PoliticsNation, Thursday, October 4th, 2012

October 4, 2012

Guests: Bob Shrum; Sherrod Brown, David Corn, Michelle Cottle, Jonathan Capehart, Victoria DeFrancesco Soto

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

Tonight`s lead. The real Mitt Romney. There`s been a lot of talk
about last night`s debate. Who won, who lost. But the real debate last
night was between Mitt Romney and Mitt Romney. And being so contradictory,
Mr. Romney opened a huge line of attack for the president. Not just for 90
minutes, but for the 33 days until this election. And today in a
blistering speech, the president took full advantage of the opportunity
that Romney`s dishonest performance invited.


stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. But
it couldn`t have been Mitt Romney because the real Mitt Romney has been
running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax
cuts that favor the wealthy, the fellow on stage last night said he didn`t
know anything about that. The real Mitt Romney said we don`t need any more
teachers in our classrooms. But -- don`t boo, vote.


OBAMA: But the fellow on stage last night, he loves teachers. Can`t
get enough of them. The Mitt Romney we all know invested in companies that
were called pioneers of outsourcing jobs to other countries. But the guy
on stage last night, he said that he doesn`t even know that there are such
laws that encourage outsourcing. He`s never heard of them. Never heard of
them never heard of tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. He
said if it`s true, he must need a new accountant.


OBAMA: Now, we know for sure it was not the real Mitt Romney because
he seems to be doing just fine with his current accountant.


OBAMA: So you see, the man on stage last night, he does not want to
be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney`s decisions and what he`s been
saying for the last year. And that`s because he knows full well that we
don`t want what he`s been selling for the last year.



SHARPTON: Here`s the point. Mitt Romney knows Americans don`t want
what is an unfair plans and that`s why a decoy Mitt showed up last night.
But here`s the thing. We`re not going to let him get away with it and
neither should you.

Head over to our facebook page where we`re showing the details of the
Romney hypocrisy on issue after issue. He can`t hide his true record. He
can`t attack health coverage and then get away with saying things like


conditions are covered under my plan. Number two, young people are able to
stay on their family plan.


SHARPTON: Oh, really? Is that so? Well, here`s what the real Romney
says on the campaign trail.


ROMNEY: I will repeal Obamacare and I`ll stop this its tracks on day
one. I will act to repeal Obamacare. I will repeal Obamacare.

Of course I`m going to appeal Obamacare. I`ve said that on the
campaign trail I think every single day. Obamacare must be repealed in its


SHARPTON: He`d repeal it in its entirety. He`d scrap the whole
thing. Forget about pre-existing conditions. Forget about kids on their
parents` plan. Last night, this new Romney also smiled into the camera and
said he just loves regulations.


ROMNEY: Regulation is essential. You can`t have a free market work
if you don`t have regulation. As a business person, I had to have -- I
needed to know the regular places. I needed them there. You couldn`t have
people opening up banks in their garage and making loans. You have to have
regulations so that you can have an economy work. Every free economy has
good regulation.


SHARPTON: Every good economy has good regulation. Great point. Why
don`t you tell to this guy.


ROMNEY: If I`m the president of the United States, we`re going to
rein back the regulations. We`re not going to expand regulation.

Burdensome regulations serve only to restrict freedom and imperil


SHARPTON: You see, last night as I watched the debate, many people
that I work with, many people that I know in and around the country, were
worried about whether the president was on his game. I was being insulted
when someone can tell me something for 18 months and then tell me in one
night the complete opposite, and I`m not going to get offended, when
someone can tell me they`re going to deregulate and then come back and tell
me they`re going to regulate, someone`s going to tell me they`ll take
health care, they don`t care about people with pre-existing conditions and
then change it, when someone stands up and said I want state`s rights on
health care and everything else, women, minorities and others will hear
health care and other things under states` rights and knowing we suffered
under states` rights.

No, others can talk about whether the president was on his game or
not. And maybe, he wasn`t. But I want to know what game we`re going to
play in 33 days if this man is allowed to continue.

