PoliticsNation, Friday, August 17, 2012

Guests: Chris Hayes; Krystal Ball, Patricia Murphy; Dana Milbank, Melissa Harris-Perry, E.J. Dionne

"Politics Nation." I`m Al Sharpton.

Tonight`s lead, Paul Ryan`s big mistake revealed. We`ve learned a lot
about Mr. Ryan this week, but the latest news on his stimulus flip-flop
could be the worst yet. And he`s hearing about it on the campaign trail.
Here`s what happened in Virginia just moments ago.


American idea`s all about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why have you lied about accepting stimulus


SHARPTON: There it is, folks. Ryan`s been asked why he lied about
accepting stimulus money. This is more than hypocrisy. It`s about whether
Paul Ryan has trouble telling the truth.

Remember earlier this week we told you about this Boston globe report?
It showed that in 2009 at the same time he was bashing President Obama`s
stimulus program, he was writing letters to the energy department asking
for stimulus money for his own district.

Look at this one from December 2009. It begins dear Secretary Chu,
I`m writing to express my support for the Wisconsin energy conservation
corporation`s grant application. It ends, thank you for your consideration
of my request.

And look. There`s Ryan`s own personal signature. Looks like he
really wants that money. And he got it. He got it. Nearly 21 million
stimulus dollars went to Ryan`s state. Mr. Ryan must have had a change of
heart because here is what he was saying before writing those letters.


RYAN: We can do better than this. This bill, this economic stimulus
package is unworthy of our new president`s signature.


SHARPTON: Unworthy. But like I said, that was before he wrote the
letters. Surely after these letters went out, Mr. Ryan must have had a
different take on the stimulus. Right?


RYAN: We learned much of this stimulus which was neither timely or
temporary, in fact, it was just a down payment on government programs.

All this temporary booster shot stimulus didn`t work in the stimulus
package. So we don`t want to go with ideas that have proven to failed. We
want to go without yet it approve to succeed.

The fail stimulus is unfortunately typical of Washington`s destructive
economic agenda. It has failed to create the jobs promised.


SHARPTON: The stimulus failed to create the jobs promised. That
doesn`t sound like the same Paul Ryan who told the energy department that
stimulus money in his state would, quote, "stimulate the local economy by
creating new jobs." And quote, "create or retain approximately 7600 new

Wow. This is a problem for Ryan. He slammed the stimulus, said it
didn`t create jobs then begged for stimulus money arguing it would create
jobs. But all week Ryan`s been pressed on this and he just denied it all.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: Word came out again today in the AP. It
was a repeat of the "Wall Street Journal" article from a couple years ago
where you had asked for stimulus money for your district. Is that right?

RYAN: I have not asked for stimulus. I don`t recall -- I haven`t
seen this report so I really can`t comment on it. I opposed the stimulus
because it didn`t work.


SHARPTON: Never asked for stimulus money. But what about that name
right there on the letters?

Today, the truth caught up to him in a statement that he released.
Ryan explained the stimulus requests were quote, "treated as constituent
service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or
veterans affairs are handled. This is why I didn`t recall the letters
earlier. But they should have been handled differently, and I take
responsibility for that." End of quote.

Folks, it should have never come to this. It should not have taken
Paul Ryan, a politician on the biggest stage, this long to just tell the
truth. We`re 81 days away from the choice. And Mr. Ryan will have to
answer this one all the way to November.


RYAN: Epitomized what the American idea`s all about.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why have you lied about accepting stimulus funds?


SHARPTON: Joining me now is Chris Hayes, host of "up with Chris
Hayes" here on MSNBC. He`s also the author of the new book "twilight of
the elites" and Krystal Ball co-host of "the Cycle" right here on MSNBC.

Thank you both for being here.

KRYSTAL BALL, MSNBC HOST, THE CYCLE: Thanks for having us.


SHARPTON: Chris, do you buy Mr. Ryan`s response to all of this today?

HAYES: I don`t know. Look -- I mean, look. There are two different
channels. That there - you know, people of district offices and they have
their offices in Washington, D.C. and things come through the district
offices which is what he is saying, right? It came through the district
office constituents and services. But, what`s revealing to me is this is a
pretty big request. I mean, --

SHARPTON: $21 million.

HAYES: Right. It`s a $21 million.

