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PoliticsNation, Thursday, October 11th, 2012

October 11, 2012

Guests: Zerlina Maxwell; Laura Bassett, Ted Strickland, David Corn, Dana Milbank, Erin McPike

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

Tonight`s lead, fight night in Kentucky. Less than three hours until
Biden versus Ryan. The stakes couldn`t be higher. Both sides are pumped
up. Paul Ryan seems especially pumped up.


could become as a Saudi we were never ever intended to be. We could become
a society where the net majority of Americans are takers, not makers.
Seventy percent of Americans want the American believe. They believe the
American idea.


SHARPTON: Ready to rumble. Watch out, Uncle Joe. Actually, "Time"
magazine released these photos today showing Congressman Ryan pumping iron
last December, not exactly the images he wants out the night before he
needs to prove that he`s ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Ryan`s workout routine probably won`t come up tonight, but his macho
vision for the country will and it should. Ryan and Romney are pushing a
radical remaking of the social contract that Americans have relied on for
many decades. It`s a vision and includes a budget where 62 percent of the
cuts come from the poor. Cuts to Medicaid, cuts to food stamps, Pell
grants, all while pay offs to the defense department and the oil industry
continue as usual. Ryan will have to defend that record tonight and he
will have to defend comments like these.


RYAN: Before too long we could become a society that we were never
ever intended to be. We could become a society where the net majority of
Americans are takers, not makers. Seventy percent of Americans wan the
American dream. They believe the American idea. Only 30 percent want the
welfare state.


SHARPTON: Takers and makers. It`s a distorted view of the American
people and a deeply cynical one and it will be challenged tonight by
another view.


different values set than these guys do. We believe America does well.
America`s always prospered when hard work is rewarded. When everyone has a
fair shot. Everyone plays by the same rules. Everyone gets a fair shake.
Where everyone is held accountable, rich and poor.



SHARPTON: Republicans are always saying they want to talk about
values. Well, tonight, Paul Ryan is going to have to defend the values
underlying his policies, whether he likes it or not.

Joining me now is Chris Hayes, host of "Up with Chris Hayes" here on
MSNBC and author of the book "twilight of the elites" and Krystal Ball, co-
host of "the Cycle" also on MSNBC.

Thank you both for being here this evening.



SHARPTON: Chris, let me start with you. Does vice president Biden
need to point to the values of fairness in the Ryan plan and now the
Romney/Ryan plan?

HAYES: Yes. I think one of the things that was so remarkable and
frustrating about the performance in the presidential debate was that
Romney seemed to essentially disown anything that he had previously
advocated or within his record that was now unpopular. He pulled this
remarkable u-turn. Paul Ryan, it`s going to be much harder for him to do
that. He took the votes on un-popular things. He wrote the Ryan plan.


HAYES: He can`t run away from the plan that bears his name, the plan
that bears his name that would voucherize Medicare. The plan there is his
name, two-thirds of which would have cuts to prevention reform. So I think
the key is for Joe Biden to take the modern Republican Party, particularly
the modern Republican house caucus and hang it around the neck of Paul

SHARPTON: Well, Ryan wrote the budget, as you said, and Ryan is named
after -- and he is the one that made some of these votes. Kind of hard to
run away from it.

And Krystal, when you look at his record, it seems right for pickings.
His budget raises taxes on the poor. It makes seniors pay $6400 more for
Medicare coverage, all while giving millionaires a $265,000 tax break.
Meanwhile, he voted for defense cuts he blames on President Obama and Mr.
Fiscal conservative voted to increase the debt ceiling by $4 trillion under
President Bush. Seems like right pickens (ph) to me, Krystal.

BALL: Yes. I think that is exactly right. And Joe Biden might have
the higher stake to night, but I think Paul Ryan has the tougher self.
Because frankly, he can`t be directly honest about his budget, about his
plans or Mitt Romney`s plan because they are toxic. It is not popular to
fund tax cuts for the rich on the backs of the poor. That is not something
that sells in this election.

On the other hand, Biden and Obama have been very consistent and their
policies are broadly popular. They are talking about restoring the middle
class. They are talking about the American dream. They have a balanced
plan that makes sense to Americans.