Joining me now, Bob Shrum, Democratic strategist, senior adviser to
the Kerry and Gore campaigns who also ran Ted Kennedy`s campaign against
Romney in 1994. He`s writing in the "Daily Beast" today saying Romney won
the debate, but it was no game changer. And Jared Bernstein, MSNBC
contributor and former chief economist for vice president Joe Biden.

Thank you both for joining me.


SHARPTON: Bob, let me start with you. What are your thoughts?

SHRUM: First of all, Romney won a victory that was a victory of
performance art built on a whole set of lies. I think people have counted
up to 28 to 30 lies. And I actually think the president deserves some
credit for at a couple of critical points holding Romney accountable.

It`s a big victory to get Romney to own voucher care as a replacement
for Medicare and the president also took Romney on when he said no one over
65 will be affected because of the repeal of Obamacare in fact as the
president pointed out, seniors will pay $600 more for prescription drugs
and the Medicare trust will expire eight years sooner.

Secondly the president talked straight to 50 and 55-year-olds and
said, do you really want to replace Medicare care with voucher care? We
know it was stunningly unpopular idea. And Romney is now lashed to the
laden way of that idea.

SHARPTON: As he definitely did.

Jared, let me go into the facts about the $5 trillion tax plan that
Romney all of a sudden got amnesia about last night. The facts of the plan
is it was deemed, quote, "not mathematically possible. It would raise
taxes on 95 percent of Americans, all while giving the top 0.1 percent a
$250,000 tax cut." I mean, these are the facts. You`re the economist.
How does he have it both ways?

misplace $5 trillion bucks like that, but that`s kind of what happened last
night. I thought Bob`s points were exactly the right place to go with

Let`s look at the facts of the case. If you`re going to cut taxes 20
percent across the board, which is Mitt Romney`s plan, you`re going to blow
a $5 trillion hole over ten years in the government`s revenue.

Now, what governor Romney says is I can make that up by closing tax
expenditures and loopholes, but there`s two problems with that. One, the
arithmetic. If you just look at people over $200,000, if you just look at
the wealthiest couple of percent, the revenue cuts about $250 billion and
the deductions, the broadening of the base gets you back about 160. So
you`re short about 90 billion. There`s the math right there. And I heard
absolutely nothing last night in a makes those numbers magically work out.

In fact one of the things that Governor Romney said last night, I
would like quote to you. He said quote, "I will not reduce the taxes paid
by high income Americans." Now, this is a guy going around talking about
the extent of his tax cuts. He just said I will not reduce the taxes paid.
I suspect a lot of people are really scratching their heads, Rev.

SHARPTON: No. And they are going to keep scratching.

But, let me tell you something very interesting, Bob. There was
another candidate for president who also argued his tax cuts wouldn`t
benefit the rich. He said it during a presidential debate on the exact
same date, October 3rd, in 2000. A debate that also was moderated by Jim
Lehrer. Take a listen.


after my plan, the wealthiest of Americans pay more taxes of the percentage
of the hold than they do today. Secondly, if you`re a family of four
making $50,000 in Massachusetts, you get a 50 percent tax cut.


SHARPTON: Now, here`s Mr. George Bush same day, 2000. Same moderator
making the same promise. It didn`t work then. Why would we believe the
same day, same party, same kind of political philosophy now, same promise
just about?

SHRUM: Well, I think we won`t believe it because we have lived
through it and we found out that it was a fraud.

Look, what you know, the average middle class family got out of the
Bush tax cut was equivalent to enough money to buy an extra diet coke a
day. Who is going to believe Mitt Romney when he gets up there and said,
look, I`m going to take care of the mid class, no tax increases on the
middle class, no tax cuts for the wealthy.

This guy is Mr. 47 percent. He`s spent the whole year deriding the
hardworking majority of Americans and catering to people at the very top.

I think Jared is absolutely right. These numbers not only don`t add
up, but if Romney is ever forced to specify any of these deductions he want
to get rid of, what about home interest mortgage? What about state and
local taxes? I mean, that would be a massive body blow to the middle class
families of this country.

BERNSTEIN: Let me say I`m very glad you played that clip from
President Bush for the following reason.