SHARPTON: Not quite a constituent service is it?

HAYES: Also if you`re the penny pincher you`re saying and you think
there`s all this money flying around which is the sort of soul of the
critique of the stimulus, then you should put into practice your -- you
should put into practice in your own office a process of very intense
forensic scrutiny of these requests if that is the thing that you think is
the problem with the stimulus to begin with. You shouldn`t just be passing
letters out the door with your signature saying $21 million here, $21
million there, what the heck.

SHARPTON: Isn`t that the point, Krystal? If you were adamantly
opposed to the stimulus, you`re a member of Congress.

BALL: Right.
SHARPTON: You think it`s wrong, you think it`s a waste, you think it`s
whatever his reasoning was. Wouldn`t your staff know that?

BALL: You would certainly think so.

SHARPTON: So when a letter is brought in to ask for it, you would say
that`s against the policy of our congressman?

BALL: Yes. You would certainly think so. And it seems to me like
congressman Ryan, like so many Republicans said during the stimulus, was
trying to have it both ways. I remember so many Republicans who would rail
publicly about the stimulus to play to the national audience and wear the
mantle of the fiscal conservative would then be perfectly happy to show up
to the ribbon cuttings ceremonies back home when their own district was
benefiting from the stimulus money. So, just like those other congress
people across the country, I think Paul Ryan was trying to have it both
ways here.

HAYES: And I think the keyword there is you shouldn`t lose sight of
the bedrock policy here or when you said benefit. The recovery act gave
out money for real things that were beneficial investment though.

BALL: And they understood that.

HAYES: Yes. And the project here was a conservation project, was a
good project. But the hilarious thing about all of this is that the actual
substance of it gets lost. His office should have asked for that money.
That`s the only right thing he did.

SHARPTON: And from what we are led to believe, the people benefited
from it. But he can`t say that and attack the president.

Let me play for you, Krystal, where he actually denied taking stimulus
money before.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE REPORTER: I assume you voted against the stimulus,
and I`m just curious if you accept pd any money in your district?

RYAN: No, I`m not one of those people who votes for something then
writes to the government asking for money. I did not request any stimulus


SHARPTON: Now. In 2010, he said himself, no I`m not the kind of
right to get stimulus money.

BALL: Yes.

SHARPTON: He said this. He has been there in awhile. But wait a
minute. But in 2010, the same year, his spokesman admitted to the stimulus
funds and gave this explanation.

It says quote, "if congressman Ryan is asked to help a Wisconsin
entity applying for existing federal grant funds, he does not believe
flawed policy should get in the way of doing his job and providing a
legitimate constituent service to his employers."

So his team all but admitted it back in 2010 while he was denying it
his team was admitting it and trying to justify it.

BALL: Right. And the one thing you can say about Paul Ryan is he
must have a fantastic PR machine. Because he has managed to endear himself
to the libertarian billionaires, the Koch brothers, that whole network and
convince them that he is truly on their side and he believes in no
government which his budget certainly reflects.

But on the other hand, he has increased the deficit more than anyone.
We voted for Medicare part D, he voted for TARP, he voted for the auto

SHARPTON: Iraq, Afghanistan.

BALL: He is not a fiscal conservative, if you believe fiscal
conservative means paying for your government. He believes in a small
government and he believes in very low taxes for the rich. And he`s had
this great PR machine to create this persona as a serious politician.

HAYES: Every time he has faced a moment where he would have to take a
vote that would be a politically difficult vote to vote on his principle
against what the politics of his district are or the national are, he is
totally gone with the politics and not on principle.

The auto bailout for the love of God. This is the thing the pea party
even more than TARP rails against ad nauseam, and he voted for it because
guess what, there are jobs in his district that he wants to protect. And
you know what, more power to him. That`s the most Congress people do that.
But most Congress don`t go parading around themselves as a saintly figure
who puts principle above all.

SHARPTON: Well, he has become the symbol of the tea party and those
who believe in the exact opposite. So it`s almost like do what I say,
don`t do what I do for my own home constituents because I`ve got to get re-
elected. But I`m going to represent this nationally. So others will have
to deal with the rhetoric of what I`m saying.

BALL: Right.

HAYES: And the other thing I would say is anyone who thinks a Mitt
Romney in the White House and a Republican Congress would lead to smaller
deficits, I have a bridge to nowhere to sell you.