So I think it is very tough for Paul Ryan, not only does he have to
defend his own budget , he has to defend Mitt Romney`s plans and he has to
be able to reconcile the differences between what Mitt Romney has been
selling and what his actual policies are.

SHARPTON: Now, meanwhile, Governor Romney, Chris, says that people in
the country don`t die from lack of health insurance. I`m going to read a
quote. He says "we don`t have a setting across this country where if you
don`t have insurance, we just say to you, tough luck, you`re going to die
when you have your heart attack. No, you go to the hospital. You get
treated. You get care and it`s paid for either by charity, the government,
or by the hospital. We don`t have people that become ill who die in their
apartment because they don`t have insurance."

HAYES: Well, that`s not true.

SHARPTON: That`s a quote.

HAYES: Yes. It is not true. I mean, first of all, we know from
several studies that tens and thousands of Americans every year die
prematurely from lack of health insurance. One started study by Harvard
University puts that number 45,000. There are other lower estimates

SHARPTON: And a couple higher.

HAYES: And a couple of higher estimates. The other thing is that,
that is no way, it seems that what Mitt Romney is doing is something that I
haven`t heard a single major political figure ever do, which is endorse the
current health care status quo. The current health care status quo, and
you can talk to hospital administrators, you can talk to the folks that run
catholic charities, you can talk to people in Medicaid, and its governors.
The current status quo and with people who are very sick show up in
emergency rooms and then someone has to put that bill, is the least
efficient, least human, most expensive way of delivering health care.
That`s precisely the part of the status quo that everyone agrees, is broken
that we should do away with and, in fact, was one of the main drivers for
Romney`s own health care plan in Massachusetts.

SHARPTON: Exactly. It`s agreed to by both parties.

HAYES: Everyone. No one says that it`s a great system, people wait
to get care until the emergency room.

SHARPTON: Aside from services with emergency rooms where you could
sit there forever and it`s an amazing show of how detached he is of the
average life of an American.

But let me go back to you, Krystal, because we talked about his
opponent, Mr. Ryan. But, let`s talk about Biden. Biden has always been
able to sell himself as a president who can relate to the middle class.
Listen to him doing the 2008 debate.


what it`s like to be a single parent. When my wife and daughter died and
my two sons were gravely injured. I understand what it`s like as a parent
to wonder whether it is like if your kid is going to make it. The notion
that somehow because I`m a man, I don`t know what it`s like to raise two
kids alone. I know what it`s like to have a child who is not sure if he is
going to make it. I understand. I understand as well as, with all due
respect, the governor or anybody else what it is like for those people
sitting around that kitchen table and, guess what, they are looking for
help. They are looking for help.


SHARPTON: That is one of the strong suits, I think, of vice president
Biden. He can relate and he`s gone through experiences that make him even
more compassionate than your average politician, Krystal.

BALL: I think you`re exactly right. And it should be pointed out,
too, that it takes a lot of courage to be that vulnerable in front of the
American people and lay yourself bare like that and Joe Biden is very
generous with himself in that way.

But, I would also point out, if you go back and look at the 2008
debate, not only did he connect very well on a personal level, but he knew
what he was talking about in terms of the facts, figures, he knew McCain `s
record inside and out, he knew Barack Obama`s record inside and out, and I
think he will be prepared on every level to deal with whatever incarnation
of Paul Ryan shows up tonight.

SHARPTON: And one of the things, Chris, and I`m running out of time.
But I have to raise this to you. Ryan also is at odds with his own running
mate on a lot of issues. It`s going to be interesting to see if anything
like that comes up. On Medicare, Romney criticizes healthcare law and $716
billion in Medicare savings, but Ryan`s budget assumes the exact same
savings. Romney says he is not cutting education funding, but the Ryan
budget leads to long-term spending cuts in education. Ryan opposed auto
bailout while Ryan voted for. I mean, how will that be handled if these
comes up tonight, the Ryan/Romney --?

HAYES: The fascinating question to me is this is someone who has been
a hero of right wing sort of ideologues from the jump. That is who is.


HAYES: The question is, is he going to go out there and sell all that
out Is he going to go out there before the American people and basically
renounce what his entire career has been, which is working in right-wing
thin tanks and working as part of the right-wing House of Republican caucus
and being a champion. Is he going to sell that out on the national stage?
So, it is really fascinating.