You know, we talk about something where I work at the center on budget
called the tax reform trap. And here`s how it goes. A candidate says I`m
going to lower the tax rates but I`m going to broaden the tax base. What
you get is lower rates, you get a lot of the former, you get very little of
the latter. Because like Bob says, once you start going into how you`re
going to broaden the base, then it`s don`t look at me, look at the other

So the danger of this tax reform trap that governor Romney is trying
to sell right now is that you`re going to end up with massively lower tax
rates and you`re not going to broaden the base much at all such that you`ll
have an explosive budget deficit, it`s very much what we saw in the Bush
supply side trickle down years.

SHARPTON: Now Bob, there are still three debates left. There is next
week`s vice presidential debate, then a town hall presidential debate and
finally, a presidential debate on foreign policy. Which think it does the
schedule favor in your opinion, Bob?

SHRUM: Well, I think we now throw out the window, the myth that
somehow or other only the first debates matter. I think the other debates
will have big audiences. I`m through with the expectations game. I`m just
going to say, I think vice president Biden is going to do very well next
week. I think the president is going to bring his best game to these next
two debates.

This guy is a fourth quarter player. We seen it before. We saw it on
health care. We saw it in the 2008 primaries. When the going to gets
tough, when the pressure is on, he really steps up to it. I think Barack
Obama is going to do very well in these next two debates.

And I think that as voters think about this, you know, we all play
this is a game. Who is ahead, who is on first, who is winning the
performance. If you were an average person sitting at home last night, you
said, wait a minute, I suspect that guy Romney`s going to increase my

Wait a minute, I`m a senior. It is going to cost me $600 more for
prescription drugs. I think those are the things that are important to
voters and that`s why I think the president`s performance last night is a
little underrated.

SHARPTON: Well, that`s what I felt immediately last night. I can say
there are some -- a lot of people say Romney won. Some say the president
won. There`s no doubt in my mind who took a whooping last night, the

Bob Shrum and Jared Bernstein, thanks for your time this evening.

SHRUM: Thanks. You were great last night.

SHARPTON: Thank you.

Coming up, foul play. What the heck did big bird ever do to Mitt
Romney? It was one of the real bird brain moments from the debate. And
the president`s calling him out on it.


OBAMA: We didn`t know that big bird was driving the federal deficit.
But that`s what we heard last night. How about that. Elmo, too?


SHARPTON: Plus, fighting for the middle class. Will Romney`s smoke
and mirrors on stage matter to folks in key states and a key state like
Ohio? We`ll talk about it with Ohio`s Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown.

Plus, one of Romney`s top surrogates makes some outrageous and
offensive comments about the president.


and disengaged. When you`re not that bright, you can`t get better


SHARPTON: Lazy? Not that bright? It`s time for Romney`s campaign to
show some respect and kick this guy to the curb.

You are watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Today`s "Politics Nation" conversation on facebook has been
going nonstop since last night`s debate. Everyone`s riled up about
Romney`s attack on big bird and the gang at Sesame Street.

Ramon says, don`t mess with big bird.

Denetra says, I grew up on Sesame Street and I want my children to
enjoy it, too.

Elizabeth says one thing for sure, firing big bird is not going to put
a dent in the deficit.

She`s right. And we`ll show you why later in the show. But first, we
want to know 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: Sure, it may have seemed like Mitt Romney had a strong 90
minute debate last night. But I`ve got nine reasons why his campaign is
still in deep trouble. It`s the nine battle ground states. And he`s
hurting there. Down everywhere except North Carolina and his campaign has
been dropping steadily in Ohio.

President Obama has a 19 point lead among Ohio voters when it comes to
looking out for the middle class. He has a 23 point lead on understanding
the economic problems that people are facing. And the president has a 19
point lead on who is more trusted to handle Medicare.

These are facts. And no amount of deception on the debate stage will
change that.

Joining me now is Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

Our latest NBC poll shows, Senator Brown, with a nine point lead over
his Republican challenger.

Senator, thanks for coming on the show tonight, first of all.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back Reverend Sharpton.
Thank you very much.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you a question. Do voters in Ohio care more
about performance or policy?

