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PoliticsNation, Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Read the transcript from the Thursday show

November 15, 2012

Guests: Abby Huntsman; Dana Milbank; Joe Madison; James Carter IV

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

Tonight`s lead, the GOP `s Romney problem. There have been some
strange responses to the Republicans` election loss. But none has been
more cynical than that from Willard Mitt Romney and it has hit his party
hard. Romney`s claim, caught on tape, that the president won the election
because of gifts to minorities and young people has made a bad loss even
worse for Republicans. Portions of the tape were posted online, though
MSNBC doesn`t know exactly when the call took place.


president`s campaign did was focus on certain members of his base
coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and
then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote.

The giving away free stuff is a hard thing to compete with.


SHARPTON: Free stuff. It`s offensive. And it`s exactly what Romney
talked about in his 47 percent tape. It wasn`t a gaffe. It wasn`t a
mistake. We now know it`s exactly what this small-minded man believes.


ROMNEY: What the president did is he gave them two things. One, he
gave them a big gift on immigration, with the dream act and the amnesty
program. Number two, he put in place Obama care, which is -- which
basically is $10,000 a family. I mean, it`s a proven political strategy,
which is given a bunch of money from the government to a group. And guess
what, they`ll vote for you.


SHARPTON: In Romney`s world view passing laws and helping people get
a fair shake is quote "giving money to a group." But that wasn`t what our
leaders are elected to do. Romney and the Romney Republicans forget that
that is what they are elected and to forget that is to do so at your own

Joining me now is David Corn, "Mother Jones" Washington bureau chief
and MSNBC political analyst. His new e-book is about how he uncovered
Romney`s original 47 percent video. And Abby Huntsman, host and producer
of "Huff Post Live." Today she tweeted quote "Romney makes it sound like
Obama personally handed out fruit baskets to people to win the election."
You`re right about that, Abby. Thanks for joining me tonight.


SHARPTON: Abby, the Romney campaign put out a statement today saying
quote "Governor Romney was simply elaborating on what David Axelrod had
said about the Obama campaign`s effort to target key demographics, most
specifically women." What`s your reaction to that statement?

HUNTSMAN: Well, Reverend, I`m still waiting for my fruit basket. I`m
not only a woman but I`m a young voter. I never received one. But, I
think what we`re seeing here --


HUNTSMAN: What we`re seeing here, and David Corn will probably say
the same thing, is just a confirmation that he really does believe that 47
percent comment. He`s very much at home when he`s talking to his donors.

And moreover, I think what liberals are talking about this so-called
gift, when you give someone a gift you do it because you want to give it to
them, not because they necessarily need, it not because they necessarily
deserve it. So to suggest that by Obama providing Medicare to Americans,
to say that it`s the same thing as passing out fruit baskets is not only
inaccurate, I think it`s offensive to a lot of Americans. And I think it
reconfirms a lot of the reason people were unsure about Romney, this
language, this us versus them mentality. It`s also a case of sour grapes
is what we`re seeing.

SHARPTON: And he said about women, I`m quoting him, "free
contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women." I mean, Abby,
with all of the health implications and the seriousness connected with
contraceptives, you`re going to reduce that to a gift to get votes?

HUNTSMAN: I think this is exactly the reason why he was not
successful, why his campaign was not successful. It wasn`t a matter of
Obama giving out these so-called gifts. I think it was the language that
was used, not only among many Republicans but specifically with Romney. He
made a number of statements that I think frightened women that frightened
Latinos. It frightened these key groups that ultimately could not check
the box when they went to the voting booth on Election Day.

SHARPTON: Now, David, it seems that Romney`s not the only one touting
this kind of concept. Look at some of the right-wing pundits and people
that have influenced the right in this country. How they are on the basic
general same premise that he`s using. Watch this.

CORN: Sure.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: America in some ways is changing.


HANNITY: And it`s changing in this way, is that, you know, and it`s
the allure of free.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 50 percent of the voting public who want
stuff. They want things.

RUSH LIMBAUGH, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: They`re the party of free stuff.
They are the party of Santa.