SHARPTON: You`ve been watching my commercials.



SHARPTON: But my bridge actually went to Brooklyn.

But let me say this, Chris. And I think it is important, though, that
we understand that this has been a pattern. In a statement today, he`s
still having to admit the money. Still taking a shot at the stimulus
because this was he said. Quote, "regardless, it`s clear that the Obama
stimulus did nothing to stimulate the economy. And now the president is
asking to do it all over."

But we have letters showing that he argued where the stimulus would
create jobs in his own state and it did.

BALL: Right. And that`s the obvious follow-up question. Well, did
that money benefit your district? And if it didn`t, then why were you
asking for it? I mean, there`s a fundamental disconnect between the
philosophy that he claims to believe in and claims to spouse and his actual
actions in terms of his voting record. It seems like there`s a disconnect
between a sort of Ayn Randian philosophical world he likes to spend time in
and what things look like when on the ground.

SHARPTON: Let me show you one. I`ve got to go, Chris. But he
attacked the president on General Motor`s plan in Wisconsin that closed in
2008. Watch this.


RYAN: I live in Jamesville, Wisconsin. We used to have a big General
Motors plant. A lot of my high school buddies worked at that gm plant.
That was shut down in 2009. I remember President Obama visiting it when he
was first running saying he`ll keep that plant open. One more broken


SHARPTON: Only problem with that, it closed in 2008 before President
Obama was president and he was the congressman. And George Bush was the

HAYES: Let`s step back and marvel at how ridiculous it is that Paul
Ryan is the man selected to go around the country accusing the president of
cutting too much from Medicare and not doing enough for bailout the auto

SHARPTON: Well, at least if they ever get in the White House, the
west wing will be flip-flopping all over the Pennsylvania.

BALL: It`s not going to happen.

SHARPTON: Chris Hayes, Krystal Ball, thanks for joining me tonight.
Enjoy your weekend.

BALL: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And catch "up with Chris Hayes" Saturdays and Sundays at
8:00 a.m. Eastern. And Krystal on "the cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.

Coming up, the Obama team sends an offer letter to Mr. Romney on his
tax releases. You won`t believe how he`s responding.

And Mr. Ryan is heading to the world`s largest retirement community in
Florida. To defend his Medicare plan. How is this going to go?

All that plus my interview with Jamie Foxx, Ron Howard, and Eva
Longoria. They`ve got a new project that works. It`s exciting. You won`t
want to miss this.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: The Obama campaign sends an early morning e-mail to the
Romney team asking to cut a deal on tax returns. Doesn`t look like they`ll
be e-mail buddies. That`s next.


SHARPTON: We`re back with more fallout a day after governor Romney
made this statement about his taxes.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I did go back at look at my
taxes. And over the past ten years I never paid less than 13 percent. I
think the most recent years, it is 13.6 or something like that.


SHARPTON: But this morning President Obama`s campaign manager made an
offer to the Romney team. At 6:36 this morning, Jim Messina send off this
e-mail with the letter regarding governor Romney`s tax returns.

Messina writes. "Governor Romney apparently fears that the more he
offers, the more our campaign would demand that he provide. So I am
prepared to provide assurances on just that point. If the governor will
release five years of returns, I will commit in turn that we will not
criticize him for not releasing more. Neither in ads nor in other public
communications or commentary for the rest of the campaign." End of quote.

Two hours later, Romney campaign manager Matt Rhodes fired off his
response. Hey Jim, thanks for the note. Not sure he really meant that,
but he goes on to write, if governor Romney`s tax returns are the core
message of your campaign, there will be ample time for President Obama to
discuss them over the next 81 days. See you in Denver. Thanks.

So there you have it. There will be no deal. No more releases. But
will the question on secrecy ever stop?

Joining me now is Dana Milbank, a columnist for "the Washington Post"
and Patricia Murphy, editor of "Citizens Jane Politics."

Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Dana, what do you make of this back and forth between the
two campaign managers?

MILBANK: I love it when they become pen pals and start sending
letters as if they`re being genuine about it. But, of course, the letter
wasn`t really meant for the campaign. It was meant to keep this issue
alive. And guess what. It did just that. And the Romney folks took the
bait again. And once again, we`re talking about Mitt Romney`s taxes. And
it seems that this has enough energy to just keep on going. Romney keeps
teasing out a little bit more. OK, now he`s saying it`s 13 percent. But
we have to trust him on that. So it`s only going to ask the next series of
questions. I think the Obama campaign is looking to tweak them each
individual day.