SHARPTON: We will be watching. Chris Hayes and Krystal Ball. Thanks
for your time tonight.

Catch "Up with Chris Hayes" Saturdays and Sundays from 8:00 a.m. to
10:00 a.m. eastern and Krystal on "the Cycle" weekdays at 3:00 p. m. right
here on MSNBC.

Coming up, shocking comments from an ally of Paul Ryan. Comments that
are now forcing Mr. Ryan to drop his old friend after he says, quote, "some
girls rate easy."

Plus, new problems for moderate Mitt Romney. A new tape from three
years ago surfaces. This time, he`s praising Glen Beck.

And great news, things are getting better so the right-wing conspiracy
theorists have hit the halls of Congress.

You`re watching a special edition of "Politics Nation." as we get
ready for the big vice president debate in Kentucky, on the place for
politics, MSNBC.


BIDEN: Look, the people in my neighborhood, they get it. They get
it. These people know the middle class has gotten the short end. The
wealthy have done very well. Corporate America has been rewarded. It`s
time we change it. Barack Obama will change it.



SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? Everyone is making their prediction for tonight`s debate.

Junior says, Biden looks ready.

Adjo says, Joe is going to do what he does best. Tell it like it is.

And we told you about this photo of Paul Ryan pumping iron in the new
issue of "Time." Well, we decided to have a caption contest.

Wilfredo`s caption, no time for facts. It`s muscle time.

We want your caption. Head over to facebook and search "Politics
Nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps going long after
the show ends and logon tonight to tell us what you think during the


SHARPTON: It`s less than three hours until the Biden/Ryan debate and
they may spar over a topic that wasn`t brought up in last week`s
presidential debate, women.

For the GOP, women`s issues are not their strong suit. Case in point,
a Wisconsin state lawmaker who has been caught relaying some troubling
advice from his father about women and rape. Roger Rivard told a Wisconsin
paper that his father said, quote "consensual sex can turn into rain in an
awful hurry. Some girls, they rape so easy."

It`s an offensive comment and bad news for Paul Ryan since he endorsed
Rivard in August. Month after those comments were originally published.
Today, Ryan`s campaign calls those comments outrageous and offensive and
says Congressman Ryan cannot support Mr. Rivard or his indefensible
comments. It all speaks to Ryan`s larger problem. His long record against
women`s rights.

He carries 78 anti-choice votes since he has been in Congress. He co-
sponsored 38 anti-choice measures. And he has 100 percent approval rating
from the national right to life committee. This record could really hurt
him and Democrats say it`s a key issue for the debate tonight.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), MINORITY LEADER: My best advice would be in
one word to Joe Biden, women. Talk about women.


SHARPTON: If vice president follows her advice, Paul Ryan may have a
lot of explaining to do.

Joining me now is Zerlina Maxwell, political analyst and contributor
to the Grio and Laura Bassett, a journalist who covers women`s issues for
the "the Huffington Post."

Thank you both for your time.



SHARPTON: Laura, let me go to you first. Will Paul Ryan defend his
records on women`s right tonight?

BASSETT: I think that Joe Biden learning from President Obama`s poor
performance in the debate is going to bring up women`s issues. And I think
that Paul Ryan will have some explaining to do. Of course, there`s his
record on abortion and contraception, his 59 anti-choice votes, I think
also wanting to turn Medicare into a voucher program. You know, that`s a
big women`s issue. The majority women outlive men. And so, Medicare
disproportionately helps women wanting to repeal Obama care, that`s going
to be a problem for women. So, I think that Paul Ryan is definitely going
to have to answer to some of these issues that are extremely important to

SHARPTON: Now Zerlina, on the other side of this, you have vice
president Biden who is on the trail, very often touted his record on women
and the president. Watch this.


BIDEN: I feel, as Barack does, this passion where my granddaughters
have every single, solitary right and opportunity my grandsons have. Every
single one. Whether equal pay for equal work, where we make sure women are
elevating, control over their own bodies, and control over their own


SHARPTON: A lot of passion backed up by a record in terms of his own
career and voting and his own advocacy.

