PoliticsNation, Friday, September 7th, 2012

September 7, 2012

Guests: Hilda Solis, Patricia Murphy, Dana Milbank, Karen Finney

REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST: Thanks Chris. And thanks to you
for tuning in.

Tonight`s lead, you have the power to move us forward. We are 60 days
from Election Day and the power of the people was central to President
Obama`s speech at last night`s Democratic convention. The president is
making an argument that`s bigger than a political campaign. He`s staking
his election hopes on an argument about America itself. Individual
success, yes, but also a spirit of what we can do together.


something called citizenship. Citizenship. A word at the very heart of
our founding. A word at the very essence of our democracy. The idea that
this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another
and to future generations.


SHARPTON: Citizenship. A commitment to one another and to future
generations. These are the values that should unite us as Americans. And
while politicians love to throw around words like freedom, patriotism, and
duty, the president redefined what it truly means to be a citizen in a
country of self-government.


OBAMA: We, the people, recognize that we have responsibilities as
well as rights. That our destinies are bound together, that a freedom
which asks only which what`s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment
to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism is
unworthy of our founding ideals and those who died in their defense.


OBAMA: As citizens, we understand that America is not about what can
be done for us. It`s about what can be done f by us. Together. Through
the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government.


SHARPTON: Self-government. Freedom. A shared commitment to our
fellow citizens. Our destinies are bound together. We are all in this
together. The president made it clear moving forward is not going to be
easy, but we can get to a better place if we make it happen.


OBAMA: So you see, the election four years ago wasn`t about me. It
was about you. My fellow citizens, you were the change.


SHARPTON: As I sat in Charlotte and listened to the president`s
words, I went back to when I was six or 7-years-old when another president,
a young man stood up in 1961 and said ask not what your country can do for
you, ask what you can do for your country.

From Kennedy`s challenge to Obama`s interpretation last night, that`s
what makes this country work. We all must put in what we can do. We all
have a stake in making the country work and awaken together.

Joining me now is Krystal Ball, co-host of "the Cycle" here on MSNBC
and David Corn, Washington bureau chief for "MOTHER JONES" and an MSNBC
political analyst He`s writing about the president`s speech today and
we`re glad to have both of them here.

Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: David, the president talked in a new way about citizenship
and freedom in his speech last night. How does it relate to values in this

CORN: Well, you know, Reverend, from the book I wrote a couple months
ago "showdown" that we talked about, the president for the last two years,
ever since the November 2010 elections has been thinking about how to
respond to the rise of the tea party and how to take those Republicans on
in a political context.

And he decided that really talking about the difference in values and
vision which is what he has from a progressive perspective and what they
have from a very, very are truly conservative perspective was the best
thing for him in terms of sitting up an electoral context for the 2012.

So, what he talk about last night, I thought it was quire intriguing
was that not much about himself, not that much even about his
accomplishments the last four years. He talked about the difference in
value and in vision between him and the other side, Mitt Romney and the
Republicans and basically told the voters out there, you have to decide.
There are two very different paths here. I believe in the communal
progressivism through which we use government to advance economic interest
in this nation and social interest. And they basically believe more
freedom from government, the government is the enemy.

SHARPTON: But is this battle, Krystal, between how they see
government. Clearly, there`s a huge difference in how Romney and Ryan see
government and how the president laid it out last night. What does that
mean in the next 60 days going into this election? Is this going to be
about how we define who and what makes this country work?

BALL: Well, I think as the president said, he laid out that this is
the choice between two very different directions. And to me over the
course of the three days of the DNC, we got to this really tight
crystallization of the difference between the visions. It`s you`re on your
own versus we`re in it together. And I think what the president did last
night is laid out the idea that this is who we are. And this is who we`ve
always been. We`ve always been in it together.

And the way that he talked about citizenship, I mean, I have to say
you`re opening actually really moved me. Because those lines that he spoke
about citizenship and the fact that these battles that we`ve fought and won
together, we`ve done together as citizens that again we`re all in this

To me that is the essence of this country. And that is the essence of
the battle that we`re fighting. And if God willing the president wins
another term, we have to be there past Election Day. We have to be there
past the inauguration. We have to be there to fight for the change that we
want and to back him up.