SHARPTON: Now Patricia, Messina seems very clear that in the letter
or e-mail that he wanted Mr. Romney to release five more years. They will
span the time that Romney`s been running for president answer questions
that people have about the one return he has released. And five more years
of returns would also address questions about Romney`s effective tax rates,
foreign investments, and accounts and tax shelters.

Why do you think that would be in the judgment of supporters of
Romney, let`s say. An unreasonable request.

MURPHY: I think -- you know, there`s no -- we don`t know why it seems
unreasonable to the Romney people. The only thing that most people can
guess is because whatever`s in Romney`s tax returns is so much more
damaging than the question of what`s in your tax returns. They have made
this decision. It`s a gamble that they`re taking. But it really only
leaves outside observers with the assumption that it must be really, really
bad if it`s something that they don`t want to talk about.

And when they do want to talk about it, when they do say why they`re
not releasing the tax returns they say it`s because it would give so much
ammunition to the other side, leading you to wonder why would it be so much
ammunition in there? What`s in there? You`re paying 13 percent tax rates,
what else is in there? Because he seemed very satisfied to say I did pay
13 percent taxes.

That`s not a lot compared to most of America. So if that`s the
information you`re willing to reveal, what are you not willing to reveal?
They`ve obviously decided it`s a lot worse than just having to bat the
question down every day from the Obama campaign.

SHARPTON: Well, Dana, to underscore Patricia`s point about 13 percent
is not a lot compared to other Americans, his vice presidential candidate,
his running mate just released his taxes tonight, Mr. Ryan.

And according to his tax returns for the past two years, he paid a
higher rate than Mitt Romney himself. In 2010 he paid a 15.9 percent tax
rate, $34,233. 2011, he paid a 20 percent rate at $64,764.

So, if your running mate is paying higher, if the average middle class
guy would pay higher and you have all this paying lower, the best returns
would show is he`s paying a very small comparative tax rate and it can only
go worse from there if in fact there are worse things there.

MILBANK: I don`t know about you, Reverend. But I`d be happy to be
paying Paul Ryan`s higher rates on his taxes. What it illustrates is that,
you know, Mitt Romney`s a very wealthy man. Paul Ryan`s a reasonably
wealthy guy just with his investments and his congressional salary.

Now, interestingly enough, because he`s a wage earning public servant,
Mitt Romney earlier on said a man like that should not be qualified to be
president because he hasn`t worked enough in the private sector. So it
illustrates the point that OK, he`s a wealthy guy but not extremely wealthy
so he pays a little more in taxes. And the less wealthy you are, the
higher percentage you are paying.

SHARPTON: Well, I think that if you -- if I`m right, Patricia, we are
talking about if you`re running for president you need votes. And 63
percent of people polled say Romney should release more returns, only 36
percent say he shouldn`t. If he`s listening to the American people, they
think he should release it. They don`t think it`s small minded as he
called it yesterday, apparently significant amount want to see these

MURPHY: Well that also means that a significant number of Republicans
would like to see those returns. I`ve talked to a number of Republicans
who really can`t figure out for the life of themselves why he`s not doing

And I do think, though, it goes to a larger policy question. If
anything`s going to go forward in the next Congress in terms of
legislation, it is tax reform. And there`s a reality in our tax code that
we tax wealth at a much lower rate than we tax work. And this is a perfect
example of that. And I think for Romney to not be presenting what exactly
is in his tax returns makes it very difficult for him to go forward and
argue for tax reform when he can`t have an honest conversation about the
taxes he`s paying himself.

SHARPTON: Dana Milbank and Patricia Murphy, thanks to both of you for
your time tonight.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

MURPHY: Thank you so much.

SHARPTON: Coming up, Paul Ryan`s heading to the largest retirement
community in the world to sell his Medicare plan. Good luck with that.

Plus the 93-year-old face of the fight for voter rights finally gets
her ID but what about the millions without a voice? Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Have you joined us on facebook yet? The "Politics Nation"
conversation is going all day long.

