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PoliticsNation, Monday, July 30, 2012

Read the transcript from the Monday show

Guests: Bob Franken; Sabrina Siddiqui, David Corn, Mike West

"Politics Nation." I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, let the gaffes begin. Mitt Romney has stumbled out of
the gate on what was to be his big debut on the world stage. It started in
London when Romney insulted his Olympic host in an interview with NBC`s
Brian Williams.


London, do they look ready to your experienced eye?

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, it`s hard to know
just how well it will turn out. There are a few things that were
disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having
enough people. The supposed strike of the immigration and customs
officials. That obviously is not something which is encouraging.


SHARPTON: Not encouraging, disconcerting. The folks in London have
been working on this for 15 years. They`ve spent $14 billion to make it
happen. And Romney says he`s not encouraged? That was bad enough. But
then he expressed doubt about whether the British people would rise to the


ROMNEY: The people of the country, do they come together and
celebrate the Olympic moment? And that`s something which we only find out
once the games actually begin.


SHARPTON: Reaction from the British press was swift and severe. And
London`s mayor called out Romney in front of thousands of people.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mitt Romney who wants to know whether -- he wants
to know whether we`re ready. Are we ready? Are we ready?


SHARPTON: The British prime minister also fired back taking a pot
shot at Romney`s Olympic Games in Salt Lake City.


DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think we`ll show the whole
world not just that we come together as a United Kingdom, but also we`re
extremely good at welcoming people from across the world.

I`d obviously make those points to Mitt Romney. We are holding an
Olympic games in one of the busiest most active bustling cities anywhere in
the world. Of course it`s easier if you hold an Olympic games in the
middle of nowhere.


SHARPTON: The middle of nowhere? Ouch. And now the Salt Lake City
mayor is getting into it saying the prime minister can stop by any time.
We`d love to have him and are happy to send a map so he doesn`t run into
any trouble locating the middle of nowhere. Them`s fighting words.

Romney has practically started an international incident and his
European vacation is only getting worse. Late today, Romney was spotted
arriving at a five-star hotel for a fund raiser with executives whose banks
are linked to one of the worst financial scandals in history. A plot to
rid interest rates in Europe. Is that how he`s going to erase his one
percent image, by cuddling with London bankers, toasting each other over
during their financial scandal?

Along the way Romney has also revealed why he`s afraid to come clean
on his tax returns and pointed out how his economic policy is basically
Bush.0. We`ll get to that in a minute.

But first, I want to say that I think I know why Romney seems to have
such a beef with London. His heart belongs to another city.


ROMNEY: I have a lot of memories of France. I think the best
memories were with my wife on vacations from time to time in France. The
last vacation we had there, walking around the city of Paris and walking
over to Luxembourg.



SHARPTON: In fairness to Mr. Romney, that was not today.

Joining me now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of "Melissa Harris-Perry"
here on MSNBC. And Steve Kornacki, co-host of "the Cycle," also here on

Thank you both, for being here.


SHARPTON: Melissa, this is the biggest story in England right now. I
mean, it led the BBC News tonight. What happened to Romney?

great. And I`ve been trying to figure out if this is a little bit like the
NAACP moment when sort of Romney was doing pretty well. And then, all of a
sudden he just starts to stumble. First with the Obama care line and then
later when he talks about free stuff.

And the major analysis behind that was well, when Romney said free
stuff, he was actually signaling. It was kind of a dog whistle, I actually
wanted the boo.

SHARPTON: Yes. That`s what I felt.

HARRIS-PERRY: Right. So, I`m wondering if because of the critique of
Obama is that he is a cosmopolitan president, that he is someone who has an
understanding of the world. That by going overseas and making a mess of
it, making a gaffe of it being sort of ridiculously non-cosmopolitan. When
we see that he obviously is, there he is talking about vacationing in
France, speaking in French. If it`s his way of saying, see, don`t worry.
I`m so American. I`m so kind of Joe six-pack that I don`t even know the
right thing to say in London.