BROWN: They care about policy and you can look on a whole host of
issues. You start in Ohio with the auto rescue. And President Obama knows
that 800,000 jobs in Ohio are connected to the auto industry directly or
indirectly. Tens of thousands probably hundreds of those were in jeopardy
when he took office in 2009.

Now, we see the auto industry coming back and you can whether my
opponent or Mitt Romney, they were on the wrong side of the auto rescue and
nothing builds the middle class in Ohio better than a vibrant auto
industry. And I wish they had debated it last night. I wish you could
have seek -- people could have seen the stark difference between their way
of kind of tax cuts for the rich trickle down, although Romney denied that,
but versus starting with the middle class and working families and building
out. That`s the way you grow the economy. That`s what we are doing in
Ohio. That`s why the unemployment rates down. Not good enough, nut that`s
why we`re coming back.

SHARPTON: Now in Ohio, the auto industry is very important there.
And Mr. Romney said let Detroit go bankrupt and Mr. Romney and your
opponent were not for the bailout. As you move around the state in your
race, what are you hearing from people around these kinds of issues,

BROWN: Well, I`m hearing how important the auto rescue was and is. I
was at Columbus castings today, one of the oldest company, 110-year-old
company on Parsons Avenue in Columbus. They care about China and enforcing
trade rules and standing up on currency.

We did a discussion with a bunch of workers and with leaders and
management in the company both about how important my bill is, largest
bipartisan jobs bill that passed the Senate.

Speaker Boehner won`t move on it. We`re asking people to organize at
sherrodbrown.com, sign up to make sure that we can level the playing field
with China. That`s clearly what President Obama is doing on enforcing
trade rules. It`s important we`re aggressive there. Just to make China
play fair, we do that, American workers in American companies like Columbus
castings can do just fine competing internationally. That`s all we ask is
a level playing field.

I want a president that will stand with me on that with Ohio workers,
with Ohio companies. You can see that throughout the Midwest. That`s one
reason I think the president is doing pretty well in this state.

SHARPTON: Now, the president is doing well in Ohio. You heard the
president last night with Mr. Romney. Mr. Romney being a different Mr.
Romney than we`ve seen him for the last 18 months or the last section

Do you think even with the new hit Romney that showed up last night
when he starts talking about states` rights, when he starts talking about
regulation or deregulation, when he starts saying he doesn`t advocate $5
trillion tax cut when in fact the numbers prove that he does and has been
advocating that, will that resonate with independent voters and/or
undecided voters in your state of Ohio?

BROWN: I don`t think so. I think people realize that governor Romney
is still wrong on Medicare and still wrong on trade and still wrong on jobs
and still wrong on the middle class. I think that`s increasingly clear.

Again, it goes back to which path do you go. Do you want to go back
to the trickledown economics you give tax cuts to the rich and hope it
helps the middle class or do you focus on the middle class and that`s trait
enforcement, it`s job training at community colleges like Columbus State
and Sinclair. It`s working on auto trade, all of those issues that really
do help a vibrant middle class grow. And the economy grows out from there.
And I think that`s the fork in the road in this election. Whether it`s a
Senate race in Ohio or whether the presidential race nationally.

SHARPTON: Senator, I`m going to ask to look in the camera and I`m
going to ask you to answer me directly. Will Barack Obama and Sherrod
Brown win Ohio?

BROWN: Yes, I think we both will. I think that - and so goes Ohio,
so goes the nation. And President Obama is doing well here because he
makes a distinction. Are you for the middle class or are you for helping
the 47 percent and hoping it trickles down. And I heard the five percent
and hope it trickles down. And the voters don`t think that way.

The voters ultimately don`t look at conservative/liberal, they look at
who is on your side and it`s pretty clear in the race for the Senate and
Ohio, that`s why so many people are coming up to sherrodbrown.com and
signing up to help us and it`s pretty clear with the presidential race.

SHARPTON: Well, no Republican ever won without winning Ohio.

Senator Sherrod Brown, thanks for your time tonight.

BROWN: My pleasure. Thanks Reverend Al.

SHARPTON: Still ahead, save big bird. He`s now working for food.
He`s on the unemployment line. So what is with Governor Romney`s obsession
with firing big bird?