MAXWELL: Yes. I think vice president Joe Biden is the perfect
spokesperson tonight in the debate to talk about women`s issue because he
was the original author of the violence against women act which still has
not been re-authorized a year later. And Paul Ryan voted against re-

And so, Biden is the perfect person to call Ryan out for his anti-
women views. And talk about, you know, who Paul Ryan`s friends are, why
are you friends with Todd Akin and Roger Rivard? Why are you friend with
(INAUDIBLE)? I mean, that`s what really we`re talking about. Who is the
real Paul Ryan here? Are you anti-women? Are you for women and women

SHARPTON: Laura, talking about Todd Akin as Zerlina brought up.
Here`s how Ryan responded to Todd Akin`s quote, "legitimate rape comments."


RYAN: His comments were outrageous, over the pail. I don`t know
anyone who would agree with that. Rape is rain. Period, end of story.


SHARPTON: Outrageous, over the pale. I don`t know anyone who would
agree with that. But, Paul Ryan himself is trying to redefine rape. In
2011 he co-sponsored two bills with the same congressman Todd Akin,
prohibiting federal funding of abortion. Those bills restricted the
definition of rape, the use of the term "forcible rape" as the only
exception for the ban. The word forcible was later removed from the bill,
but he and Akin signed on before the language was changed. According to
Ryan, unless it`s forcible rape, it`s not legitimate rape. What have you
distinguished rape from forcible rape ?

BASSETT: I think that`s a really good question. Of course, forcible
should be in the very definition of rape itself. Nobody want to be raped.
And I think that what gets lost among the outrage of all of these comments,
of course, Akin`s comments about all of these bodies showing down pregnancy
and his new comment about women who rape easy. You know, the comments are
obviously offensive and outrageous. But, I think what is more troubling
is, the policies that sort of subscribe to this belief that women can`t be
trusted when they say they have been raped. Either they are too stupid to
know they have been raped or they are lying and saying they have been
raped. And that`s why you need to sort to categorize forcible versus
whatever else you are going - whatever other kind of rape that they think
there is. I think that what is really going to be telling is whether these
congressmen who have made these comments are going to get re-elected, now
the people know how they really feel about these issues.

SHARPTON: Zerlina, is that the reason when you hear her say whether
they are going to be elected, look at the polls. Is that the reason you
see the president leading Romney among women in Virginia? He`s - among
women voters in Virginia, 16 points up over Romney, the president is. He`s
12 points up in Ohio, 13 points in Florida, ten points in Wisconsin, six
points in Colorado among women voters in those key swing states?

MAXWELL: Yes. It`s not only rape that we`re talking about. But, I
think that offends anyone whether you are woman or a man. But,
contraception is a huge issue. I mean, that is an economic issue that has
changed society in many ways. And so, women`s access to contraception is
the number one factor and it allows us to go from second class status to
first-class status. It allows us to make decisions and have autonomy, not
only over our bodies which is rape has takes that away when engage in some
perfect act. But also, autonomy over our decision and as far as our career
path and family planning.

SHARPTON: Laura Bassett and Zerlina Maxwell, thank you both for your

BASSETT: Thank you.

MAXWELL: Thanks you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, moderate Mitt. Meet 2009 Mitt. A new tape
surfaces with him praising Glenn Beck. But the questions don`t stop there.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" as we get ready for a big night here
on the place for politics.


SHARPTON: We`re back on "Politics Nation" with another Romney tape

Moderate Mitt might want to hear this. "Mother Jones" uncovered this
video showing governor Romney in a taped message he did for an unaccredited
Utah college, a fund-raiser back in 2009. And you will never guess who
Governor Romney was introducing as the very special guest of the night.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I`m pleased to be with you
at this evening, at least by video, at this event honoring the cause of
building statesman on behalf of George with the university. I`m proud
therefore to introduce to you, my friend and a statesman in his own right,
Glenn Beck.


SHARPTON: Wow, Glenn Beck with the statesman. Here is what the
statesman was saying about the president just weeks before the fund-raiser.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overseas? Obama is apologizing to the frenchy
(ph) French for our arrogance. You know, he is vowing to the Saudi Arabia
general king, I don`t know if you saw that on, OK? Oh, I almost forgot,
he`s also closing gismo (ph) and letting the terrorists on to the streets.

SHARPTON: Letting terrorists on to the streets. There`s a statement.
But the praise kept coming from Governor Romney.