SHARPTON: Now, and isn`t that really the point, David, that we have
to be there? That`s what the president was saying. Gandhi said, you know,
we are the change we seek. Isn`t that a real point that`s going to drive
this election? Those that feel we must be part of the change as opposed to
those that are saying we`ll let it be a survival of the fittest in many
ways. Isn`t this a real change in how we look at this election and we
frame going into the debates what we`re really talking about as a country?

CORN: Well, I think the president was talking to different audiences
last night. Of course at the same time. To those few undecided voters out
there or independents who might be leading towards Romney but he still can
win back. He was talking on these terns of looking - look at the type of
country we want to have. Let`s make -- think really hard and fast about my
approach versus their approach and where do you want to be on that?

And to the people in the room, people who voted for him, I thought he
was good in saying listen, you made this change happen. The things that we
have accomplished really came about because you supported me and you worked
hard for my election in 2008. And if you want us to continue down that
path, you have to stay engaged.

As difficult as things get, governing is harder than campaigning.
Well, he said that line last night, that I cheered abut. The obvious line,
I am the president. I thought in some ways he was saying to them, hey,
things are harder now than it was when I was just a candidate. And you
have to take that to - and you have to work harder within the system to get
these accomplishments.

So, I think he`s trying to rev up the base, rev up those people. But
also speak to those who are not as engaged and get them to give him another

SHARPTON: Krystal, as we deal with how you look at government
different, from your vision, from how you approach things, comes your
policy. President`s message is fairness.

BALL: Right.

SHARPTON: But the Republicans aren`t concerned with being fair. Look
at Paul Ryan`s budget. Cut Medicaid by $1.4 trillion, give millionaires
$265,000 tax cut over ten years. One is talking fairness, collecting work,
collective less make the country great. The other`s talking about you get
what you deserve, or your get what merit brings you. And those that do the
best should get the most.

BALL: Right. And it`s also an I`ve got mine kind of an attitude. I
mean, I think at its core, this message is about the American dream. You
know, are we going to continue to be a country where we can have a Barack
Obama or a Michelle Obama where someone who comes from modest means who has
difficult situations growing up can aspire to be president. Are we going
to continue to be that country or are we going to be a country where the
rich get richer and the poor stay poor?

To me that is the essence of this campaign. And I think the president
connected with the core of American values in that speech last night.

SHARPTON: David, we also saw he did not surrender the theme of hope
and change. He kind of interpreted how it is the more mature concept and
is something hope and change does not mean something dashing and immediate.
Let me show you where he talked about his hopefulness for America last


OBAMA: I`m no longer just candidate. I`m the president.


OBAMA: While I`m very proud of what we`ve achieved together, I`m far
more mindful of my own failings. Knowing exactly what Lincoln meant when
he said I`ve been driven to my knees many times by the overwhelming
conviction that I had no place else to go.


OBAMA: But as I stand here tonight, I have never been more hopeful
about America. Not because I think I have all the answers, not because I`m
naive about the magnitude of our challenges. I`m hopeful because of you.


SHARPTON: David, I think that`s a real elevation of bringing hope and
change to another level of interpretation.

CORN: Well, I think you`re right. But, you know, this is all about
the -- we`re in this together message that he`s trying to get at. And I
think he`s basically telling voters you get to decide if that`s an American
reality or just a hope.

SHARPTON: David Corn and Krystal Ball, thanks for your time tonight.

And don`t forget to catch Krystal on "the Cycle" week days at 3:00
p.m. Eastern here on MSNBC.

Coming up, President Obama is fired up and ready to go with a new poll
showing a big bounce out of the convention. His highest approval rating
since the death of Osama bin Laden.

Also Mitt Romney`s probably still soft from the pounding he took in


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than
he was four years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In Romney`s world the cars get the elevator and
the workers get the shaft.


SHARPTON: We`ll see how Romney`s battered image may affect his
strategy in some key battle ground states.

Plus a top Republican official blinks in a standoff on voters` rights.
We must keep the pressure on.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Have you checked us out on facebook? The "Politics Nation"
conversation is going am all day long. Today our facebook family couldn`t
stop talking about President Obama`s big speech.

Stanley says he hit on all the right points and reminded everyone who
he is.

Joe says he knocked it out of the park.

Verna says after that speech, her heart is full of hope, pride, and

We`ll have more on the president`s speech coming up. But what did you
think of the speech? We want to know. Head over to facebook and search
"Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going
long after the show ends.


SHARPTON: We`re back on "Politics Nation."

