calling shots at Bain or at least in touch with Bain? Because just
remember, he said he had nothing to do with Bain, wasn`t involved in the
meetings, wasn`t in touch with them. Yet coincidentally some of the big
contributors to the Olympics after he was there ended up doing business as
we`ve just given two cases, getting money from Bain.

BERNSTEIN: Well, and this Huntsman deal when it was announced in 2001
was sort of a big enough deal that the Salt Lake Olympic organizing
committee and Romney got questions about it and committee put out a
statement saying, no, Romney has nothing to do with Bain Capital making
that deal.

They are exactly. It sort of leads back to this question of was
Romney in a position to be able to call shots at Bain Capital, maybe
directly, maybe indirectly, maybe in conversations putting people in touch,
hard to say. Another example --

SHARPTON: All right. Well David, we`re going to have to hold it
there. But we`ll be watching this, inquiring minds want to know.

BERNSTEIN: Very good.

SHARPTON: David Bernstein, thanks for your time tonight.

BERNSTEIN: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama on the road in Ohio and says
Romney`s tax policy could create 800,000 jobs. But there was a catch.

And James Carville is live in studio on the fight for the middle


SHARPTON: He led bill Clinton`s campaign to the White House and he`s
got some tough love for the current occupant. James Carville, the raging
Cajun live. That`s next.


SHARPTON: President Obama went to the battleground state of Ohio and
he went right after Mitt Romney.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Governor Romney`s experience
has been investing in what were called pioneers of the business of
outsource. I want to give incentives to companies that are investing in
you, the American people to create American jobs making American goods that
we`re selling around the world, stamped with three proud words, made in



SHARPTON: The Obama campaign is also hammering Romney in a new ad.
Using Romney`s own singing to make the point.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE (singing): Oh, beautiful for
spacious skies, for amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties above
the fruited plain.


SHARPTON: And recent polls do show it`s still a tight race with both
sides fighting for middle class voters who may decide this election.

Joining me now is the man who literally wrote the book on the middle
class. James Carville. He`s a longtime democratic strategist, former
campaign manager for President Clinton`s 1992 campaign. He is co-author of
a new book titled, "It`s The Middle Class Stupid!" James Carville, great
to have you on the show tonight.

Reverend Al. Glad to be here.

SHARPTON: Glad to have you. I want to start with your book and we`ll
get to some politics. You and Stan Greenberg write in the book, quote, "We
failed. It is as simple as that. We put the middle class at the center of
the world. Because you can`t have an America without a middle class.
Well, we failed and we have got to do better. And that`s why we`re writing
this book."

You both saw something that really worried you about the state of the
middle class. Tell me about the politics of it.

CARVILLE: Well, first of all, the middle class depending how you
count, it is between 65 percent and 80 percent of the country. So, the
politics of it might be pretty good. They have been under assault for over
30 years. Wages are ugly stagnant. They`ve lost 40 percent of their net
worth between the year of 2007 and 2009. They understand what`s happened
to them, and they want somebody in power to be a voice for the middle

And we`re urging the Democrats to be that. And I have to tell you,
I`m very, very happy. The President is really starting to embrace this.
And I think this is a very good thing. He`s going to have to do it over a
long period of time. The Democrats suggest branding themselves as the
party of the middle class. That`s the interest.

SHARPTON: So, the bottom-line of this book and I`m reading it is that
you`re trying to really have a huge wakeup call to those that are running
for office that the middle class has been...


SHARPTON: In many ways abandoned.

CARVILLE: Yes. Have you seen a lobbyist of the middle class
anywhere? Have you seen some university with the institute for the middle
class studies? I don`t think so. Have you seen some big an heir (ph).


CARVILLE: .write a check written to figure out how we can get these
people into better jobs, that would get him better education, can get the
health care costs down. Where all these things we can do. I think that
the Obama administration has made a start with health care costs. I think
we`ve got to push ahead with education. That`s the ticket. You and I know
that. That`s the ticket to prosperity in this country is better education.
And we got to.

SHARPTON: No doubt about that. Now, President Obama was on CBS this
morning and he said that he regrets more than anything else that he did not
inspire Americans. You`ve been critical in the past saying he needs to get
on message. Let me show you what he said.