ROMNEY: His approach is refreshing and that he tries to focus his
message on action, on actually making a difference on learning that
principles on freedom and liberty, standing up and making your voice heard,
on reading and applying the wisdom of our nation`s founders and to the
challenges of today.


SHARPTON: His approach is refreshing? Interesting. Let`s see how
refreshing it was right before that very same fund-raiser.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know what this president is doing right now?
He is addicting this country to heroin. He`s surrounding himself with
Marxist his whole life.

The government is full of vampires and they are trying to suck the
life blood out of the economy.


SHARPTON: Vampires? Really, Mr. Romney? This sucking up to the
right wing went too far. Nice try, moderate Mitt. But we got the tape and
we got you.


SHARPTON: Big news today from the conspiracy wing of the GOP. We
just can`t accept that the economy is getting better. FOX Business
reported that Congressman Darrell Issa wants to look into whether officials
are cooking the books on the job numbers in order to help the President


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Now Chairman Issa says, he wants to have hearings
on this. Take a listen.

REP. DARRELL ISSA (R), CALIFORNIA: The way it`s being done with the
constant revision, significant revision tells us that it`s not as exact a
science as it needs to be and there`s got to be a better way to get those
numbers or don`t put them out if they are going to be wrong by as much as
half a point.


SHARPTON: Hearings on the job numbers. Really? This would put Issa
in the company of conspiracy theorists like Jack Welch and Rush Limbaugh
and of course, Donald Trump. Issa quickly backtracked, his spokesman says,
quote, "The oversight committee has not announced or decided to hold
hearings on the September unemployment report. At no point did Issa say,
he has made plans to convene a hearing."

No plans? Sure about that? Because FOX Business later ran another
clip showing Issa talking about when he would hold the hearings that he
supposedly isn`t going to hold.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Well, now the top republican, that chairman of the
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Darrell Issa says, he wants
to hold hearings into the matter. Take a listen.

ISSA: We very much intend to work every day through the November and
December time to get these kinds of things done. We`re hoping that that`s
a good nonpartisan time and this is an issue where I think our committee
has important jurisdiction to make sure we get it right.


SHARPTON: Everyday through November and December. Sure sounds like
Issa wants those hearings to me. The truth is this. The economy is
getting better on jobs, on housing, and sale. And Republicans just can`t
accept it.

Joining me now is former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, national co-
chair for the Obama campaign. And David Corn, Washington bureau chief for
Mother Jones and an MSNBC political analyst. He`s the author of a new
EBook, "47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012
Election." Thank you both for joining me.



SHARPTON: Governor, let me go to you. Why are Republicans in denial
about the economy getting better?

STRICKLAND: Well, they know that this economy is improving and
consequently, the President is getting credit for it from the American
people and that alarms them just a few days, a few weeks before the
election. But we ought to be celebrating Reverend Al, the fact that Ohio
economy and other states are seeing improvement in their economies. This
is good for America. And whatever is good for America should please both
political parties and all candidates.

SHARPTON: Now, David, when you look at the fact that there`s clear
evidence of the economy getting better, when we look at the fact that in -
- if we go to better jobs helping the middle class, Virginia, Wisconsin,
Colorado, where the president is up, people are beginning to see the

CORN: They certainly are. And particularly in some of those
battleground states, including Governor Strickland in Ohio and such. So,
people are feeling that -- I also think that there comes a point in time,
while this is so psychological, that people start feeling bad about feeling
bad. And they want to look or pay more attention to the glimmers of hope
they can find. We`re still in sort of a half empty, half full situation
that the economy is -- there are these signs of improvement but they are
not going obviously as fast as anybody would like to see including
President Obama which still gives Mitt Romney this opening to say, hey,
yes, you know, things might be better. I can make them better.

That is an un-testable proposition. So, he`s still out there saying,
listen, you know, it would have been better if I`ve been president and will
be better if I`m president. And so, folks out there who are not satisfied
who don`t feel you will still remain frustrated at the slow recovery, you
know, can still turn to him. And that`s in the basic dynamic of this
campaign from the get-go and that`s why I think it`s still close and will
be close to Election Day.