CORN: You know, under their definition, under Mitt Romney`s
definition, Medicare is a gift. Social Security is a gift. Medicaid is a
gift. Veterans` assistance is a gift. And you know, that`s one reason why
he lost. Most Americans don`t see it that way.

I have to tell you, Reverend, when I first saw those 47 percent
remarks, it`s 67 seconds on that hour-long video I got, and I wondered, you
know, it was clear what he said. We came on -- I came on the show. We
talked about it. Everyone can judge for themselves. But I wondered to
what degree, whether this was Mitt Romney really saying what he believed or
saying what he thought the people in the room wanted to hear. That he was
talking to these rich folks who are resentful against people who aren`t as
successful as they are.

And when you tie that together with those comments about gifts, just
gifts, these people just want free stuff, that is what it`s all about, they
don`t care. He also said they don`t care about the big issues. They just
care about themselves and they`re just little money-grubbing moochers and
victims. It all ties together. We had a long debate during this campaign
whether Mitt Romney was a flip-flopper or a conservative, what he really
believed, whether he was just saying what he thought people wanted him to
say. I think you tie together the 47 percent rant with these gift remarks
and you have a really accurate picture of a man who almost became

SHARPTON: I think that the thing, though, that most disturbs me,
David, is the bigger picture here. When you look at the fact that the
election is over and one of the reasons that I wanted to highlight this is
that it`s a mindset that we`ve got to deal with, which is why it appealed
to other right-wingers. Romney feels that it`s perfectly all right -- let
me share his version of gifts.

To give tax cuts to corporations, tax cuts to millionaires, and
slashing regulations for big business. Those are not gifts because they
are supposed to have these things. They`re entitled to that. But if you
give health care to seniors, if you look out for people that need help, if
you look out for young people to get a way in life, if you provide health
needs for young women, that`s a gift. Like they`re less than equal to
these corporations and the rich. That kind of political philosophy is
dangerous and to me un-American.

CORN: Well, I think it is. I think it`s a version of class warfare.
When the president talks about making sure kids can get loans to go to
college or even forgiveness of loans so they don`t -- aren`t burdened by
debt, he`s doing this so that America has a vibrant and innovative economy,
that people -- we`re moving ahead. It`s not a handout. This is a way of
investing in our future as a nation.

SHARPTON: As well as giving incentives to --

CORN: Not to recognize that shows that he`s really living on a
different planet. And you know, that`s what this election boiled down to,
these very different views of visions and values for the nation. And he
has firmly planted the flag on the side of, you know, the rich get what
they get and everybody else --

SHARPTON: Because that -- we need to give incentives to business.
But we also must take care of Americans.

But Abby, I see a lot of the Republicans, particularly those that are
looking toward bringing the party back from a political loss and some who
are thinking about 16, seem to be running away from him. Bobby Jindal and
Scott Walker were quick to reject Romney today. Watch this.


GOV. BOBBY JINDAL (R), LOUISIANA: I absolutely reject that notion,
that description. I think that`s absolutely wrong. That is not -- I don`t
think that represents where we are as a party.

GOV. SCOTT WALKER (R), WISCONSIN: We`re the party that helps people
find a pathway to live the American dream. And it`s not just for people
who are currently not dependent on the government. It`s for all Americans.


SHARPTON: Abby, your father was considered by many to be too moderate
for these candidates that ran in this primary. Do you think that more
moderate voices in the Republican Party will stand up like we just saw
Jindal and, of all people, Scott Walker?

CORN: They`re not even moderates. They`re just reasonable.

HUNTSMAN: Right. Well, Reverend, my dad doesn`t look so crazy after
all, does he? I mean, what happened to authenticity? When I see some of
these GOP are speaking out such as governor Jindal --

SHARPTON: Who are not moderates. David`s right. Go ahead.

HUNTSMAN: Right. If you go back and read some of his tweets and some
of the statements during the primary and general election, you will see
he`s very far from moderate.

But this is not the first time that Governor Romney has made a comment
that turns people off, as David Corn talks about in his book. And in his
reporting about the 47 percent comment. Where were they then? I think a
lot of these people sat with their tail between their legs and didn`t have
the courage to say anything when it was not politically popular and now all
of a sudden Romney`s lost and he realized in order to win I`ve got to be
that moderate voice, I`ve got to take over as the same guy, the more
moderate guy.