The conventions have been a time for both parties to lay out a path
forward for America. President Obama made a clear case last night. But
we`re still waiting on governor Romney. He forgot to address a jobs plan
in Tampa. That is, unless you think gutting regulation or offering $5
trillion in unpaid tax cuts is a job plan. I certainly don`t.

But our president does have a proposal. It`s called the American jobs
act. And one year ago tomorrow, he presented that plan. Economists say it
would have added two million jobs. But it failed because every single
Republican in the Senate voted against it. And the house GOP didn`t even
bother to take it up. But don`t worry. They`ll get another shot at it
when they return to Washington next Monday.


OBAMA: If the Republicans are serious about being concerned about
joblessness, we could create a million new jobs right now. If Congress
would pass the jobs plan that I sent to them a year ago.


SHARPTON: So how about it, Republicans?

Joining me now is Hilda Solis, secretary of labor.

Secretary Solis, thanks for coming on the show tonight.

HILDA SOLIS, U.S. SECRETARY OF LABOR: How are you? And happy former
labor day. And it`s great to come off the convention. Wasn`t it great,

SHARPTON: It was great. I thought it was a great convention.


SHARPTON: Let me get to this point about jobs. It`s been one year
since the president presented the American jobs act. The unemployment
report today proved that we still are in a tough climate. But where would
we have been had the GOP passed that bill?

SOLIS: It would have been a million jobs added. Obviously right now
with the rate of unemployment ticked down, we could have had it lower if we
could put a million people back to work in infrastructure jobs,
construction, but also putting teachers back to work, firefighters, and
also modernize our schools and highways in our infrastructure.

It`s a proposal that Republicans have previously supported. So what
we would like to say is we want the public to notify their members of
congress. The grid locking and obstruction has been the members of
congress. The new members that are overtaking that party. And we need to
say, look, it`s not about what party you`re a part of. It`s about helping
our constituents, our grassroots people. People that live in our
communities. And I know the president is so, so focused on what we need to
do to make sure that we create opportunity for people that are
underemployed that need the skill levels that we are investing right now in
education credentials. Everything we can do and need to make sure it
continues, Reverend.

SHARPTON: So you`re saying the public ought to be pushing members of


SHARPTON: I mean, where is the outrage? You said a million jobs.
And when I look at the fact that Republicans have refused to pass a jobs
bill that they supported in the past like the president`s infrastructure
bill. This year zero Senate Republicans voted for it. House Republicans
refused to even hold a vote on it. And these are things they`ve supported
in the past. Where`s the outrage?

SOLIS: Reverend, all I can say is that previously, these proposals as
a former member of Congress. I can tell you they were supported by
Republicans and Democrats. And we know these things will put people back
to work immediately. And then, we can get on with our discussion about
where we go in the years after.

But right now, the immediate concern is we have many people that are
out of work. We also have to avoid the deficit reductions that don`t harm
people that are still vulnerable and make sure we get people together.

The best thing I can say to you is the president says for us to give
the word out. That people need to contact their members of Congress and
the Senate. Because that`s the best persuasive evidence that we have.
Contact your member.

These proposals are not just from Obama. They`re also from
Republicans. So they make sense. Let`s put these people back to work.
Let`s decrease the unemployment rate from eight percent down to seven
percent. We could put a million people back to work, construction workers,
teachers, firefighters, everyone.

SHARPTON: Now, the vice presidential nominee for the Republicans,
Paul Ryan, slammed the White House for the jobs report today. Take a


close to what a recovery looks like. This is not what President Obama
promised. I would argue this is the result of failed leadership in
Washington, bad fiscal policy coming from the administration. And that is
why we have this very tepid report.


SHARPTON: Failed leadership in Washington? But that would make him
part of it. He`s part of the leadership in the house. Secretary?

SOLIS: You know what? I would tell you, look. The president came in
knowing very well that the first thing that we had to do was work with
people across the aisle. And he did everything he could, but there`s so
many times and instances where you have to say wait a minute.

We`re not going to wait any longer, and we have to go to the public.
That`s what the president has done. And everything that we have done has
helped to create 4.6 million private sector jobs to help provide support.
We lost eight million before I was even fully in my job. So hello?

We have to keep working on this. And we know who`s with us and who
isn`t. You saw it at the convention. You saw who was with us in terms of
helping the military, helping working families, helping women, helping
children, helping our seniors. We cannot avoid the concept that, look. If
the Romney plan and Ryan plan come into play, they`re going to get rid of a
lot of the support systems currently helping our fragile economy.