SHARPTON: But Governor, the fact is that the facts are showing that
the economy is moving in the right direction and the more it does the less
we have a rationale for Romney`s campaign. We just got some new number
showing the economy is definitely on the right track. New numbers coming
out today.


SHARPTON: Weekly jobless claims at 339,000.


SHARPTON: That`s the best in four-and-a-half-years. We have
September foreclosures. We`re 180,427. That`s the lowest numbers in five
years. September auto sales was 1.9 million cars sold. That`s the best in
four years. Now clearly we want these numbers better but when you are
breaking the last four-and-a-half-years, five years, four-year records, you
can`t say that we are not recovering and moving in the right direction.

STRICKLAND: Well, we are, Reverend Al and in part because of the
salvation of the auto industry. In Ohio and in other states that is so
hugely important. And Mitt Romney was on the wrong side of that issue and
today, there are men and women working in Ohio and in Michigan and Indiana
and elsewhere who would not be working if the president had not taken the
leadership, made the tough, the courageous decision to save the industry.

Mitt Romney said, let Detroit go bankrupt. Ohioans have not forgotten
that and furthermore, the only thing that Mitt Romney wants to do in terms
of moving the economy forward is to take us back to the same policies that
were followed and embraced by the George Bush administration.


STRICKLAND: That`s really quite frankly what led to this recession in
the first place. Ohioans are commonsense folks, I believe Americans are
and that`s this president is getting the support that he`s getting.

SHARPTON: Now, the latest poll in Ohio has the president at 51
percent and Mitt Romney at 45 percent. Does that reflect what you think
would happen, Governor, in your state?

STRICKLAND: Oh, listen, I am so happy with where we are in Ohio right
now. Governor Romney has been living in Ohio over the last several days.
But it`s not doing him any good. Ohioans understand that our economy is
coming back because of the recovery act, because of the auto industry, and
because of the policies that this president is pursuing. They also
understand and I repeat myself, Reverend Al, they don`t want to go back to
the policies that led to this recession.

They understand that President Obama is the person who is fighting to
save Social Security, to keep them from voucher rising Medicare, to
providing Pell Grant assistance to our students. The president is on the
side of working people. Mitt Romney in the most -- quite frankly,
disturbing way, said that 47 percent of us don`t count. And Ohioans heard
that from his own lips, from his own voice, and they haven`t forgotten
that. They understand that Barack Obama is on the side of the working

SHARPTON: David, can Mitt Romney win without Ohio? If Barack Obama,
the president, wins Ohio, no republican ever won without Ohio. Can Romney
win without Ohio?

CORN: It looks like his campaign believes that he can`t, given the
amount of time -- not only that he`s spending in the great State of Ohio
but Ryan as well. I mean, they`ve been double-teaming the state. Often
you kind of split up candidates to cover more grounds. So, they obviously
think it`s very crucial. The electoral math becomes exceedingly difficult.
And it has to draw sort of an inside straight if he doesn`t have Ohio. And
I really think it does bow down a lot to the auto bailout. It`s
interesting how Ohio, the gap there is much larger, it has even though it`s
gotten little small the last few days than the other swing states.

People in Ohio are seeing this race in a different way than other
people in swing states and it`s a place where Mitt Romney is just having
the hardest time, you know, counting Barack Obama. And I think it does go
back to the bailout. Maybe a little bit to the recovery act. And it`s a
place for the Obama strategy of tailoring its campaign to different states.
Seems to be working quite well and was very much a quite smart way to go
about doing it.

SHARPTON: Governor Ted Strickland, David Corn, thank you both for
your time tonight.

CORN: Sure thing.

STRICKLAND: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the Biden/Ryan showdown. The big question
tonight, how aggressive will they be? Will there be a political knockout?
This is POLITICS NATION, on the place for politics, MSNBC.


neighborhood. Go back to my old neighborhood in Claymont, an old steel
town or go up to Scranton with me. These people know the middle class has
gotten the short end. The wealthy have done very well. Corporate America
has been rewarded. So it`s time we change it.


SHARPTON: Election Day is just 26 days away and voting is already
under way in more than half the states. We`ve reported all year the
Republicans efforts to suppress the vote. Now we need your help to make
sure voting runs smoothly. If you see or hear about any voting problems,
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Tweet us @POLITICSNATION with the hashtag protect the vote. If you`d
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to help us cover this important election and to protect the vote.