And I have to take a step back and say I was there throughout this
whole process. I watched my dad run as the moderate candidate, and it`s
really sad to see the lack of authenticity that exists in the party today.
And I hope that people don`t see through it.

SHARPTON: I think that`s what it`s all about, is what is government
about and who are the real people in this country that -- and what they can
expect from the country that they live and love.

David, I`ve got to go. Abby, thank you so much for your time tonight.

Ahead, the roots of the gift and 47 percent comments began 30 years
ago. Tonight, you will hear newly uncovered tapes from Lee Atwater on the
Republican dog whistle on race. The man who uncovered the tape joins me.

And ding, ding, ding. Here we go again. It`s President Obama versus
John McCain. Seems to me the senator is breaking down.

Plus, move over, Rush. We have more conspiracy theories. Wait until
you hear what the GOP chair in Maine is saying about voter fraud.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


SHARPTON: Senator John McCain has been in the stall road on today.
But, I think he got the message from President Obama yesterday loud and
clear. That`s next.


SHARPTON: We`re back on "Politics Nation" with a question. What in
the world is going on with John McCain? A day after the president publicly
humiliated him for cowardly attacking U.N. ambassador Susan Rice, someone
who had nothing to do with the Libya tragedy, McCain was out looking for
another TV camera again. Hey, America. This is what bitterness looks


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: Four Americans died that didn`t have
to die. And for someone to go out and convey something that is absolutely
false to all America in my view that we as responsibility.

I don`t know how you logically assume that she had nothing to do with
Benghazi. The American people were told false information by her at the
direction of the White House.


SHARPTON: Now, we all know Ambassador Rice was stating the
intelligence that had been provided to her. But McCain wasn`t done.


MCCAIN: By the way, I`m not taking anybody on. The American people
have lost four brave Americans. We owe it to their families. We owe it to
other Americans who served. We`ll find out what happened. For the
president of the United States for two weeks afterwards to deny that that
was the case is either a cover-up or it is incompetence. Either one of the
two. I think the president of the United States has a lot to answer for.


SHARPTON: It`s Obama versus McCain. And this one is going to end the
same way the first one did.

Joining me now is Joan Walsh, editor at large for and an
MSNBC political analyst, and Rula Jebreal, a contributor to "Newsweek" and
"the Daily Beast" and an MSNBC contributor.

RULA JEBREAL, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Thanks to both of you for being here


Thank you for having us.

SHARPTON: Joan, what is going on with John McCain?

WALSH: I don`t know. He looks increasingly unhinged. I`m just going
to say it. He has let this get so personal, get to him so badly that he`s
really sacrificing a lot of the credibility he`s built up over the years.
Even with the mainstream media, Reverend Al, who tend to love John McCain.
He`s a regular guest on the Sunday shows. But it`s gotten so ugly and so
dismissive of both the president and Ambassador Rice.

I mean, in very personal terms that are going to stick and that, you
know, we all want to get to the bottom of what happened. There are still
some questions. There were questions when Susan Rice went out and talked
about it. But he`s distorting her statement. He`s absolutely distorting
what she said. And he`s also being incredibly dismissive and mean-
spirited. And it just looks personal.


JEBREAL: Actually, in a moment where the nation is asking both sides,
the government and the opposition, to work together because we have the
fiscal cliff, immigration reforms and many other issues.

Plus, McCain is the one that never questioned Condoleezza Rice when
that administration actually lied to the nation, lied to the nation about
Iraqi war, weapon of mass destruction, and cost the country hundreds of
millions of dollars, 5,000 soldiers were killed. These soldiers still, you
know, we have 40,000 veterans that came injured from that war. And in a
war that was a total lie.

Plus, McCain was the one that actually, he`s questioning Susan, the
ambassador. He didn`t question his running mate when he chose her. He
didn`t even ask her questions about foreign policy. She didn`t know that.
The prime - the UK has a prime minister. She didn`t know what the fed was.
She didn`t know what Russia -- what kind of policy she needed to have with

SHARPTON: But Rula, let`s be fair. Sarah Palin could see Russia from
her back yard. I mean --

JEBREAL: And that`s --

SHARPTON: But he says Susan Rice doesn`t know that much.