SOLIS: And we have to stick with those individuals. So the -- so I
can just -- all I can say to you, Reverend is that, look. We had a
wonderful convention. And you saw the representation. It was represented
everyone across the board.

SHARPTON: I saw that, secretary, and tomorrow is a year anniversary.
And I`ve seen they have not voted for a jobs bill. They`ve done nothing
but block. And I think it`s time for them to move it forward.

Secretary Solis, I`m going to have to leave it there. Thanks for
coming on the show tonight. Have a great weekend.

SOLIS: Thank you so much, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, President Obama is fired up after the
convention pounding his message and giving a big shout out to former
president Clinton.


OBAMA: Somebody e-mailed me after his speech and said you need to
appoint him secretary of explaining stuff. That was pretty good.


SHARPTON: A new poll today shows the president got a big bounce out
of the convention.

But first, Bill O`Reilly really steps in it with some talk about
women`s rights. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: There was a theme through the Democratic convention. Women
senators took the stage showing solidarity in the fight for reproductive
rights. We heard from Caroline Kennedy who said to vote for President
Obama because women`s reproductive health is under attack. And activist
Sandra Fluke warned about the policies if Romney led America.

From anti-choice bill to defunding planned parenthood, it`s been two
years of attacks on women`s health. But in the GOP universe, none of it

RNC chair Reince Priebus compared the war on women to a war on

Speaker Boehner said the war on women was manufactured and fabricated.

And now FOX host Bill O`Reilly is on the bandwagon.


BILL O`REILLY, FOX CHANNEL HOST: All I`m hearing this week everywhere
I go is that the women -- American women, their right to choose is being
threatened. Don`t know what that means. To choose what? I don`t see any
women`s rights under assault at all. I don`t see it. Nobody`s denying
anybody`s rights to anything.


SHARPTON: You don`t see it? Are you watching the same Republicans we
are? The GOP platform bans abortion with no mention of exceptions in the
case of rape or incest.

Paul Ryan co-sponsored a forcible rape bill that said public funding
could only be used for abortion in cases of quote, "forcible rape."

All told, Democrats say the house GOP has backed 55 votes on anti-
women policies.

Did Bill O`Reilly think we wouldn`t notice his efforts to ignore the

Nice try, but we got you.


SHARPTON: Welcome back. There`s good news for President Obama in a
new Gallup poll. After three days of RNC attacks, the President`s approval
rating stood at 43 percent. But during the DNC, it spiked to 52 percent.
That`s a nine-point jump in just a week. The President is now at his
highest approval since May of 2011.

The death of Osama bin Laden. With exactly 60 days until the
election, the President is more popular than he`s been in 16 months.
Today, he was looking to build this momentum with -- on the road with Vice
President Biden. Delivering his message to voters.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: I refuse to ask middle class
families to give up their deductions for owning a home or raising kids just
to pay for another millionaire`s tax cut.


I refuse to ask students to pay more for college or kick children out
of head start programs or eliminate health insurance for millions of
Americans who are poor or elderly or disabled. Also folks like me and Mr.
Romney can pay less.


SHARPTON: The President also says, his opponents have just one idea
and they think it works for everything.


OBAMA: Tax cuts when times are good, tax cuts when times are bad.
Tax cuts to help you lose a few extra pounds. Tax cuts to improve your
love life. It`ll cure anything according to them.


SHARPTON: He also gave a shutout to some of his biggest supporters at
the DNC this week.


OBAMA: Michelle was amazing.


President Clinton made the case in the way only he can. Somebody e-
mailed me after his speech and said, you need to appoint him secretary of
explaining stuff.



SHARPTON: Sixty days to the election, 26 days to the first debate.
President Obama is emerging from his convention with a spring in his step
and a bounce in the polls.

Joining me now is Patricia Murphy, editor of Citizen Jane Politics and
Dana Milbank, columnist for "The Washington Post." Thank you both for
joining me.



SHARPTON: Dana, the President now has sharpened his image to take all
the way to Election Day. What do you think?

MILBANK: Well, look. This is exactly the sort of position he wants
to be in after Labor Day. And now, we want to be careful with any one
poll, because these polls can bounce around a lot. But if this Gallup
result is confirmed in other polls next week, he`s going to be in quite a
formidable position going into the election which is a huge surprise given
where the economy is and given the attacks he`s sustained. Or he had not a
terrific employment report today. But if he`s getting the bounce that it
initially appears he`s getting, after Romney got no bounce at his
convention and he`s got what seems to be a message that`s resonating, he`s
going to be in a very good position.