Today folks were cheering Vivien Applewhite. She`s the 93-year-old
plaintiff in the Pennsylvania voter ID case who finally got her ID today.

Cookie says God bless her for standing up for her rights.

Ace points out, she shouldn`t have to jump through hoops.

Koleman reminds us, the struggle isn`t over yet.

He`s right. And I`ve got more on that later in the show.

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


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. Looks like the Paul Ryan
honeymoon is over. Nearly one week since the big announcement and since
then all anyone is talking about is Medicare. And his plan to end the
program as we know it.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Are you going to cut Medicare? Are you going to
cut Medicare? Simple question, are you going to cut Medicare?

(crowd chanting) Hands off Medicare! Hand off Medicare! Hands off
Medicare! Hand off Medicare!


SHARPTON: Meanwhile, Governor Romney`s even been forced to bust out
his white board on the issue. And this conversation isn`t going away. The
Obama campaign is slamming the Ryan Medicare plan in a new TV ad airing in
eight swing states.


ANNOUNCER: The Ryan plan? AARP says, it would undermine Medicare and
could lead to higher costs for seniors.


SHARPTON: But Paul Ryan says, he`s ready to have this fight. And
he`d better be ready because he`s heading to Florida tomorrow where he`ll
campaign at the largest retirement community in the world. And how about
this? He`s bringing his mom with him. I think he`ll need more than that
to help sell this one.

Joining me now is Melissa Harris-Perry, host of "THE MELISSA HARRIS-
PERRY" show here on MSNBC. And E.J. Dionne, columnist for the Washington
Post, and an MSNBC contributor.

Thanks to both of you for being here this evening.


SHARPTON: Melissa, let me start with you. Ryan is going to try and
defend his plan in Florida of all places. How do you think that will work

to a very particular retirement community. One that has a pretty strong
republican contingent. So, he`s going to the friendliest place that he
could possibly find in Florida. And I suspect that these seniors are going
to very be pleasant and respectful to Mr. Ryan as he presents his plan.

But the fact is there`s a reason why as a matter of politics, he will
be on the policy, there`s a reason why politicians and elected officials
don`t touch Medicare. And that`s because of this voting bloc, senior
citizens who have a very clear understanding of how Medicare impacts the
fundamental quality of their lives, they just don`t play. And they`re not
going to be supportive of a candidate who is willing to say their benefits
in their lifetime will be reduced.

SHARPTON: Now, E.J., I noticed he`s bringing his mom with him. And
this is not the first time that republican candidates have used their
mothers when talking about protecting entitlements. Just look at some GOP


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Rick would never do anything to harm Social
Security or Medicare. In fact, it`s one of the main reasons he`s running.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: You wouldn`t do that to your mom, would you,

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I wouldn`t do that to anyone to anyone. I`ve
always support the Social Security and I`ve worked to make it secure.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Mark Amodet thinks a plan to end Medicare is
quote, "excellent."

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: That`s not true.


SHARPTON: What is the politics of bringing your mom out, E.J.? Is it
a sign that you`re in trouble or is it a sign of something else?

DIONNE: Well, first of all, we should only say nice things about Paul
Ryan`s mom.

SHARPTON: Absolutely.

DIONNE: But I think -- absolutely, but you know, I think that they`re
trying to convey the idea that well I care about my mom as much as you care
about your mom. But the problem is you can say that. You can run an ad on
that. But if they really, really believed in this premium support plan
that they`re putting out, they wouldn`t keep saying that wait a minute,
senior citizens don`t have to worry about this, because it doesn`t take
effect except for people under 55.

There are two issues there. One is, if the plan is so good, why don`t
they apply it to this generation of senior citizens who happen to be part
of the republican base.


DIONNE: And the second problem is that if you start in ten years to
pull healthy people out of the Medicare pool and insurance companies,
private insurance companies who want to insure healthy people, you will
over the long run destabilize the financing of Medicare, it could raise
premiums. It could cause real problems. My colleague Henry Aaron (ph) --
has made this point. And I think that`s something you`re going to start
hearing about more and more as the campaign goes forward.

SHARPTON: But going back Melissa to this point about are they in

PERRY: Right.

SHARPTON: Polling shows that 80 percent of Democrats say it`s
extremely or very important to go vote in terms of Medicare. But 74
percent of independents and 61 percent of Republicans. So, the majority
even of Republicans are saying, Medicare`s important when they make up
their mind about voting.