JEBREAL: Exactly. But, he`s the man that picked that woman. You
know what? He should reflect -- McCain should reflect about how you should
behave when you actually are beaten and defeated. With dignity. And you
should actually question yourself about your mistakes, about your choices,
and how the country wants you to behave from now on. The country chose
Barack Obama with a large margin.

WALSH: Twice.
JEBREAL: Twice. Not once. Twice. And that`s a message for him that he
needs to actually cooperate with Barack Obama, not attack him.

SHARPTON: Joan, as I said, he questioned what Ms. Rice, ambassador
rice knows. Let me explain. Ambassador Rice, now the U.N. ambassador to
the U.N., foreign policy adviser to John Kerry, Clinton administration `93
to 2001, a Rhodes scholar, a Ph.D. from Oxford University. I mean, as was
stated by Rula, he didn`t question Condoleezza Rice in 2005, when the whole
world was questioning whether there was weapons of mass destruction. It
was accepted that she was stating what was given to her.

WALSH: Right.

SHARPTON: All Miss Rice did now, Susan Rice, was state what she was
briefed on that day.

WALSH: And she was very clear.


WALSH: Right. And she was very clear about the ongoing uncertainty.
I mean, I happen to know Susan Rice. I`ve known her for a decade. She`s
brilliant. So this notion that she`s not qualified or she wasn`t terribly
bright in her remarks, it`s really insulting. It`s really personal. And
yes, again, the man who put Sarah Palin -- tried to put Sarah Palin a
heartbeat away from the presidency is questioning this woman. He also, you
know, when he defended Condi Rice in 2005, there are great sound bites
where he says, you know, there`s nothing about the -- some of the Democrats
question it. There`s nothing about this that isn`t about Revenge, that
isn`t about the way the election turned out, that isn`t about bitterness.
He`s describing himself.

SHARPTON: And let me say that it is clear to me -- and none of us --
I don`t agree with Condi Rice, but I would never say she wasn`t bright.
She`s a very bright woman. And when you look at the fact that this was
brought to -- Matt Lauer on the "Today" show this morning, NBC, raised the
question to John McCain. Watch this, Rula.


MATT LAURE, ANCHOR, TODAY SHOW: You said opponents of Condoleezza
rice were expressing sour grapes after an election loss. Why is this

MCCAIN: Because every intelligence agency in the world including the
British believed that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. That was an
entirely different situation.


JEBREAL: I don`t know what McCain is talking about. It`s really --
you know, I have to say, it`s concerning for a man that in his concession
speech said we`re fellow Americans, let`s remember the country and country
first. When he put that sign on his campaign, country first, he should
remember these words, and he should remember something else that what
happened in Libya happened in 22 countries the same day. There was all
over Muslim countries riots and manifestations and demonstrations and
attacks on embassies. So the assessment that we had the day after, the
assessment that actually logical, that the whole picture was the whole --
the situation in the Middle East was about that video. And what time we
discovered it was not that way, what you do, you don`t attack the U.N.
ambassador that in this moment is negotiating with the world on Syria, on
Iran, on Russia, on China.

SHARPTON: But she wasn`t just going by her own schedule. I think
that it`s important as we play that tape, Joan, that they confirmed
Condoleezza rice in 2005. The whole world was not believing that then. We
had just had a 2004 election in this country about whether or not they were
right or wrong about Iraq. So that`s not true.

But what is even more questionable to me, he wants to question the
truth about Benghazi, McCain. But yesterday he skipped out of a closed-
door confidential Senate committee hearing about Benghazi. He didn`t
attend the classified briefing for senators Wednesday given to the Senate
homeland security and governmental affairs committee on which he is a
member. The committee he`s a member. The closed and classified briefing
included representatives from the state department, the defense department,
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the national counterterrorism center, and the
FBI, all in this session. Instead of attending this committee that was
talking about what he says he wanted to get to the bottom of, let me show
you what he was doing.