SHARPTON: All right. So, Patricia, if the bounce is reflected in
other polls and when you look at the fact that nearly 53,000 tweets in a
minute after his speech which set a record meaning people were watching and
responding. If all of this proves to be so, he`s in a formidable position,
Dana Milbank says.

MURPHY: Well, I obviously totally agree with that. And you have to
really give the Democrats credit for using every speech of their convention
on every night of their convention was focused on selling Barack Obama.
And there has been a lot of dissent within Democratic ranks. A lot of
member of Congress grousing about what he did do, what he didn`t do. Other
groups in the past grousing what he did do, what he didn`t do, what he
didn`t live up to. But then, when you saw this convention, there was
absolutely none of that.

Every democrat was on the same page. We believe Barack Obama we`re
proud of his record. We`re here to tell you to vote for him because we`re
going to vote for him again and support him every step of the way. The
Republicans had no such thing. The keynote address by Chris Christie
barely mentioned Mitt Romney. Very few people talked about Mitt Romney.


MURPHY: So, I think the Democrats if this bounce is real, the
Democrats really get a lot of credit for staging it and directing it
completely toward their nominee and getting him re-elected.

SHARPTON: Well, just to substantiate Patricia`s point Dana, in the
Republican Convention, there was 213 mentions of Romney during the whole
RNC convention. In the Democratic Convention, there were 686 mentions of
President Obama. But let`s get down to the electoral stuff. There seems
to be a shrinking electoral map for Mr. Romney. Romney has lunch a new ad
campaign in eight battleground states.

Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio,
and Virginia. But he`s not advertising in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and
Wisconsin. Now, coming out of the convention, is Romney`s path to victory
more narrow than before? And must he win Ohio to win this, Dana?

MILBANK: Well, Reverend, it was always fairly narrow. Because we
tend to look at this in a horse race sense of national polls. And when you
look at the battle ground polls, it was already going to be a more
difficult path for Romney. And it appears the last couple of weeks have
made that more difficult still. Now, you may see a state that he appears
to be pulling out of then, pushes into somewhere else. And you see Obama
going into a place like Georgia where you wouldn`t expect the Democrats to
be spending any money.

There are any number of things that can pivot between now and Election
Day. And I don`t think you want to say it`s all about Ohio. But clearly
the way you arrange these building blocks for Romney, he has fewer
possibilities right now than he did a couple of weeks ago.

SHARPTON: Now, Patricia, one of the things that we saw strong in the
President`s speech last night was foreign policy. And there were a lot of
people critical including myself of Mr. Romney who didn`t even mention
Afghanistan in his speech. And he was on FOX today explaining why he
didn`t mention the war in Afghanistan in his acceptance speech. Watch


BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: They were essentially saying that you
don`t care about the U.S. military because you didn`t mention U.S. troops
and the war in Afghanistan in your nomination acceptance speech. Do you
regret opening up this line of attack? Now a recurring attack by leaving
out that issue in the speech.

MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m going to regret you`re
repeating it day in and day out.


BAIER: Well, I mean --

ROMNEY: When you give a speech you don`t go through a laundry list,
you talk about the things that you think are important.


SHARPTON: Things that you think are important. Is he saying that
Afghanistan and the troops being there is not important?

MURPHY: Well, if you listen to the answer, that is really exactly
what he said. I think it`s not important to him electorally. I think he`s
got a lot of data coming in from polls that this really is not going to be
an election that pivots on Afghanistan. The problem, though, is that he
left that field totally to Barack Obama and the Democrats. And the
Democrats took all the credit that they wanted to and have basically taken
that issue off the table for Republicans for the first time in decades.

So again, that I think was a big error on Romney`s part. And the
Democrats took full advantage of it. One note of caution here. You know,
we remember in 2008, John McCain came blazing out of his convention with a
big bounce, was actually winning in September. So a lot of things can
change. But if you are coming out of this convention and you`re Barack
Obama, you definitely feel very happy with the job that the Dems did for

SHARPTON: Dana, let me go back to the foreign policy with you. Was
it a big mistake and was Romney`s explanation today less than effective in
explaining it?