OBAMA: The mistake of my first couple of years was thinking that this
job was just about getting the policy right. And then 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 criticism.


SHARPTON: What would you say to that?

CARVILLE: I think the President -- I think the criticism was
legitimate and his acknowledging it was legitimate. That you have to take
people -- that`s why Franklin Roosevelt had fireside chats. That`s why you
take people along. I think the President was busy. He had a lot of things
to deal with. I think he says look, I`m a smart guy. I have smart guys
around me. We`re really trying to do what`s best for the country.

And that`s all true, but you have to bring people on and tell them
what it is that you`re doing. So, I think he`s -- as Ed Gillespie say,
he`s retroactively making what I think is a good point. And look, nothing
wrong with, you know, looking back and saying, you know, we could have done
this better. And I admire him for saying that.

SHARPTON: So you think he`s doing better? Because I know at times
you`ve been critical at nudging them.



CARVILLE: Yes, I do. A very, very -- I think the campaign has been
very aggressive. I think they really starting to put the middle class
front and center. I was critical of this message when it was starting and
saying the economy is doing better and we did these things. I don`t think
people feel that yet.

And I think people understand that what he inherited, he doesn`t need
to remind them. They already know that. And I think he`s got to really
put this focus on the next four years. How his administration is going to
be different than the Romney administration. How he`s better able to be
trusted by the middle class to do these things and I think he does that

SHARPTON: So, if you were advising the campaign, you`d be telling
him, go with what you`re going to do for the next four years, deal with the
middle class as you...

CARVILLE: Right. And I`m very -- if I would be advising the
campaign, I would say, keep on rolling. Keep on rolling. They`re doing
pretty good right now. I don`t think the last thing they need is my advice
now. I think -- I very much admire and respect what I see now. And when I
haven`t, if I didn`t see something the -- I have said something.


CARVILLE: Starting in August when it looked like we`re trying to gain
in and not doing a deal, I`ve said something. I`m not like reflectively
going to be everything. But, you know, I really want the President to win
re-election and I really love the direction that his campaign has taken of

SHARPTON: Now, they came out with a new ad. Let me show you this ad
and get your view.


ROMNEY: Oh, beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain,
purple mountain majesties above the fruited plain.


SHARPTON: What do you think of that kind of ad?

CARVILLE: At the end of that ad, there`s something that`s very brief.
And at the tag -- at the end of the ad, it says, Mitt Romney, he`s not the
solution, he`s the problem. And what I think that the Obama people are
saying is, look, we`ve had to deal with his outsourcing. They`re trying to
pass the thing that the company`s going to get favorable tax breaks for
shipping jobs overseas.

We`ve had to deal with this. And Romney is really not the guy that
you want to try to fix this problem. I think the direction of the ad is
really good. And, you know, it`s a little bit funny and it`s kind of along
the way it`s kind of clever, but underneath it, it makes a very good point,
I think.

SHARPTON: What does the middle class need to hear, James Carville, to
feel that they are being championed?

CARVILLE: I think the President needs to say, I understand if this
has been a 30-year problem for you. And I want you to know that in the
last four years, we had the financial crisis, things to deal with. My
focus on the next four is going to be trying to rebuild the American middle
class. I`m not going to be able to do it overnight. It`s not going to be
-- but we`re going to keep trying to continue to keep this health care
costs down, to improve our educational system and to give you the kind of
future that you need to have what you can prosper America. We can have an
America that would prospers all across the board, not just the one percent.

SHARPTON: James Carville, thanks for being here tonight.

CARVILLE: Thank you, Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: The book is called "It`s The Middle Class Stupid." Thanks,
James. I`ve got my copy. You`ve got to go get your own.

Still ahead, is it too soon for Anthony Weiner to make a political
comeback? Really? We`ll see. He`s back on the news, he`s making ways.

But first, are those Tea Party dreams collapsing? Nope. It`s just a
record-breaking moment. They`re flipping and flopping like Willard Romney.
We`ll explain it all. Next.