SHARPTON: Yes. But, Steve. Let me give you this. The political
editor of "the Daily Mail," James Chapman says, another verdict from one
Romney meeting, apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humor or sincerity.
Serious dismay in Whitehall at Romney debut. Worse than Sarah Palin.
Total car crash.

"New York Times" says, Mr. Romney toured an exhibit with former
secretary William Haig. His campaign shared in an e-mail that their
conversation was broad and wide ranging. Also noting the e-mail read, they
both discussed their mutual love of Kit Kat bars.


SHARPTON: I mean, how can you take this man seriously making these
kinds of gaffes, getting these kind of analysis and he`s running to be the
head of the free world?

KORNACKI: My best guess for what happened here is he just stepped in
it. And I think, if I had to guess this sequence of events. It would be
that he kind of prepared for the trip by doing what anybody would. Reading
up on how the British media is handling the Olympics.

I think if you`re in Britain, there`s been a lot of controversy, I
think, in the run of these games. There`s been a lot of outrage generating
in the press and among the masses of about, you know, the cost of it, you
know, the planning behind it. The government`s execution of it.

So, all the things that Romney was kinds of articulating to Brian
Williams in that interview, are really, you know, they`re very prominent in
the British media`s coverage of the Olympics. But when you`re the visiting
American dignitary and you start giving voice to those things, it sounds a
lot different than if you`re somebody who lives there every day.

SHARPTON: I`m thinking and I had my own theory I said on the show
that he was trying to get booed at the NAACP.


SHARPTON: But I think on this one, when he was doing the interview
with Brian Williams, I think he was talking as a CEO of the Olympics. Not
as a dignitary, not as a candidate. He went into business mode and started
analyzing, Melissa, how they were doing it compared to him as CEO. It was
like, I was a better CEO kind of thing. He went into private sector mode.

HARRIS-PERRY: Well, and it`s a fair point. Specifically when we talk
about the fact that politics and particularly international geo-politics is
an actual skill. So, if you are going to say, you should pick because I`m
the CEO and therefore I should be president, noticed that this is,
therefore, what might happen. That instead of having an awareness of what
his positionality (ph) is as a visiting American, instead of having an
understanding how this could create multiple - I mean, never mind the fact
that if there are weaknesses in security, he just indicated them to the
world of press, right? Like those are the kinds of things that an actual
careful president needs to never do as a matter of national security and
again, world politics and diplomacy.

SHARPTON: Now, in more domestic political discussion with Brian
Williams, he talked about why he will not release his tax returns. Brian
Williams came at him outright on that. Let me show you what he says on


ROMNEY: I`m following the same precedent that was put in place by
John McCain. Two years and by the way, hundreds of pages of returns, for
the Democrat operatives to go through and twist and distort and turn in
different directions and try to make a big deal out of.


KORNACKI: Yes. I don`t think the average voter sees the release of a
candidate`s tax returns primarily as something that serves as fodder for
the other party`s opposition research. Because you know, he keeps framing
it this way that hey, the more I put out there, the more the other party is
going to have to attack and distort me over. I mean, there`s some truth to
that in general, that`s how politics works. They are worry for there. You
know, it`s like it is always going to attack it. But I think people -

SHARPTON: If that was the case, no one would be releasing.

KORNACKI: I think people view the issue of tax returns as something
that`s expected of politicians at a certain level. I don`t know if there`s
a certain number of years that people in their mind think, you know, it has
to be five, it has to be ten, it has to be whatever. But we are talking
about the guys who says, I`m going to release two years. And by the way,
he is really only released one right now. There was just estimate in the
second year. And little of this two years, and there are hundreds of pages
in there --

SHARPTON: There`s hundreds of pages because he has a lot of money and
lot of complicated --

KORNACKI: Right. I think people think yes, I`d like to see a little
bit more here. Not oh, no, let`s keep the Democratic, you know, opposition
researchers busy.

SHARPTON: Then also, Melissa, in the same interview, he listed five
ways his economic policies will be different from George W. Bush. Listen
to this.