SHARPTON: We`re back with a big night in the world of politics. In
just over two hours, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will be on stage for their
first and only debate. The drama`s building. The expectations couldn`t be
higher. Will there be a political knockout? We don`t know but I guarantee
it`s a must see TV.

Joining me now is Dana Milbank, columnist for The Washington Post.
And Erin McPike, national political reporter for Real Clear Politics.
Thank you both for being here tonight.


DANA MILBANK, THE WASHINGTON POST: Good to be here, Reverend.

SHARPTON: Dana, what are you expecting from Joe Biden tonight? How
aggressive will he be?

MILBANK: Oh I think he`s going to be quite aggressive. And he`s got
to get out there and do a couple of things. Certainly to make up for
President Obama`s performance last week. He`s got to really tie Paul Ryan
to the House Republicans who are extremely unpopular, portray him as a
leader as the House Republicans particularly in the budget than other areas
and Joe Biden needs to engage people on a real guy level on a way that he
can relate to people. He needs to be careful not to be deep in the weeds
of policy. Easy to get into that kind of debate with Paul Ryan. That`s
not going to win this debate for him.

SHARPTON: Now, Erin, Mr. Ryan has never been in a national debate but
he`s debated. Let me show you a 2010 debate he had with Congressman Debbie
Wasserman Schultz live on CNN. Take a look at his debate style then.


budget plan to get the consensus of one person in congress, me. I didn`t
put out a budget plan to get a consensus of the majority of Congress, but
here`s the point that I was trying to get -- I was trying to get this
discussion about entitlements and debt crisis at an adult level, clearly
that`s not happening. I`d like to get to an adult level conversation but
apparently we`re not having that --

conversation to invest Social Security in Wall Street? If that had
happened in the last couple of years, Paul, that would have ended to
protect what people have in the twilight of their life, as you know it.

RYAN: Giving young people the option of having the same retirement
you and I have Debbie if they want it or not. If it`s good for us in
Congress, why isn`t it good enough for anybody else? I mean, look, our --

SCHULTZ: Our Social Security is the same as everybody else`s in the
entire country and you know it.


SHARPTON: A little over the top, Erin.

MCPIKE: Yes. I don`t think that`s exactly what we`re going to see
from Paul Ryan tonight. I think what we`ll see instead is that Paul Ryan
will channel the performances that he gave in earlier 2010 at a republican
retreat in Baltimore that the president showed up to and also a health care
summit at the Blair house in early 2010 when the parties were talking about
health care reform and those two events Paul Ryan went head to head with
President Obama and was seen by many Democrats as the smartest, most
capable republican in the room. And that`s the kind of Paul Ryan he`s
going to channel tonight, at least that`s what the campaign is telling him
to do.

SHARPTON: Well, Dana, the vice president has shown repeatedly that he
has a very strong capacity to connect mostly with Americans on some very
serious issues. Let me show you this.


BIDEN: Look, the people in my neighborhood, they get it. They get
it. These people know the middle class has gotten the short end. The
wealthy have done very well. Corporate America has been rewarded sometime.
We change it. Barack Obama will change it.

Let`s get to it, folks. The American people don`t give a darn about
any of this stuff that is going on up here. Look, they are sitting down,
seriously, think about it, they`re sitting down at their tables, they put
their kids to bed and they are worrying about whether or not their child is
going to run into a drug dealer on the way to school, they are worrying
about whether or not they`re going to be able to pay for their mortgage.

I understand what it`s like to sit around the kitchen table with a
father who says, I`ve got to leave, champ, because there`s no jobs here.


SHARPTON: That emotional connection with voters and working class
Americans, is that effective and do you think we`ll going to see a lot of
that tonight from the vice president, Dana?

MILBANK: Without a question. I think you`re going to get that kind
of personal appeal from both men on the stage and they both have that kind
of story to tell. I`m sure we`re going to hear plenty about Scranton,
Pennsylvania and Coal Country and maybe he`ll start talking about his Irish
ancestors again. I think you will get that. And I think Biden has
something of the same kind of advantage that Romney had last week and that
people are expecting Paul Ryan according to polls to do better tonight.
So, you want to go into a debate with lower expectations, that`s a good
position for Biden to be in because he is, in fact, very comfortable in
these settings.