PERRY: And here`s the failure of bringing your mom out on this one,
right? So, again, nothing but nice things to say about Paul Ryan`s mom.


PERRY: And actually, I have nice things to say about Mitt Romney`s
mom who`s a really compelling, interesting character in her own lifetime.
But the point isn`t the mothers of wealthy children who would probably
still be OK. Even under circumstances of reduced benefits. The issue is
not that group of seniors. The issue is the group of seniors who have been
brought up out of poverty as a result of the implementation of Medicare and
the fact that we don`t have the same kind of senior citizens in poverty we
had previously.

But the only way to make programs for the poor operate in this kind of
way. So they become politically safe is that you have to offer them to the
entire class of people. We see this on welfare, we see this on food
subsidies. But if you only provide a subsidy to the poorest, they are --
the politics of it immediately goes away. Because there`s no one there to
build a hedge and protect it.

SHARPTON: But we in Medicare we`re also talking, E.J., about things
that people have bought into. We`re not talking about just poor or people
getting a welfare food stamp which they tried to label it. So, I mean,
this even becomes even more important with Medicare when you`re dealing
with people who have paid into this program.

DIONNE: Well, first of all, amen to Melissa`s point. It`s very
important to understand how much these programs for the elderly have helped
reduce poverty in America in a big way. And also we allow programs for
poor people alone to become poor programs. And that`s why Medicare has
been so successful. Because it`s broadly, broadly based. And it`s popular
because every single one of us knows that when we get older, we are likely
to get sicker. And it`s going to be harder and harder for us to buy
private health insurance.

That`s why we had government step in to ensure the elderly. And it`s
why Romney and Ryan realize they got a problem on this which is why they`re
trying to pretend that President Obama is somehow slashing up Medicare.
He`s not the guy who`s against Medicare in this election.

SHARPTON: Now, the Republicans are actually on a Congressional level
trying to run away from this. Because voters understand this. I mean,
when you look at Chris Collins taking on a New York Rep Kathy Hochul and he
refuses to take a position on the Ryan plan. Tony Strickland is a GOP
candidate in California, he had said, he`d vote no on the Ryan plan.

Brendan Doherty is a republican candidate in Rhode Island, who put out
a statement saying, he doesn`t agree with the Ryan plan. So you`re getting
Republicans that are going to be at the bottom of this ticket saying not

PERRY: Well, look, the first thing a vice presidential pick should do
is no harm. Like, this is rule number one. Vice presidential picks should
first do no harm. And in this case what happened was they got their
enthusiastic speech, they got and $10 million bump, all of that. But they
also just made this a race that happens in every single Congressional


PERRY: Because they put a specific plan on the ballot.

SHARPTON: Melissa Harris-Perry and E.J. Dionne, thank you both for
being here this evening. And catch Melissa Harris-Perry on Saturdays and
Sundays at 10:00 a.m. Right here on MSNBC.

Still ahead, my conversation with Jamie Foxx, Ron Howard, and Eva
Longoria, and others. On a creative and fun new project. You won`t want
to miss it.

Plus, the 93-year-old face in the fight for voting rights has a photo
ID. But millions of others may still lose their right to vote. That`s why
we`ve got to keep up this fight. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: We`re back with a pause from the political battles of the
day. A time to rest, relax, and recharge. That`s right. It`s time for
the POLITICS NATION summer break.

Who`s up for a parade? It seems like an ordinary march down Main
Street until the guest of honor strut by. They waddle in perfect form.
And look, they just keep on coming. Now, that`s how you walk through a
parade route. Politicians, take note. Now,

Now, to a soccer match with some pretty creative fans. The hometown
team hasn`t scored a goal in five games. So these sports fanatics decided
to point their players in the right direction of the net. They follow all
the action moving back and forth in the stands with those arrows. But can
those arrows help Speaker Boehner find a jobs plan?

And finally, you`ve seen dogs do all types of tricks. But have you
seen one that surfs? Look at him. Hang ten. But he`s not just into water
sports. Check him out on that snow board. But what I was really impressed
with were skills on the skate board. Skate board, snow board, wonder if he
could do tricks on Romney`s white board? And that`s today`s summer break.