Plus, folks, we are putting up the facts that Mitt Romney
misrepresented about his plans. They`re on our facebook page. Please go
there. Check it out. Facts do matter.


SHARPTON: First he went after 47 percent of the country. But now Mitt
Romney is really playing ugly. He wants to take down big bird. Ouch!
That foul story is next.


SHARPTON: As we`ve been saying last night, Mitt Romney did a real job
on the truth. But then he got really low. He went out to big bird.


stop to subsidy to PBS, I`m going to stop other things I like PBS. I love
Big Bird, I actually like you too. But I`m not going to keep on spending
money on things to borrow money from China to pay for it.


SHARPTON: America, he loves Big Bird so much. He wants to fire him.
On twitter, Americans responded, it became a huge joke on-line as fake Big
Bird account attracted thousands of followers. Pictures like this made the
rounds, Big Bird holding a sign will work for food. And Big Bird on an old
time unemployment line. Here he is as part of the 47 percent. And the
count assuring Big Bird Romney`s math doesn`t add up.

And the Sesame Street gang warning Romney, you diss big bird, you diss
all of us. Sure it`s childish and it`s funny, but it`s serious, too. His
big plan to cut the deficit is to fire Big Bird? What did Big Bird ever do
to you? Tax cuts for big oil? No problem. Trillions for defense, go
right ahead. But Big Bird has to go. Get the bird who teaches our kids
out of here? The President responded today.


PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: Last night Governor Romney
ruled out raising a dime of taxes on anybody ever no matter how much money
they make, he ruled out closing the loophole that gives oil companies $4
billion in corporate welfare. And when he was asked what he`d actually do
to cut the deficit, and reduce spending, he said he`d eliminate funding for
public television.


We didn`t know that Big Bird was driving the federal deficit.


But that`s what we heard last night. The fact is Governor Romney`s
math just doesn`t add up.


SHARPTON: The math doesn`t add up? Umm. Maybe Mr. Romney needs a
little sesame street.

Joining me now is David Corn, Washington Bureau chief for Mother
Jones, and an MSNBC political analyst, and Michelle Cottle, Washington
correspondent for Newsweek/Daily Beast.

Thank you both for joining me.

DAVID CORN, AUTHOR, "SHOWDOWN": Good to be with you.


SHARPTON: Michelle, Mitt Romney doesn`t like to give specifics, but
when it comes to Big Bird, no problem.

COTTLE: Well, no problem except it was one of the few memorable
moments of the debates and everybody jumped on it and you have all of these
Big Bird jokes making the rounds which can get people thinking. So, what
else is he going to cut? I mean, he`s been very, very careful not to get
into specifics. And let`s face it, you know, firing Big Bird`s not going
to close the gaps in the numbers that he`s talking about. His budget is
going to call for cuts in lots of other very serious programs and you don`t
want people to start thinking about the specifics because while the idea of
cutting government always appeals, when you start talking about programs
that people like, they start to get really twitchy.

SHARPTON: Well, that may be why he won`t get specific, but I will.
Mr. Corn, let`s go to you. The federal subsidy for PBS in 2012 doesn`t
make up a huge part of this deficit. For example, 2012, the federal
subsidy for PBS was $444 million. If you compare that to Romney`s plan for
the federal budget, you`ll see how miniscule it is.

CORN: Right.

SHARPTON: PBS subsidy, $444 million. But if you look at the tax
breaks to oil and gas companies that Romney defended last night, those add
up to $4 billion this year alone. And take a look at Mitt Romney`s plan
for the defense budget. He wants to increase spending by $2 trillion over
the next ten years. So, I mean, Big Bird is a big diversion to what he`s
really talking about in terms of the deficit.

CORN: Well, I think those of us out here crave specifics from
Governor Romney. And when he`s talked about this in the past, he`s often
thrown Big Bird under the bus. Maybe, I don`t know what would happen if he
threw Big Bird under the bus. Maybe the bus would go off the road. But
never the less, he has this little set piece he does. Do you want to know
what I`ll cut? I`ll cut PBS and Big Bird, I`ll cut the National Endowment
of Humanities and I would cut the Amtrak subsidy. You add that all up,
those are the only specifics we`ve gotten out of him during this campaign
about budget cuts, and you get $2 billion mainly because the Amtrak subsidy
1.4, $2 billion.