ROMNEY: One, take advantage of our energy resources particularly
natural gas, but also coal, oil, nuclear, renewable. Number two, trade. I
want to dramatically increase particularly with Latin America. Number
three, take action to get America on track to have a balanced budget.
Number four, we got to show better training and education opportunities for
our current workers and for coming workers. And then finally, what I call
restoring economic freedom. That means keep our taxes as low as possible.


HARRIS-PERRY: Platitudes. I mean, first of all - I mean, you know, I
want trade. Sure. Right? So, some of that is platitudes.

SHARPTON: Freedom, justice.

HARRIS-PERRY: Freedom, justice, the American way. Some of that is
saying words that resonate. Some of that is talking quite specifically
about Obama era policies. He`s talking about keeping taxes low.

I`m not sure what he thinks he means by that, but certainly in this
moment, President Obama has kept taxes extremely low even in the context of
our economic recovery. And I think what he means obviously, is maintaining
those Bush era tax cuts at the top. Something that President Obama has
indicated. He thinks needs to expire in order for us to move towards
balanced budget. And then some of the other small things that he was
talking about there, sort of workforce training, that kind of thing.


SHARPTON: But, I was very proud of him to admit that George Bush
didn`t work on those things. I think Willard is doing better.


SHARPTON: Melissa, Steve, we will be watching the rest of the Romney
comedy tour, I mean, tour of Europe and the Middle East.

Thank you so much for your time.

KORNACKI: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Be sure to catch Melissa Harris-Perry weekends at 10:00
a.m. Eastern. And tune into "the Cycle" week days at 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

Still ahead, President Obama speaks out on gun violence and why this
debate should just come down to one thing, common sense.


lot of gun owners would agree that ak-47s belong in the hands of soldiers,
not in the hands of criminals. They belong on the battlefield of war, not
on the streets of our cities.


SHARPTON: Plus, paranoia activity. Another day, another Republican
comes out in support of Michele Bachmann`s wacky conspiracy theory.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Folks, have you checked us out on facebook? The
conversation is going all day long. Today the "Politics Nation" fans were
buzzing about Romney`s London gaffes.

Marilyn doesn`t think Romney will be invited to tea any time soon
except perhaps with the bank executives he`s catering to.

While Cori points out it`s not a great foreign policy move quote,
"going to our closest ally and insulting them? Nice job."

But it`s not all politics today. We shared this photo of U.S. Olympic
gymnast Gabrielle Douglas.

Coalman says, "I watched her in the trials and I know she`s going to
win gold. Go get them Gaby."

And Marla pointed out her nickname the flying squirrel. She got that
nickname because of the amazing heights she gets on jumps.

We want to share your thoughts to. Head over to facebook and search
"Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going
long after the show ends. You won`t regret it.


SHARPTON: We`re back on "Politics Nation" with more fear mongering
from the right wing.

Michele Bachmann has been at the center of controversy for alleging
Muslim-Americans tied to the U.S. government may be trying to spread Muslim
brotherhood beliefs. Bachmann and her Republican members of Congress wrote
letters of government agencies asking to investigate.

Quote, "three Muslim groups have been afforded access to senior policy
makers and have been able to exercise influence in ways that align with
Muslim brotherhood agendas."

Another demanded to know how is the Muslim brotherhood active in the
programs and operations of the department of defense. And the allegation
that quote, "the state department`s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin has
three family members. Her late father, her mother, and her brother
connected to the Muslim brotherhood operatives and organization."

These baseless allegations are having serious consequences. In Egypt
last week, secretary of state Hillary Clinton`s motorcade was pelted with
tomatoes and shoes and Huma Abedin has been put under increased security
after a man threatened her life.

Over the last couple of weeks, there`s been a flurry of criticism from
both sides of the aisle. But today Republican Congressman Trent Franks of
Arizona doubled down in an op-ed calling to protect the U.S. from hostile
foreign influences.

Joining me now is Sabrina Siddiqui, politics reporter for "the
Huffington Post" and Bob Franken, a King`s feature syndicated columnist.
Thank you both for being here tonight.


for having us.