SHARPTON: Welcome back. On this show we talk a lot of politics. But
tonight, we`re taking a brief break from all that. I want to talk about
artists and creativity. When I was a teenager I began to travel with James
Brown, the Godfather of soul. I learned a lot about entertainment and the
creative process going around with him he was like a father to me and
helped me with my civil rights work.

I learned artists were creative even off the stage, even out of the
venue of their profession. Their minds always looking for something new to
make a contribution. I was reminded of that when I heard recently about an
exciting new project involving some of the biggest names in the arts.

Oscar winning director Ron Howard. Oscar winning actor Jamie Foxx.
Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria. And model and designer Georgina
Chapman. Technology innovator Biz Stone, cofounder of twitter. And LCD
Soundsystem front man James Murphy.

All six are combining their creative talents with Cannon, the camera
company for its project imagination 2012. For the project, Cannon is
soliciting photographs. Anyone can participate. And those photographs
will form the basis of a short film to be directed by the star studded
group I just mentioned.

When I sat down with the group last week, I asked Ron Howard, what is
so compelling to him about creating stories based on photographs regular
people send in? Call it user generated creativity.


RON HOWARD, FILM DIRECTOR: It reminds me of a thing I used to do with
my kids all the time. Which is take the piece of paper, draw a little line
and hand it around the dinner table and everybody`s adding to it and before
you know, it, you`ve got a picture.

SHARPTON: That`s what is amazing. It`s people driven. It`s letting
people express themselves. And you try to direct that something comes out
of what people bring.

HOWARD: And it`s that also. Because I think what it really does is,
invites people to share their creativity.

GEORGINA CHAPMAN, MODEL, DESIGNER: That`s how we form our memories
of life is through a camera. And I just really think it`s going to be an
amazing project.

SHARPTON: What are you looking for -- what images are you looking for
when you look at a photo?

CHAPMAN: I`m looking for something that provokes an emotion in me.
Because I`m really interested in a story telling aspect of the photo.

SHARPTON: Now, the thing that impresses me by this is it`s people
driven. And you know, I`m anything as democracy --

CHAPMAN: By the people.

SHARPTON: Jamie, you won academy awards, Grammy awards, comedian, I
mean, you`ve done it all. Now director. I mean, what made you do this?

JAMIE FOXX, ACTOR: Myself and Ron, I mean, we have some history. We
did the blame it on the alcohol video.

SHARPTON: Oh, really?

FOXX: Yes, yes, man. So, we got there --

SHARPTON: Blame it on the alcohol.

FOXX: Yes. I`m sorry, Reverend. I blame it on the alcohol since I`m
with the Reverend.

SHARPTON: It`s all right.

FOXX: No, but we had a connection. So I said, I would love to be
able to do this.

SHARPTON: Do you think Jamie, projects like this could help unite
people? Would people understand each other better?

FOXX: You know, what, any time politics is not involved, we`re all
united. Look at the Olympics. No politics, whether you`re Black, White,
Hispanic, Brown, whatever it is, we all root for one thing. We root for
Americans to win gold, silver, bronze. And even if we lose, we still
embrace our own.

SHARPTON: So, how do you compare this work to other work you`re doing
and have done?

HOWARD: Well, again, I mean, I grew up, you know, on the Andy
Griffith show and from then on. You know -- it`s an irresistible tune. A
project like this is a pure creative thing. And that`s what it is. It`s
an exercise. It`s an experiment, one of the things I was trying to say
today is, you know, trust that. And build upon that. And take these
photographs as you say from these anonymous sources. We have no idea where
these images came from. You know, and yet if they speak to you, they speak
to you.

JAMES MURPHY, LCD SOUNDSYSTEM: Yes, it`s a bit game of telephone.
You know, they take a picture of something because they see that thing
different even somebody else sees it and then that gets sent in. And we
make a film based on that and see that thing in different way.

SHARPTON: I mean, doesn`t that help the world when we start seeing
that maybe we see the same things differently so we have a different way,
but there`s a thread that all of us deal from. And that`s sort of some of
the underlying magic with Cannon is doing with this project.

BIZ STONE, CO-FOUNDER OF TWITTER: That`s what`s so awesome about
photography and about film making. Is that, you know, it transcends all of
these things that you were talking about before, race politics --

SHARPTON: I think it`s just healthy for society. And this project
gets people to get interested and build their own self-confidence in

HOWARD: Believe in your creativity.