That`s what you get. Two billion dollars when he`s talking about a $5
trillion tax break for the wealthy. So we`re about, you know, 1/10 of one
percent of what he wants to do here. And the President I think missed his
opportunity last night to try to pin him down on this as well as the tax
deductions and we talked about that earlier with Robert Shrum.


CORN: But eventually, you know, people have to sit down and look at
the math.

SHARPTON: Well, let me show you, Michelle. The President came back
today because really, this is fairness and priorities. Let me show you
what he did say today in Denver.


SHARPTON: This country doesn`t succeed when we only see the rich
getting richer, we succeed when the middle class gets bigger. We grow our
economy not from the top down, but from the middle out. We don`t believe
that anybody`s entitled to success in this country but we do believe in
something called opportunity. We believe in a country where hard work pays
off and where responsibility were rewarded and everybody is getting a fair
shot and everybody is doing their fair share and everybody plays by the
same rules.


That`s the country we believe in. Here in America, we believe we`re
all in this together. We understand America`s not about what can be done
for us, it`s about what can be done by us together as one nation and as one


You understand that.


SHARPTON: Michelle, did Romney inadvertently leave an opening for the
President by committing himself to some of the things that he really has
not represented and really represented the other side, and by saying some
things last night the hard right really doesn`t agree with?

COTTLE: Well, it was a different Romney everyone`s been pointing out.
I mean, the people I was watching the debate with were screaming at the
screen. And I`m not talking about liberal Obama supporters. Just about
the inconsistencies that Romney was talking about. You know, he`s claiming
he would never consider tax cuts for the upper brackets. So that, you
know, things like this that I think people are going to smack him for his
lack of consistency and everybody`s going to be talking about, you know,
where did this Romney come from and he`s got make his base.

Maybe, a little nervous, although I`m sure he did it with a wink wink.
At this point, he`s done so much to kind of assure them that he`s on their
team including picking Paul Ryan that I`m not sure they`re that concerned
about him anymore. But if Obama is smart, he`ll take this smack upside the
head to get fired up again and go out there and start reminding people,
which he should have done last night, about kind of what Romney has been
campaigning on for the previous 18 months.

SHARPTON: Well, let`s take what Michelle just said, David.


SHARPTON: Ryan. He`s got to face Joe Biden next week. With all of
the things that the new minted Mitt Romney said last night. Joe Biden who
is a very feisty debater brings it to Ryan. Doesn`t Ryan have a problem in
the debate next week agreeing with some of the things that the new Mitt
Romney came with last night?

CORN: Well, you know, we all yearn for good vice presidential
debates, but the truth of the matter is, they really don`t matter. And if
the Dan Quayle-Lloyd Bentsen debate didn`t make a difference, I`m not sure
this one is going to --

SHARPTON: But more people watch the last vice presidential debate
with Palin than watch the debates between McCain and the President. So, we
don`t know if they don`t matter.

CORN: Well, Sarah Palin was sort of, people watched it the way you
watch a NASCAR race with a fascination that there may be an accident or a
wreck. But, you know, with the debate coming up, I mean, there is this
tension on the ticket, republican ticket, between Paul Ryan who campaigns
and gave the speech, remember at the convention, there was archly
ideological about creating a new world that the President has described at
Darwinian and pessimistic and dark. And he gives Joe Biden a lot of lines
of attack on the Ryan budget, the Medicare plan and all those things.

The one thing that Ryan has done for the last two years has been very,
very, very, did I say very? Very specific about all these things. So, he
can`t, you know, do the Pirouette the way Mitt Romney did, but I think what
Joe Biden`s task is going to be is this sort of blew right past Ryan and to
use, you know, to use this occasion to go after the guy he`s running with.
I mean, people don`t really care that much about Ryan, only that he`s a
stand-in --

SHARPTON: You know, that was my point, he`s going to have a hard time
defending some of the things that Mr. Romney said last night. But guess
what, we`ll be watching.

CORN: Sure, we`ll be.

SHARPTON: David Corn and Michelle Cottle, thanks for your time tonight.