SHARPTON: Sabrina, let me start with you. We`ve seen Islam-phobia
from the right before. But now congressional people are attacking people
with baseless claims. How dangerous is that?

SIDDIQUI: Well, it`s very dangerous. You already mentioned the
increased security that Huma Abedin is under. We live in a post-9/11 world
where unfortunately Islam-phobia have become very is common faith. But
such allegations, what they do is they further alienate the Muslim-American
community who are just as patriotic as any other American. And the Muslims
who are at the center of this particular investigation are dedicating their
careers to serving the U.S. government. There`s no evidence that they are
trying to infiltrate the U.S. government, the Muslim brotherhood is trying
to infiltrate the U.S. government, I`m sorry.

You know, we`ve also seen a rise in hate crimes in the last decade
since 9/11. And you know, when you`re talking about increased security,
you`re running the risk of angering a lot of people for whom that was a
very sensitive incident. And there are threats, serious threats to these
particular individuals` lives now.

SHARPTON: Now, Bob, Congressman Trent Franks writes in "USA today"
that calls really for an investigation. This is what me writes. It`s
about the failure of our government in the name of political correctness to
enforce his own laws and policies to protect this country from hostile
foreign influences.

FRANKEN: Well first of all, sometimes I really get tired of that term
political correctness. If political correctness means that you`re not a
bigot, then OK. This is political correctness. The fact of the matter is
there are certain politicians out there, and let`s call them demo gags, who
like to play to the worst instincts of the United States.

This is a wonderful country. There`s so many positive instincts that
made us what we are. But there have always been the sinister layer of bad
instincts that can be exploited. For instance, the polls consistently show
that in the United States a full 40 percent of Americans have negative
views of Islam and Muslims. That is an astonishing thing that can be
easily exploited. And we`re seeing it exploited by the likes of Michele
Bachmann and Louie Gohmert. So, when he was challenge --

SHARPTON: But Bob, let me stop you right there. Because you`ve
covered Capitol Hill and Congress a long time. What`s different about

FRANKEN: Well, it`s just a matter of degree. There have always been
people who have exploited these things. First of all, Newt Gingrich got
rose up in the early `90s in all this kind of thing. Actually, he started
in the `80s and he was practicing that kind of politics then. And he is
now one of the most outspoken who charges constantly making Islamic phobic
comments. And he is worried that their efforts he says, that he is worry
that their efforts to impose Sharia law in the United States.

This is not really as different as it is. And certainly, if you go
back to the McCarthy era, we`re seeing almost carbon copy of this. The
question was asked and I pointed it out in the column, McCarthy was finally
asked by somebody at a hearing have you no decency? I think the same
question could be asked today of Gohmert and Michele Bachmann and the rest
of them.

SHARPTON: Now, have you no decency and fairness, Sabrina, there has
been some leading Republicans that have spoken out against this witch hunt.
And they do deserve some credit. Let me show those.


like this being thrown around are pretty dangerous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The first amendment prohibits the government from
making a distinction between what is good religion and what is bad
religion. That`s none of the government`s business. Religion is a
personal issue to every one of the people who lives in the United States.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: These attacks have no logic, no basis,
and no merit. And they need to stop. They need to stop now. Ultimately
what is at stake in this matter is larger even than the reputation of one
person. This is about who we are as a nation and who we aspire to be.


SHARPTON: Now, the thing that gets me about this, Sabrina, before you
respond to the Republicans that did stand up, is this gets so serious it
even has implications abroad. A recent "New York Times" article quoted
several Egyptians who thought the United States put their new president in

Quote, I`m reading the article, "pressed by American reporters to
explain where they got the idea that their new Islamic president Mohammed
Morsi has been forced on them through a U.S. plot, rather than the will of
the majority, several Egyptians cited information gathered from American
blogs and sited." This is really dangerous.

SIDDIQUI: Absolutely. It`s very dangerous. It`s dangerous on two
levels that were mentioned. On one hand, it impacts the impression of
Muslim-Americans in the United States and it impacts the perception of the
United States overseas. They do that the Republicans that you mentioned
absolutely deserve credit. Senator McCain, Speaker Boehner, for standing
up against these allegations.