SHARPTON: We`re back with our summer break. It`s a break from the
political battles of the day. A time to rest. To relax. To recharge. We
start in China. And it may or may not be Willard Romney off-shoring news.
A new record has been set for human dominos. One thousand and one Chinese
volunteers formed the world`s longest chain of human dominos. These men
and women beat the previous record of 850 set by Americans in New Orleans
earlier this year. Wonder who made their uniform?

Back here in the states, it`s a classic David and Goliath battle. A
tiny kitten called pancake isn`t afraid to take on the huge Doberman by the
name of Sugar Tree. We haven`t seen a fight like this since President
Obama took on citizens united. Is the Doberman backed up by the Koch
Brothers? Or just outside of Los Angeles, we found the POLITICS NATION
interns. Kidding, kidding.

It`s an ice cream eating contest for charity. More than 400
contestants competed with the money going to the make a wish foundation.
The winner ate his bowl in 48 seconds. No word if Darrell Issa wants to
investigate this one. Here`s what I want to see next. The blueberry pie
face-off. And that`s your summer break for this Monday.


SHARPTON: We`re back with a story buzzing around the political world
today. Is Anthony Weiner making a comeback? Just over a year ago, the
former congressman made an admission to the world and apologized for the
sexting scandal that made him the target of Late Night comedians and he was
forced to resign.


resignation from Congress.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Yes, bye bye pervert.

WEINER: So, my colleagues can get back to work, my neighbors can
choose a new representative, and most importantly that my wife and I can
continue to heal from the damage I have caused.


SHARPTON: But today, the rumors are flying and Weiner is back all
over the headlines. So, as close to Weiner telling The New York Post he`s
seriously considering running for the mayor of New York in next year`s
election to replace Michael Bloomberg. And with $4.5 million in his
campaign account, he has the money to get in. But can he come back? And
is the time now.

Joining me now is Errol Louis, host of "Inside City Hall on NY1." And
Alicia Menendez, the host of "HuffPost Live." Thank you both for being


SHARPTON: Let me start with you Errol. Good to see you. You`ve
covered Weiner a long time. What are you hearing and is any of this true
from what you`re hearing?

LOUIS: Well, what we`re hearing is that -- or what you are just
observing is that he after over a year of saying almost nothing publicly
popped up on a radio show for an interview, seems to be finding his way
into newspapers. And you know, if you know the reporters and know the
relationship he had with reporters, you have to assume that this is stuff
that he either knew about or had a friend or an associate send to these
media outlets to sort of get some talk going. And it makes all the sense
in the world to sort of take the temperature of the city and see if people
are open to a Weiner candidacy.

SHARPTON: Alicia, he has $4.5 million in his war chest and that is
probably more than anyone that is thinking of running for mayor next year
other than maybe Christine Quinn, the local --

ALICIA MENENDEZ, HOST, "HUFFPOST LIVE": There are few people are
close but no one has that.

SHARPTON: All right. So, he would be very formidable in terms of
finances. He`s got name recognition. Does the scandal eliminate him from
being a serious candidate?

MENENDEZ: I don`t think it does. I think even when you look back to
the heat of the scandal, New Yorkers are more forgiving than the national
media. A lot of them saying, they didn`t want to see him resign two
different polls saying, they didn`t think it was a big deal. Those numbers
though were different when you ask New Yorkers if they were to vote for him
for mayor.

So, we haven`t seen polling since then. I think we all very soon see
his name be floated. I don`t think the question though is whether or not
it`s too soon for New Yorkers. I think it`s whether or not it`s too soon
for him. In order to make a comeback, you actually have to go away for a
little bit. And I don`t think he`s done that just yet.

SHARPTON: Now, Errol, it`s interesting. When I mentioned 4.5
million, what`s interesting is that he`d be eligible for 1.5 million in
public matching funds if he ran for any citywide position that opens up
through 2013. But he will lose it if his decision is not made before 2013.

LOUIS: Exactly right.

SHARPTON: So, there`s a money motive in this for him to go now.

LOUIS: Some of the speculation reported that was reported is that
that money may be burning a hole in his pocket. That yes, you could give
up not just the money but also a chance. This is the first time this seat
has been open in a decade, there hasn`t been anybody running for mayor. No
incumbent running for mayor since 2001. So, he doesn`t want to miss out on
that opportunity. There is that financial motive that you just mentioned.
And yes, he is in second place.