CORN: My pleasure.

COTTLE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: And if you liked those big bird photos, head over to our
Facebook page. We have them all posted there and the facts of Romney`s
wrong priorities.

Coming up. Disrespect against President Obama. A top Romney
surrogate calls the president of the United States lazy. It`s time for

And a criminal probe launched against Republicans committing voter
fraud. Big story out of Florida tonight. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: Ugly talk from a top Romney surrogate. Will the Governor
disavow that talk? That`s next.


SHARPTON: We`re back with the Romney team going ugly. Romney`s
campaign co-chair former New Hampshire Governor John Sununu describing
President Obama`s debate performance today.


FMR. GOV. JOHN SUNUNU (R), NEW HAMPSHIRE: He has been lazy and
disengaged and has no idea, not only of his own policies, but has no idea
what Mitt Romney`s real policies are.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: You don`t think there will be a better prepared
President Obama on stage next week?

SUNUNU: When you`re not that bright, you can`t get better prepared.


SHARPTON: Lazy. Not that bright. This is the president of the
United States he`s talking about. He was later pressed about the comment
on this network.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: Did you really mean to call Barack Obama, the
President of the United States lazy?

SUNUNU: Yes. I think you saw him admit it the night before when he
delivered the pizzas. He said, you know, they`re making me do this work.
He didn`t want to prepare for this debate. He`s lazy and disengaged.


SHARPTON: Now, we`ve seen this disrespect right from day one. It
cannot be tolerated. Mitt Romney must denounce Sununu`s ugly talk.

Joining me now, Jonathan Capehart, opinion writer from the "Washington
Post," and an MSNBC contributor. And Victoria DeFrancesco Soto, a fellow
at the University of Texas and an MSNBC contributor.

Thanks to both of you for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Jonathan, calling the President lazy. How does Governor
Romney allow this to be said on his behalf?

CAPEHART: He just allows to be said. This isn`t the first time
Governor Sununu -- John Sununu has said impertinent things about the
President. Remember a few months back, he said that the President didn`t
know what it meant to be an American, questioning the President`s American-
ness, which ties into the whole birther conspiracy, racist conspiracy lie
about the president that somehow he was not born in this country and,
therefore, is occupying illegally the Oval Office as president of the
United States.

And yet there was nothing out of the Romney campaign or from the
candidate himself denouncing what this sort of cranky uncle of the
Republican Party had to say. But, you know, John Sununu isn`t the only
person in the Republican Party saying impertinent things, disrespectful
things about the President and yet no one of any stature in the Republican
Party has, you know, had the guts to stand up and say enough of this.

SHARPTON: Now, that`s my point, Victoria. You`ve got Sununu,
September failed, said he failed to maintain respect for the United States.
This is Sununu about the President. And then July, as Jonathan said, I
wish this president would learn how to be an American. July again, he
says, he spent his early days in Hawaii smoking something. Romney nor any
prominent republican has denounced this. You`ve got the birthers, you`ve
got Joe Wilson and you like, and the media has not pressed Romney on
whether or not he condones or condemns these kinds of statements.

SOTO: You know, these petty and personal remarks sadly are not
uncharacteristic of John Sununu. He has taken up the mantle and the GOP as
a provocateur. You know, but electorally speaking, strategy wise, I think
this is going to backfire for the Romney camp. Coming off of the win that
he had last night, what he ideally wants is a focused message and
disciplined surrogates. He doesn`t want a side show. What`s going to
happen is those independent voters, those more moderate voters that Romney
so desperately needs in the swing states of Ohio, of Pennsylvania, are
going to hear these ugly comments and they`re going to walk away from him.
They don`t like the substance and then you add on the style and it`s just
going to further alienate.

SHARPTON: Jonathan, there`s also policy. Mitt Romney`s welfare ad
claims the President dropped work requirements from welfare. Let me splay
you t play you the ad.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: President Obama quietly announced a plan for gut
welfare reform by dropping work requirements. Under Obama`s plan, you
wouldn`t have to work and wouldn`t have to train for a job. They just send
you your welfare check. And welfare to work goes back to being plain old

SHARPTON: Now, fact checkers have completely debunked the claim, but
Romney stands by it. But also, Jonathan, doesn`t this also play into the
stereotypes welfare for no work, lazy?