I caught up with senator McCain the day after he made that speech.
Because Michele Bachmann said following McCain`s speech that her letter was
being distorted. And when I asked senator McCain about that if he felt
that the letter was being distorted, he said that was not my impression.
The allegations speak for themselves. And they carry with them very
serious implications.

SHARPTON: Sabrina Saddiqui and Bob Franken, thank you.

FRANKEN: Thank you.

SIDDIQUI: Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, if at first you don`t succeed in distorting
the president, then try and try again. That seem to be the GOP model these
days. They`re latest attempt up next.


SHARPTON: Can you hear that? If you listen carefully, you`ll hear
the right wing spin machine hitting overdrive. For nearly two weeks,
Willard Mitt Romney and the right have been deceiving the American public
with the president`s you didn`t build that line. They`re trying to claim
he`s anti-business, and now they`ve got a new one.


OBAMA: The internet didn`t get invented on its own. Government
research created the Internet so all the companies could make money off the


SHARPTON: The Internet got started through government research.
Nothing shocking there. But a "Wall Street Journal" editorial out this
week claims quote, "it`s an urban legend that the government launched the

This is pure politics. One of the sources cited in the editorial
public disputed it. He wrote, "my book bolsters, not contradicts the
argument that the Internet had its roots in a government project." But
that`s not stopping this train from leaving the station.


RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Had it been left to the
government, and had it remained the sole property of the government, it
wouldn`t exist today. That`s all you really need to know about this.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You think that Xerox created the internet.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The internet was created by a lot of people.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: It was private enterprise that built the internet.
So, the President was wrong. But this remark has hit a raw nerve amongst
small business people.


SHARPTON: That`s all you need to know. Government funding allowed
researchers to work on what eventually became the internet. That`s what
people should know. But maybe we should be surprised at the attack.

After all, Mitt Romney holds events with business people who say the
government didn`t help them get where they except that their businesses
were built with government subsidies and contracts. I don`t need the
internet to know this. It`s called hypocrisy. Did they think we wouldn`t
call out this World Wide Web whopper? Nice try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with more on Mitt Romney`s
overseas adventure. He`s in London, and that means he`s closer to all
those jobs outsourced by companies that his company Bain Capital invested

For over a month, we`ve been trying to figure out how the man who
wants to be President could have invested in companies that specialized in
shipping American jobs overseas. Mother Jones Washington Bureau Chief
David Corn has advanced the story.

His exclusive reporting on how Romney`s Bain Capital invested heavily
in companies that pioneered outsourcing of manufacturing of jobs could be a
game changer this fall. His reports include details on Flextronics whose
then CEO once said, quote, "Outsourcing is good for America."

And Bain investment global tech, a Chinese company that built profits
on outsourcing. A major presidential candidate connected to sending
American jobs overseas? Are you serious?

Joining me now is MSNBC political analyst David Corn. He`s the
Washington Bureau Chief for "Mother Jones" who has reported extensively on
Bain`s activities during Romney`s tenure. He`s also the author of
"Showdown." David, thank you for your time tonight.


SHARPTON: Now, you`ve done a lot of digging into Romney and Bain.
And in particular, you looked at how Romney`s company was deeply involved
in outsourcing. Tell us what you found.

CORN: Well, thanks for asking. There are two key things here. Yet,
Bain Capital, we could buy up companies and help manage them. And a few
weeks ago, the Washington post did a really good piece by Tom Hamburger
nothing that six of those companies, at least six of those companies, you
know, were engaged in outsourcing. And the Romney campaign came back and
said, well, you know, Romney wasn`t making the decisions when we took over
some of those companies. And there was a whole kerfuffle about that.

After all that happened, I went and I found that Brookside Capital
which was an investment fund, part of Bain Capital, that was wholly owned
by Mitt Romney, when he was at Bain, no question about this, was making
massive investments, tens of millions of dollars in a couple of different
companies that all were part in the late `90s of this sort of expansion of
outsourcing in off-shoring of jobs.