MILBANK: Well, worse than that, I think he made his problem a whole
lot worse because he could have said well, you know, I had a lot of other
issues to talk about. But now saying that it`s not important. Of course
we all understand what he means in a political sense. This isn`t a foreign
policy election, but I imagine for the, you know, thousands of Americans
over there in harm`s way in Afghanistan, they don`t want to hear what
they`re doing there is not important. Now, you know, both sides have been
neglecting a lot of the foreign policy. Because that`s not what people are
focused on here. But I think that was a very legitimate line of attack
that the President was able to deliver. Because of the absence of
mentioning it.

SHARPTON: Patricia Murphy, Dana Milbank, thank you both for your time

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Coming up, President Obama lays into Romney`s record. But
he wasn`t the only one tossing a few zingers the governor`s way.

Plus, President Obama`s fight your voting rights took a big turn
today. We`ll tell you why Ohio Secretary of State is folding.


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. Yes, it`s still summer in my book. Let`s
begin the night in Russia and the adventures of Vladimir Putin. We know he
rides horseback shirtless and even dominates the karate dojo, but did you
know he does this? He`s hand gliding for cranes. That`s Putin in the
white suit trying to look like one of the large long neck birds.

Biologists say it teaches the birds how to fly. And Putin soars high.
Check him out. Very graceful gliding through the air. He even has some
birds following him. Amazing. Somebody call Sarah Palin. She could get
up there and really see Russia from there. From hang gliding to robot
cheetah. Well, looks like a rabbit to me. Whatever it is, it was pounding
that treadmill. Its best speed is 28 miles per hour.

I think I just heard Paul Ryan say, he could race quicker. And we
close tonight with the breakout star of the week, San Antonio Mayor Julian
Castro. He went on Charlotte`s podium -- he went from Charlotte`s podium
to late night TV. Well, sort of.


MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO (D), SAN ANTONIO: It`s true. I have a twin
brother. And in case you`re wondering, yes sometimes we totally switch
lives for a day just to screw with people. In fact, I may not even be the
real Julian right now. I`m just kidding. Or am I?


SHARPTON: Could the mayor and Jimmy Fallon also be related? You be
the judge. And that`s today`s summer break.


SHARPTON: Governor Romney was talking about convention hangovers
today. But I think he was the one waking up with a headache. He was
getting hit all week down in Charlotte. When President Obama took the
stage last night, his focus was mostly on the future. But he couldn`t help
getting in a few zingers.


OBAMA: If you can`t afford to start a business or go to college, take
my opponent`s advice and borrow money from your parents.

You might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can`t visit
the Olympics without insulting our closest ally. Feel a cold coming on?
Take two tax cuts, roll back some regulations, and call us in the morning.



SHARPTON: Oh, that had the crowd rolling. But all week Democrats
exposed Governor Romney`s record and resume. Let`s start with foreign


OBAMA: My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy.

SEN. JOHN KERRY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: The most inexperienced foreign
policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades. For
Mitt Romney, an overseas trip is what you call it when you trip all over
yourself overseas.

criticize President Obama instead of even uttering the word Afghanistan.

KERRY: It isn`t fair to say that Mitt Romney doesn`t have a position
on Afghanistan. He has every position.


SHARPTON: And of course, he was hammered on the issue of fairness.


corporations are not people. People have hearts.

VICE PRES. JOE BIDEN (D), UNITED STATES: It`s never been a good bet
to bet against the American people. Never.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: Today`s Republican Party
believes in two sets of rules. One for millionaires and billionaires and
another for the middle class.

FMR. PRES. BILL CLINTON (D), UNITED STATES: We believe that we`re all
in this together is a far better philosophy than you`re on your own.

SHARPTON: After a week like this, Mitt might want to get back into
his quiet room.

Joining me now is Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst and former
communications director for the national -- for the Democratic National
Committee. Karen, thanks for being here.


SHARPTON: We talked about a nine-point bounce for the President from
just one week ago. How much of that is due to the Democrats pounding
Governor Romney for his record?

FINNEY: You know, I think the Republicans and Governor Romney kind of
did their own damage. I mean, you know, I look at that poll and I say, OK.
The American people had a week -- three days to take a look at the
Republican Party and what they were offering in their own way. Right?
Paul Ryan got to go out there and represent himself in the way that he
wanted to represent himself without a filter. And it seems to me that what
people are saying you know what?