SHARPTON: I mean, soon we`ll hear lazy and shiftless, I guess.


Isn`t this all the same kind of things implied?

CAPEHART: Oh, oh, absolutely. And even after the fact checkers came
back and said, hey, Governor Romney, you and your campaign are running a
blatantly false ad, they`re still running it. And it`s all part of this,
you know, continuing effort on the Romney campaign`s part to excite a base
that up until last night wasn`t terribly excited about its nominee. And
the fact that Mitt Romney is still playing to his base and rather
reactionary sliver of his base, you know, at this late date meaning during
the general election doesn`t say very much about his campaign, it doesn`t
say very much about his chances quite frankly.

SHARPTON: And go back to what I said before, Victoria. The media is
not pressing Romney on it. I mean, they`ll go on the right and get five-
year-old tapes that everyone already heard and try to make something out of
something the president says. Here you have new things being said weekly,
almost daily, and no one is saying Mr. Romney, how do you deal with the
statements of your surrogates and what you`re impressively saying in your
own ads.

SOTO: You know, Reverend, I`m just so puzzled by this ad because on
the one hand, you have the Republicans saying that they really want
revolution, that they want more states` rights, that they want their states
to be lavatories of innovation, that they want more liberty. So, the
president is giving them that liberty. Here, you can work with this. Last
night, we saw Governor Romney talk extensively about how he has had the
liberty at the state level to work with education and health care, but when
it comes to welfare, they reject that.

And also last night, Reverend, you made an excellent point by saying,
you know, states` rights also entail an ugly underbelly to it, which is the
curtailment of individual rights for females, for immigrants and for poor
folks. So they want to have their cake and eat it, too when it comes to
say its rights.

SHARPTON: Thank you for saying that because states` rights is the
justification that has been used on every fight for civil rights, women
rights, states` rights is really, really antithetical to both. The
national government has had to protect a lot of citizens against states`
rights and for him to go unchallenged by that to me was unthinkable last
night. Jonathan, Victoria, thank you for your time tonight.

CAPEHART: Thanks, Rev.

SOTO: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: A criminal probe launched against Republicans committing
voter fraud. Big story. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, a criminal investigation is under way in
Florida. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is probing a republican
voter registration firm that was hired by the Republican National
Committee. We reported about strategic allied consulting. The firm`s
accused of registering dead people as GOP voters on submitting
registrations with fake addresses, and of having similar looking signatures
on voter forms. The firm`s run by Nathan Sproul.

In the past, he`s been investigated for tricking Democrats in to
registering as Republicans, secretly re-registering Democrats as
Republicans and shredding democratic registration forms. He`s never been
charged or convicted. But knowing this, the RNC still hired him to run
voter registration. And day after day, we`re learning about GOP voter
fraud. Today a newly uncovered video shows the GOP training poll
challenges in New Mexico on illegal voter suppression tactics. It was
recorded last week showing a Tea Party leader giving misleading information
about voting rights.


POLL CHALLENGER: What happens if we get people in there who are part
of what the media`s calling the purge?

GOP TRAINER: They`ll not going to -- they`ll vote provisional.


SHARPTON: Not true. With a provisional ballot, there`s a chance a
vote won`t count. And last week a woman was caught on camera registering
only republican voters. She worked for Nathan Sproul`s group. We`ve got
to keep our eye on the ball. The integrity of the voting process matters.
Which is why last night`s debate was so important when Mitt Romney stood
there talking about states` rights. States` rights is what was fought
against to get the voting rights in `65 where Alabama wanted the right to
determine who would vote and how. We need a strong national government to
support strong American people.

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


Transcription Copyright 2012 ASC LLC ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No license is
granted to the user of this material other than for research. User may not
reproduce or redistribute the material except for user`s personal or
internal use and, in such case, only one copy may be printed, nor shall
user use any material for commercial purposes or in any fashion that may
infringe upon MSNBC and ASC LLC`s copyright or other proprietary rights or
interests in the material. This is not a legal transcript for purposes of