MCCAIN: Susan Rice should have known better. And if she didn`t know
better, she`s not qualified.

We will do whatever`s necessary to block the nomination that`s within
our power as far as Susan Rice is concerned.

This president and this administration has either been guilty of
colossal incompetence or engaged in a cover-up.


SHARPTON: So he was making speeches, making TV appearances, not at
the closed committee hearing that he`s a member of, and when his staff was
questioned about it, they said oh, it was a scheduling conflict.

WALSH: Right. Well, there were no cameras at that closed-door
intelligence briefing. So you know, it wasn`t going to suit his purposes.
He also went off the deep end today when a CNN reporter asked him why he
happened to skip that meeting. And you know, just came off as kind of,
again, unhinged and very bitter.

SHARPTON: Joan and Rula, thank you both for your time tonight.

WALSH: Thank you.

JEBREAL: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, another day, another excuse from the former GOP
kingmaker. But wait until you hear what a GOP chairman is saying about
voter fraud.

And the roots of gift comments, of makers and takers talk, started in
1981. Tonight we will Reveal Lee Atwater`s full 1981 interview on how GOP
could appeal to racism without sounding racist.

It`s a "Politics Nation" exclusive.


SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We shared this photo of the president consoling a victim of
hurricane Sandy during his trip this afternoon through parts of New York.

Sue said he gave them what was in his heart -- strength, compassion,
empathy, and understanding.

And Rita told us, to note President Obama`s leadership. It is not
what he says. It`s what he does.

We want to hear what you think, too. Please head over to facebook and
search "Politics Nation" and like us to join the conversation that keeps
going long after the show ends.


SHARPTON: Forget for a moment all the crazy GOP reaction after the
election, and check out what "Mother Jones" magazine uncovered from just
before President Obama`s big win. It`s one of the wackiest stories we`ve
ever seen about top Georgia GOP lawmakers hosting a briefing on secret
Obama mind control plot. Oh, no, not the mind games! We`ve heard all
kinds of off-the-wall claims about the president from the fringe right.
But this is coming from an elected official.

It happened last month at a closed-door meeting inside Georgia`s state
house. Georgia Republican Senate majority leader Chip Rogers hosted the
event. He called on a tea party activist to explain to the Republican
caucus how President Obama is running the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They do that by a process known as Delphi
technique. The Delphi technique was developed by the Rand Corporation
during the cold war as a mind control technique. It`s also known as
"Concessive Process." But basically the gold of the Delphi technique is to
lead a targeted group of people to a pre-determined outcome while keeping
the illusion of being open to public input.


SHARPTON: It`s just an illusion. The public was duped. They keep
looking to blame someone. Anyone, anything. Maybe it`s time to look in
the mirror.

Joining me now, Joe Madison, nationally syndicated host of "on the
power" on Sirius XM. And Dana Milbank, columnist for the "Washington

Thanks for coming on the show.


stuff, man.

SHARPTON: Dana. Mind games? I mean, this is a new one. What is it
about the far right and this president? I mean, mind games?

MILBANK: Well, they`re pretty good mind games if they`ve got tens of
millions of Americans to fall for it. But I`m confused here because Mitt
Romney just said it was because the American people were bribed with gifts.
So, I think they`ve got to go with one or the other. It was either bribery
or it was some mass tens of millions of people going through mind games.

Look, this is a difficult time here. They will get through this
period. But they can study it and look through it, but when it comes right
down to it it`s pretty obvious that people weren`t buying what they were
selling and they need to be selling a different product.

SHARPTON: Joe Madison, Karl Rove is making all kinds of excuses
again. The "Wall Street Journal" today, he wrote a column and he gave
lessons of defeat for the GOP . I`m quoting him here. "Republicans need
not jettison their principles, but they must avoid appearing judgmental and
callous on social issues. The GOP must reduce the destructiveness of the
presidential primaries, also the Republican national committee should limit
the number of debates and by showing wisdom in picking debate moderators
limit the ability -- the media`s ability to depict the party as a fringe


SHARPTON: So they`re doing everything but saying, you know what, what
we are offering just doesn`t work and that people aren`t satisfied with the
policies we represent.