SHARPTON: And this was 100 percent owned by Mitt Romney?

CORN: The fund itself is 100 percent owned by Mitt Romney.


CORN: It`s managed by other partners and people. They get money,
they put into this. But he created this, he put the people in charge. You
know, it`s his name as the owner of the fund. And there are at least three
companies that total over one-tenth of the value of the fund. The whole
fund was worth half a billion dollars. And their companies, you mentioned
some Flextronics, Jabil which were at the late `90s pioneers in going to
high-tech off-shoring.

SHARPTON: CSI stream. We have it up on the screen to be able to see
all of the companies that you talk about. That Bain invested in.

CORN: At that point in time in late `90s, it was new for high-tech
companies, computer companies, phone companies, telecommunication
companies, Microsoft and others to have a lot of outsourcing done in China
and Mexico and other places. And these companies were advancing that.
They were setting up facilities in Guadalajara, in China and elsewhere.
They had some domestic facilities here in the United States.


CORN: But the expansion was mostly overseas to produce this stuff for
these U.S. firms.

SHARPTON: Now, when you look at the countries where Bain or Bain
related hedge fund outsourced American jobs, I mean, it`s quite extensive
from -- I mean, to everywhere, China, India, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore,
Malaysia, South Korea, Ireland, France, Mexico, Brazil. So, we`re not
talking about a little dibbling-dabbling here. This is an extensive list.

CORN: Now, these were all major players. Global tech appliances
which you mentioned earlier is a Chinese-owned, Chinese-based
manufacturing firm that was making household appliances for companies like
Sunbeam, you know, Practicilex (ph), Hamilton Beach. And if you read their
literature, it`s all about their perspectives, their end of report.

Their whole deal was to take advantage of American firms outsourcing
to China where people were being paid 75 cents an hour as compared to what
you`d get here, you know, in the high teens. You know, $20 or more in
America. So, that was just one firm. You had, you know, Flextronics that
you mentioned. The guy who ran it was named chief executive -- by chief
executive magazine as the number one trail blazer and cheerleader for high-
tech outsourcing in the `90s. Revolutionizing the business.

So, these are all major firms that were doing everything they can to
take advantage of this trend. And we can argue a debate or discuss whether
the outsourcing is good or bad. It`s only isn`t good for the workers. But
here is Mitt Romney out there every day talking about he`s going to stop
jobs from going overseas. But at the time when he could put his money
where his mouth was, he had no problem investing in these companies that
were trying to exploit the new trend in outsourcing and off-shoring.

SHARPTON: Now, Romney`s campaign you wrote, does not want talk about
it, they refuse to comment on your story. Here`s what they told you.
Quote, "Romney campaign officials declined to address the issue of global-
tech profiting from U.S. outsourcing. The Romney aide did assert that the
global-tech deal was other than a routine investment in a foreign company."

CORN: That`s their line. They won`t talk about the outsourcing
implications of this. Whether Mitt Romney should have thought about that
or people at his firm before they made these investments. But all they say
is hey, he invested in foreign companies. A lot of traders, a lot of
investors do that. No big deal here. So, I think it is actually is a big
deal and will continue to be a big deal throughout this campaign.

SHARPTON: Well, if it`s not a big deal, then why don`t they just come
forward and talk about it? He`s running for president of the United
States. And he says he`s a job creator. We just want to know if he was
talking about inside the United States.

David Corn, we`ll keep watching this. And we`ll be watching those
debates. Thank you for your time being here tonight.

CORN: Thank you, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama makes a major move to close
the education gap in America. And I was there to see it happen. But
first, we`ll introduce you to a singing walrus named E.T. the summer break
is next.


SHARPTON: The Colorado shooting has reignited a national debate about
gun violence in the country. And last night President Obama tackled the
issue head on.


OBAMA: I like most Americans believe that the second amendment
guarantees an individual the right to bear arms. But I also believe that a
lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers,
not in the hands of criminals. They belong on the battlefield of war, not
on the streets of our cities.