SHARPTON: Now, Erin, he`s expected to do better. He told reporters
yesterday that he was nervous about tonight. Look at this.


RYAN: Joe Biden has been on this stage many times before. This is my
first time. So, sure, it`s a nervous situation because Joe Biden is one of
the most experienced debaters that we have in modern politics. But the
Achilles heel he has is President Obama`s record. And I`m really looking
forward to giving the American people a very clear choice.


SHARPTON: Nervous but says, he`s looking forward to it, Erin. What
do you think?

MCPIKE: What I heard from some of Paul Ryan`s aides today is that
they don`t know which Joe Biden is going to show up. Is it going to be the
affable likeable vice president that we know? Is it going to be the
scrappy guy from Scranton, Pennsylvania? Is it going to be sort of, the
gaffe prone Joe Biden, they just don`t know how Paul Ryan will necessarily
react to some of it. That`s the big concern and why he`s nervous.

SHARPTON: Now, let me ask you something, Dana, that a little
interesting to me. Apparently Mr. Ryan wants to be referred to tonight as
Mr. Ryan, not Congressman Ryan. Isn`t that a little strange?

MILBANK: No, it`s not strange at all, Reverend. I mean, the Congress
is about as, you know, popular as psycho killers right now, according to
polls. So, of course he doesn`t want to be associated with it.

SHARPTON: But that`s the only job he`s pretty much ever had.

MILBANK: Well, yes, I mean, that`s true. But I guess he`s entitled
to be called mister. But yes, and I don`t think Joe Biden is going to let
the audience forget that Paul Ryan has been in Congress these last dozen
years and he is a key figure in the house republican leadership that
Americans deeply are distressed.

SHARPTON: Yes. Well, Dana Milbank and Erin McPike, Mr. Sharpton
thanks you for your time tonight.

MILBANK: Thank you.

MCPIKE: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Enjoy the debate.

There`s a chance -- a chance Paul Ryan won`t tell the entire truth
tonight. How will Vice President Biden respond? That`s next.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, truth and consequences. For months, many
of us have been pointing out the Romney campaign relationship. Shall we
call it a casual relationship with the truth? On issue after issue, from
taxes to abortion rights to immigration, Mitt Romney has consistently
emulated his campaign`s most potent image, the etch-a-sketch and Paul Ryan
has been right there with them. Rape is rape said, the candidate who
previously co-sponsored legislation that drew a distinction, a legal
distinction between forcible rape and other kinds of rape.

But now facing voters who want the truth, the campaign has changed
tactics rather than fight the charge that Ryan/Romney are not telling the
truth, Republicans have a new idea and it`s a doozy. Simply attack the
President and Democrats for even questioning Mr. Romney`s truthfulness.


UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The other side, you know, oh, he lied his way
through that whole debate. How did you feel about that?

ANN ROMNEY, MITT ROMNEY`S WIFE: I mean, lied about what? This is
something he`s been saying all along. This is what he believes. I mean,
it`s sort of like someone that, you know, in the sandbox that like lost the
game and they`re just going to kick sand in someone`s face and say, you

RYAN: It seems pretty clear that their new strategy is basically just
call us liars to descend down into a mud pit and hopefully with enough mud
swinging back and forth and distortion, people will get demoralized and
then they can win by default.


SHARPTON: Karl Rove writes in "The Wall Street Journal," that quote,
"Alleging that Mr. Romney is a serial deceiver as the president and top
advisers are doing is a hard sell." Really? I must have watched a
different debate and a different campaign. Don`t believe me. Just listen
to him, both sides of him.


ROMNEY: There were so many misrepresentations that it`s going to take
me a while. Number one, I said today that we`re going to cut taxes on
everyone across the country by 20 percent, including the top one percent.

I will not reduce the share of high-income individuals. I know you
and your running mate keep saying that and I know it`s a popular thing to
say with a lot of people but it`s just not the case.


SHARPTON: Tonight, Vice President Biden needs to push past the spin.
Paul Ryan may not be able to handle it but millions of voters watching are
demanding it. Biden needs to be unequivocal and quickly dispel any lies.
My mother used to tell me, a lie can run a mile before the truth gets its
traction zone.

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


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