MADISON: True. And if they want to limit the media`s ability, they
ought to start with limiting some of the voices they have out there,
particularly in the talk show arena. Who did more -- my God, limit the
Sununu`s, who insulted everyone.

You know, the Republicans are culturally conditioned to believe that
they`re superior. And I think what happened is they simply undervalued,
underestimated, and they marginalized an entire group of people.

You know, there was a Republican I think in Maine who had the audacity
to say we had dozens of black folk and we didn`t know who they were, like
we count our Negroes, you know, like gee, who are they? And we don`t know
who they are. Do you know how 1950-ish that sounds to people? I`ve got --
I think my maternal grandmother is born in Bangor, Maine. I`m thinking
about going out there and checking it out.

SHARPTON: Let me show that the person in Maine will say that. Let me
show the sound so people understand exactly what you`re talking about.



state, for example, in some parts of rural Maine there were dozens, dozens
of black people who came in to vote on Election Day. Everybody has the
right to vote. But nobody in town knows anybody that`s black. How did
that happen? I don`t know. We`re going to find out.


SHARPTON: Now, later he apologized. But, you he seemed emphatic. So
I mean, Dana, when you go to that and you see these kind of -- we`ve got
everything from mind games to traveling blacks that nobody ever saw before
that just happens to show up in Maine. I mean, it`s everything but an
examination of the policies that even with hundreds of millions of dollars
that Americans would buy.

MILBANK: Well clearly, there are some mind games being practiced on
the residents of Maine who are no longer able to recognize their neighbors,
I suppose. But, it is extraordinary. You mentioned the Karl Rove thing.
He`s coming out with advice of what the Republicans should do.

Now, let`s think about his record. He just wasted half a billion
dollars, at a success rate of something around one percent, and predicted
this lopsided victory for Mitt Romney. So he`s certainly the one who would
be in a credible position to give Republicans advice going forward.

SHARPTON: I want to say this, Dana, to you. I want you to react to
this. Going back to Joe on the same one. Mississippi governor Hailey
Barbour, former Mississippi governor I should say, he was a little more
blunt in his assessment of what Republicans need to do next. Watch this.


our political organizational activity, you know, a very serious proctology
exam. I think that`s the only -- we need to look everywhere is my point.


SHARPTON: He was a little more direct, Dana.

MILBANK: Yes. It`s always entertaining to listen to Hailey Barbour.
But this isn`t rocket science. The problem is Republicans are appealing to
people who sound and look like Haley Barbour. And demographically, they`re
shrinking into a minority party here. It`s very obvious what they need to
do. And it doesn`t involve Medical exams, and it doesn`t involve mind
control, and it doesn`t involve racial fantasies.

MADISON: Yes, you`re kind, man. I mean, he has it opened up for such
a joke that I can`t tell on family TV. But you`re absolutely right. It
goes back to, again, this cultural conditioning. And they`ve got to
understand that you know -- Michael Steele was right when he was chairman.
He was right about it. And if they really want to improve and advance, and
I`m not the one to give Republicans advice, but the first thing they ought
to do -- and I`ll just say it. They should get rid of Karl Rove. He`s had
his chance. He blew it. He blew it, like you said, almost half a billion
dollars. Who blows a half a billion dollars and then is asked to come
back? They need to re-group. And finally, Reverend, know your people.
Know us. Come and talk to us. Come on your show. Come on my show. Talk
to our audience. We`re not monolithic.

SHARPTON: All right. Joe and Dana, thanks for your time tonight.

MILBANK: Thanks, Reverend.

MADISON: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, remember when this happened? Five million barrels
of crude oil gushing out underwater? Tonight, big news on BP`s punishment.

And the roots of the racially coded gifts and talkers and takers and
makers. These comments started in the Reagan era. The man who uncovered a
new tape joins me next.