SHARPTON: Polls show that gun owners agree. Eighty two percent
support criminal background checks. Seventy eight percent say concealed
weapon permits shouldn`t be given to those who have committed violent
crimes. And 85 percent say, gun rights should go hand in hand with public
safety. But here`s how Mitt Romney addressed the issue during his
interview with NBC`s Brian Williams.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: This person shouldn`t have
had any kind of weapons and bombs and other devices. And it was illegal
for him to have many of those things already, but he had them.


SHARPTON: But Romney is wrong. Police say, the guns used by the
suspected shooter were all purchased legally. Over the years, we`ve seen
lots of confusing statements on guns from Mr. Romney.


ROMNEY: I`m not a big game hunter. I`ve made it clear. I`ve always
been, if you will a rodent and rabbit hunter. All right? Small varmints,
if you will. And I began when I was 15 or so and have hunted those kinds
of varmints since then. More than two times.


SHARPTON: Now, Governor Romney just hasn`t made sense on this issue.
The candidate`s reaction to gun control is just a small part of the
political debate. Meantime in Aurora, Colorado, it`s much more personal.
Twenty three year old Caleb Medley is in a hospital fighting for his life.
He was at the theater Thursday night with his wife Katie when he was shot
in the head. He suffered brain damage, lost his right eye, and is in a
medically induced coma.

But on Tuesday morning, Katie gave birth to the couple`s baby boy
Hugo, just one floor away from her husband`s hospital bed. Obviously the
new family is facing some challenges. Caleb is uninsured which means his
medical bills could be as high as $2 million when he`s released from the
hospital. He`s one of 1.5 million Colorado residents who lack health

Part of nearly 50 million Americans who don`t have coverage. One of
Caleb`s friends have stepped in and started a Web site to help him out. So
far they`ve raised more than $300,000.

Joining me now is Mike West who`s helped start the Web site for Caleb.
Mike, first of all thank you for joining us tonight.


SHARPTON: What kind of response have you gotten as you try to raise
money for your friend?

WEST: All positive. Everybody is praying for us. And this has been
way bigger than I ever thought it would ever be.

SHARPTON: Now, we`ve read that Caleb works but doesn`t have health
insurance. Can you elaborate on his lack of health insurance?

WEST: He had just gotten a new job and his insurance wasn`t set up
yet, so he was not insured. But Katie was insured, so the hospital costs
for the baby were covered.

SHARPTON: I see. So, Katie was insured, but he was not insured.

WEST: Correct.

SHARPTON: So, can you tell us anything about his progress? I mean,
have you even had a chance to visit him?

WEST: Yes. I`m with him every day since this happened. And I came
straight here from the hospital. The surgeon came in, he talked to us.
Talked to me and the family. And they said that he is making steady
improvement. The surgeon is happy with his progress. They`re really
looking forward to maybe even trying to wake him up from the coma here in
the next week or two. And positive thoughts and everything goes right,
hopefully we`ll get him out of the ICU soon.

SHARPTON: Wow. So it`s very serious, the condition he`s at.

WEST: Yes.

SHARPTON: Go ahead. Go ahead.

WEST: I was told by one of the hospital employees that out of the
victims that are still in the hospital, that Caleb is the most severe. But
I don`t know if that`s true or not, but that`s what one of the hospital
employees told me.

SHARPTON: Now, does he know that his wife has given birth to the
child? Does he know he has a child?

WEST: She came in there with Hugo and laid him in his arms. We won`t
know for sure until he wakes up, but from the signs, we`re pretty sure he

SHARPTON: What do you mean from the signs? What happened that make
you think he may know?

WEST: Well, after Katie -- she went in there and she put baby Hugo on
to his arm and the baby started crying and Katie was holding his hand. And
she was talking to him about the baby, and his vital signs, his blood
pressure and his pulse started rising up and he started squeezing her hand
the hardest he`s squeezed anybody`s hands thus far since he`s been in the
hospital. And he started to move around a little bit more. So, you could
tell that something was going on with him. And he definitely knows.