I mean, Christine Quinn, speaker of the City Council has about five
million and he has about 4.5. If he gets to the maximum which several
candidates could do, he has financially as good a chance as anyone else.
And one thing that`s worth noting, I mean, Alicia is right. That, you
know, there`s this question about whether or not this is the right office
for him. The mayor appoints the head of the school system in New York City


LOUIS: And that makes what he got involved in a little bit different.
And, you know, as a father, I think you understand what I`m talking about.
It has a whole different coloration to it when you think about, is this
somebody that you want sort of in charge of a million school kids?

SHARPTON: Now, he`s given his first interview since resigning on WNYC
Brian Lehrer Show. And he addressed the scandal. Listen to this, Alicia.


WEINER: I still have regrets. I paid a very, very high price. But,
you know, I`m still committed to the same things I was and I, you know, I
have a six-month-old that I have to go and feed now. As I said when I
resigned, I feel great regret for the people that I let down.


SHARPTON: Now, he sounds contrite, but he`s not saying much more than
what he`s already said. I know Weiner. Not hang out buddies, but I`ve
known and dealt with him down through the years. Very ambitious. Very
much ahead. No reverse in his transmission. It`s full ahead. And I think
that he`s the kind of guy that I don`t know that he could get politics out
of his blood.

MENENDEZ: Right now, yes, we`re all political junkies so we can
appreciate and understand. And as I think Errol is absolutely right. And
as much as he`s considering a run, he`s also really excited to have his
name back in the mix. He wants his name to be floated. He wants his name
to be relevant. There`s a reason not only that he`s talking about running
but floating that idea to the press but also that he`s doing all of these
press interviews and I think ultimately it will be a very personal choice
that he has to make.

There are some systematic challenges. A lot of the people that have
worked with him in the past have already committed to other campaigns. As
you noted there are people in the race who are already doing quite well.
So, complicated field.

SHARPTON: But I mean, when you look at this Errol, nationally, people
around the country and especially on the left of center miss his voice. He
was a very strong voice, a very aggressive voice in the Congress. And this
whole debate around health care and all, people missed his voice. So
though he would be running for a local office, nationally the perception is
that you`ve got people that did a lot worse that came back. And that
there`s no actual physical interplay here.

LOUIS: There is, in fact -- you know, he`s got 68,000 twitter
followers and a national network you just eluded to that could probably
help him in a lot of different ways. What interesting thing though, your
national audience should know is that, for a New York City Democrat locally
at home, he was a centrist democrat. You know, when he talked about public
spending. When he talked about various policies for policing and
everything else, he fell pretty much in the middle. One could almost say,
right of center among Democrats running for local office.

SHARPTON: Yes. He was a local centrist and a national progressive.
No doubt about it. Well, we`ll watch what happens. Errol Louis and Alicia
Menendez, thank you both for your time.

MENENDEZ: Thanks, Rev.

LOUIS: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Forty 40 years ago, Nixon broke with his party and went to
China. Would any republican leader show that same kind of independence
today? That`s next.


SHARPTON: I want to recognize an anniversary of an American
politician who did something as important for this country as it was
surprising. On July 15th, 1971, President Richard Nixon announced he would
visit communist China.


action because of my profound conviction that all nations will gain from a
reduction of tensions and a better relationship between the United States
and the people`s republic of China.


SHARPTON: That statement and Nixon`s eventual meeting with communist
party Chairman Mao mended a 25 year rift between the U.S. and China.


NIXON: This was the week that changed the world.


SHARPTON: It did change the world and it changed American politics.
Nixon`s reputation was built on being an anti-Communist as a young
politician. He was a major figure in the red scare. Even proposing a bill
to register communist with the federal government. So his decision as
President was a huge departure for him. It was so memorable, it entered
our political lexicon. A Nixon to China moment.

In fact, Chief Justice John Roberts` decision to uphold the affordable
care act last month was called a judiciary Nixon to China. So you have to
give President Nixon credit. He didn`t make this move because it was
popular. He did it because it was the right thing to do.

Great moments are not when one can master and in many ways duplicate
or mimic things that have already been done. Great moments which make
great people is when you do things that have not been done. But you do
them because you know it`s the right thing to do.

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


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