EVA LONGORIA, ACTRESS: There are a lot of passionate people that
don`t have an outlet for their creativity or don`t know how to get to the
business. Don`t know how to be seen. So, I think it just provides a
vehicle for an opportunity for people to be involved in this business.

HOWARD: And people`s own work, you know, is just getting better and
better and better. So-called the line between amateur and real artists,
you know, a professional, is evaporating quickly.

SHARPTON: Yes. You revolutionized the world with twitter. And
people being able to express themselves. So, it`s almost a natural thing
for you to be involved in something where people take their pictures and
emanates into stories. No matter what their story is, who they are is
beyond race, politics, differences.

STONE: Everyone is creative. Everyone has within them some
creativity and some power to express it. And the trick is how do you
unlock that, you know?

HOWARD: I felt it`s just a really viable way to have stimulate
creativity amongst story tellers and I really hope that this program
continues to evolved.

SHARPTON: What do you mean creativity amongst story tellers?

HOWARD: I`d like to see people put it into schools and sort of say
kids, you know, take this idea. Take these story telling sort of building


HOWARD: Take these images and let`s see what you got.

CHAPMAN: We`re just going to see the fairytale. I`m not going to
know the intention behind the photograph or the emotion the photographer
felt. So, I`ll be really interested to see and to meet them and to say
what were you feeling? Did I get it right?

SHARPTON: When people see what you direct out of these photos, what
do you hope people will walk away with from what you did?

LONGORIA: Wow. I think like what Georgina said, an emotion. I
think as an entertainer, as director, as an actor, that`s what we aim to do
is create emotion through entertainment.

FOXX: You know, I started out as comedy. So, if it`s a comedic
picture, I know what to do with that. Being able to do drama. You know,
we just did -- Quentin Tarantino. Yes. And so, I`ll be able to create --
I used to be just a comedian. I just want to be Eddie Murphy, every time I
saw Eddie -- I`d just do the whole laugh. And I think I had some tight
leather pants. Anyway, that`s another thing.


SHARPTON: I want to thank Ron, Jamie, Eva, and everyone else for
their time. And you can go to imagination.usa.cannon.com to find out more
about this fantastic project. We`ll be right back with an update on our
fight for voting rights.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, big news on the fight for our voting
rights. Major news coming out of Florida today. Because of the 1965
voting rights act that President Lyndon Johnson signed, some Floridians
will have more chances to vote this fall. A federal court ruled that GOP
lawmakers cannot shorten the early voting period for the five Florida
counties covered by the voting rights act. The three judge panels said
reducing that period, quote, "Would make it materially more difficult for
some minority voters to cast a ballot."

But this isn`t an outright victory. The county`s not covered under
the voting rights act will dial back their early voting by four days. They
were not included in this lawsuit. We also just got word that Florida
secretary of state restarted his voter purge today. Election officials are
cutting through the federal immigration data base to find ineligible
voters. So, what`s this all about? The former head of Florida`s
Republican Party Jim Greer told me last week.


we have any discussions where voter fraud was a real issue. It`s simply
been created as a marketing tool here in Florida for the right wing that is
running state government now to convince voters that what they`re doing is


SHARPTON: But there`s good news from Pennsylvania. Groups have
already filed an appeal to the judge`s decision not to block the state`s
voter ID laws. And the lead plaintiff in that case, 93-year-old Viviette
Applewhite finally got her photo ID to vote this fall. But Viviette
struggled for months to get it. And she thinks Republicans are to blame.
Here`s what she said to me in May.


don`t want Obama in there. So, I think they`re trying to do something to
keep the black people from having the right to vote.


SHARPTON: Viviette can vote. But as many as 1.5 million other people
in the state could still be turned away from the polls. That`s why we must
continue fighting for our voting rights as Viviette said yesterday, you
just have to keep trying. Don`t give up.

All year we rallied. In March, you remember we marched and we
retraced the steps of those that got that 65 voting rights act. We can`t
let them down. We can`t let our children down. We`ve come too far. We`ve
brought America too close to our full democracy for everyone to allow
people now to change the rules.

We had ID, why do we need new ID? Why disenfranchise people? Why
call voter suppression a new name? Let`s stop it and let`s stop it

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


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