SHARPTON: How is Katie doing?

WEST: She`s -- for the situation, she`s doing great. The baby is
healthy. She`s focusing on taking care of the baby and her husband. And
we`re trying to help out and keep as much pressure off of her as possible.

SHARPTON: So, she`s holding on with a new child. But obviously every
breath she takes, she must be concerned about him. How can people help?
Tell us about the Web site.

WEST: Matt and Braniac (ph) and me developed a Web site, a donation
page. A Facebook page for Caleb, you know, an address that people can send
him personal messages. And we developed this to be able to get Caleb`s
story out so people can know what`s going on with him. We just wanted to
raise awareness for him. And through the donation page, we`re trying to
take donations to help him with his medical bills.

But there`s been rumors going around that the hospitals are trying to
reduce the costs if not eliminate the cost on a case-by-case policy on
trying to help out everybody. But they haven`t come to me or the family,
so we don`t know if it`s true or not. But even if they do eliminate all of
his hospital bills, he`s still going to have to deal with months if not
years of rehab.

SHARPTON: No question. And no way of working with a newborn baby.

WEST: Yes. So this -- the Web site is strictly just to get help for
Caleb and raise awareness of this tragedy.

SHARPTON: How do you go to the Web site?

WEST: You can just type it up in the bar. It`s

SHARPTON: All right, Mike West, thank you for your time tonight. Our
prayers are with Caleb, his family, and all the victims of this terrible

WEST: No problem. Thank you.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama delivered on a promise today
and it could go a long way in changing the education gap.


SHARPTON: We`re back with a pause from the political battles of the
day. A time to rest, relax, recharge. That`s right. It`s time for the
POLITICS NATION summer break. Our first stop, Kazakhstan and a gopher who
got a little too close to the camera. This little guy lives next to a
Russian space base.

I wonder if Sarah Palin can see him from her house. Well, back in the
states we`re at the point to find zoo in Tacoma, Washington, where fans are
flocking to hear the vocal stylings of E.T. the walrus. He can growl, he
can bellow, he can even whistle. Just listen.

With all this barking, he`s almost ready to debate on Capitol Hill. A
little more rehearsal, and he`ll replace Mitch McConnell. Just kidding,
just kidding. And that`s today`s summer break.



OBAMA: Tomorrow, I`m establishing the first-ever White House
initiative on educational excellence for African-Americans, so that every
child --


So that every child has greater access to a complete and competitive
education from the time they`re born all through the time they get a


SHARPTON: That was President Obama last night talking about the need
for every child to have a shot at a good education. Today myself and other
black leaders watched at the President took the nation one step closer to
that goal. He signed an executive order aimed at fixing the racial
disparity present in our educational system. It`s aimed at fixing the
inadequate opportunities for millions of black students. Fixing a system
where the graduation rate for African-American public high school students
stand at 61 percent.

While the national average is almost 75 percent. It aimed to create
opportunity in a system where African-Americans make up about 7.6 percent
of all college degree holders. This is an area that needs attention.
Education is the key to unlocking the gates to equality. And that`s why
it`s been a focus of mine for so long. It was why in 2009, I met with
President Obama and agreed to team up with Newt Gingrich to highlight the
need for education reform.


SHARPTON: We may not agree on certain specific issues, but there must
be a commitment in this country for equal education for all American young


SHARPTON: Together we toured the country to encourage bipartisan
cooperation on the issue. Because education isn`t a left or right issue.
It`s an American issue. And I would hope during this election season -- I
would hope as we go towards the general election and beyond, we can
maintain a bipartisan commitment. A real commitment across all party and
ideological lines. That we must provide educational opportunities equally
to all of our young people.

Too many of our young people have fallen prey to all kind of negative
and in my opinion riotous living. But we must also give them the
opportunity to do what is right and to build a future. That future is
built on a solid and equal educational foundation. What the President has
done today is a step toward that.

I hope we will not posture and bicker with partisan politics when
we`re dealing with the future of not just blacks but of all Americans. All
of us benefit from this.

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


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