We don`t want that. We don`t buy that. And I will be very interested
to see the bounce that we get coming out of this election. But more -- I`m
sorry, this convention. But more importantly, I think what you`re going to
see is, you know, in those battle ground state numbers are continued
progress for President Obama.

SHARPTON: Well, you`ve got to admit there were some real zingers that
Democrats gave Mr. Romney. Watch a few with me, Karen.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: In Romney`s world the cars get the elevator and
the workers get the shaft.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: If Mitt was Santa Claus, he would fire the reindeer
and outsource the elves.

Mitt, you can`t just etch-a-sketch away your record.


BIDEN: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.


SHARPTON: I mean, Karen, you`re in communication. Not only are they
zingers but they`re very memorable lines that will be remembered.

FINNEY: Absolutely. There were a lot of memorable lines. But, you
know, the way I also look at it, Reverend Al is if you look at the sort of
story that are unfolded over the course of three nights, there were some
great memorable lines, but even the zingers on Mitt Romney and his record,
all of that was woven into a very clear narrative and a very clear message
about who we are as Americans. Our values as a party. I was so proud
that, you know, people talk very forcefully about our values in terms of,
you know, we the people in terms of rights for gay and lesbian Americans.
In terms of women`s rights. In terms of our soldiers and our veterans. I
mean, it was a really clear narrative that said this is the vision of
America that we are talking about. And that we are fighting for.

SHARPTON: Now, you know, one that I will not forget anytime soon was
former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm. Let`s just say she had a very
energetic speech last night about Governor Romney.

GOV. JENNIFER GRANHOLM (D), MICHIGAN: In Pennsylvania 34,000 jobs.
In Florida, 35,000 jobs. In Ohio 150,000 jobs. And in the great state of
Michigan 211,000 good paying American jobs. All across America autos are
back, manufacturing is rebounding. Why? You know what I`m saying!



SHARPTON: And they call me dramatic, Karen? I think she kind of
threw herself into that one.

FINNEY: Well, that`s true. But you know, you were there. I mean,
the energy of the crowd.


FINNEY: I talked to a number of the speakers who said they have never
felt so much energy kind of coming back at them from the audience.

SHARPTON: No, it was.

FINNEY: So, I think what you saw there was she just got into it. And
the chemistry between, you know, she was feeling it, the audience was
feeling it. We had a lot of great moments like that over the last three

SHARPTON: Karen Finney thanks so much for your time, thank you for
joining us. Have a great weekend.

FINNEY: Thanks, Reverend.

SHARPTON: We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: We have big news tonight out of Ohio. The state`s top
election official has backed down from his defines of a court ruling that
restored early voting hours in his state. Republican Secretary of State
John Husted initially blocked local officials from complying with the court
order. But now, he`s reversed course and even issued an apology. He still
plans to appeal. But this is a big victory for Ohio voters. But it makes
you wonder.

What happened to the Republican Party? The party of Abraham Lincoln?
The party of Frederick Douglas? Today, I was struck by a powerful column
about Douglas in The New York Times. Written by Yale Professor David
Blight. Blight described how Douglas escaped from slavery and fled to
freedom in Massachusetts back in the 1830s. His name then was Frederick

Blight says, quote, "This fugitive slave was effectively an illegal
immigrant in Massachusetts. Susceptible under federal fugitive slave law.
To capture and return to slavery at any time." Despite this threat,
Frederick Bailey was determined to vote as a free man. He knew he couldn`t
use his own name. So instead he took a big risk. Changing his last name
in Douglas, so he could exercise his right to vote. Frederick Douglas
could have stayed in the shadows. He could have kept a low profile. But
instead Douglas risked his own freedom and went to the polls.

He would eventually become the greatest abolitionist in America, a
leading figure in the new Republican Party. One hundred and sixty years
later, officials in that party are trying to suppress the vote which
Douglas risked his freedom to get. Sixteen states have passed restrictive
voter ID laws in the last two years. Their count for nearly 79 percent of
the electoral votes needed to win the presidency. This republican campaign
to suppress the vote is a portrayal of the legacy of Frederick Douglas.

But some of us will use the same resolve that Douglas did. That no
matter what we have to do, we must stand up and protect our right to vote.
It defines what America`s about. It defines who we are as American. It
defines our responsibility as citizens that President Obama talked about.
We may not be in Douglas` old party, but we`re in the spirit of Douglass
when we stand for voter rights.

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


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