SHARPTON: How the GOP `s ugly dog whistle playbook started 30 years
ago. We have the tape, and you`ve got to see it. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Governor Romney`s comments that the president won because
of gifts to minority are certainly jarring. But they weren`t surprising
given the GOP `s long, ugly history of injecting race into campaigns.
We`re reminded of that by newly uncovered audiotape from notorious
Republican consultant Lee Atwater back in 1981. Atwater explained the
evolution of the GOP `s southern strategy. How the party could appeal to
racism without sounding racist.


saying (bleep). By 1968 you can`t say (bleep). That hurts you, backfires.
So you say stuff like forced busing, states` rights and all that stuff. If
it is getting that abstract and that coded, that we`re doing away with the
racial problem one way or the other, you follow me, because obviously
sitting around saying we want to cut taxes, we want to cut this, and we
want is much more abstract than even the busing thing. And a hell of a lot
more abstract than (bleep).


SHARPTON: The repulsive logic became part of the party playbook. In
1976 Ronald Reagan told stories about the so-called welfare queen in an
effort to scare white voters. And the very same Lee Atwater made the
Willie Horton ad a key part of George H. W. Bush`s 1988 bid for the White
House. And in 2012 the same ugliness took center stage in the GOP primary.


Obama is the best food stamp president in American history.

make black people`s lives better by giving them somebody else`s money. I
want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.

ROMNEY: You`re doing it because you care about America. Paul and I
have not promised you a bigger check from the government.


SHARPTON: As Atwater said, the message is coded. But what he`s
getting at is crystal clear.

Joining me now is Toure, host of "the Cycle" here on MSNBC, and the
man who tracked down the Atwater tape, James Carter IV. He`s an opposition
researcher and the grandson of President Jimmy Carter.

Thank you both for coming on the show.



SHARPTON: James, first of all, tell us how you got your hands on this

CARTER: Well, I started looking for it after some of the racially
coded language in this campaign, and I came across this quote several times
during my research. So I got in touch with the widow of one of the
original interviewers, Alec Limas, and she agreed to give me the tape.

SHARPTON: So now James, in the tape, which we`ve played, you actually
have Atwater using the n word saying while we can`t use that use coded
words. So it was really a major strategist saying what we`ve got to do is
we can`t use the language we used to use, so we`re going to do it this way.
And this became a strategy in some of the Republican campaigns. We`re
talking about a man who ran presidential campaigns. We`re not talking
about some fringe guy here.

CARTER: That`s right. He was also the chairman of the Republican
Party at one point.

SHARPTON: Toure, this is amazing.

TOURE: It`s really not amazing. And you know we have been seeing
this for a long time, the southern strategy --

SHARPTON: No, you think what`s amazing is he got the tape.

TOURE: Oh, absolutely. But the southern strategy has been part of
the GOP soul since the `60s. It`s the party of the wealthy. But there`s
not enough wealthy to win national elections, not enough wealthy to win
most states. So you`ve got to have a way of appealing to people, poorer
people, non-college-educated white people. And I`m not saying that they`re
all racist. But appealing to them via racial anxiety and racial animosity
and these sorts of things does work. And when they`re talking about
welfare queens or crime, I mean, you don`t even have to say race when you
talk about crime. That immediately becomes, we know what we`re talking

SHARPTON: You don`t use the n word anymore. It`s coded.

TOURE: Right. And Lee Atwater would feel very comfortable in this
2012 campaign when you talk about the welfare ad we`re going to - Obama is
removing work from welfare, right? So, it is giving out free money, free

SHARPTON: Food stamps.

TOURE: The food stamp president. He`s lazy, these sorts of things.
He`s not really from America. These are all ways of demonizing him or
racializing him without going to the uglier stuff that makes it obvious and

SHARPTON: Now, James, Atwater also seems to really echo in the tape
Romney`s 47 percent comments. Take a listen.


ATWATER: I think race as such is going to dissolve as an issue, but
you are going to race question in the sense of on one side you`re going to
have a guy who`s a millionaire and he`s got something in common with the
guy who`s making 10,000 bucks a year. He`s paying taxes. And somebody
else is not doing anything and taking out of the system. Statistically, as
the number of non-producers in the system moves toward 50 percent, that
makes the system more and more polarity.


SHARPTON: I mean, it`s almost a 50 percent theory and this is 1981.
And we`re hearing this takers and makers kind of theory today.

CARTER: That`s right. And Lee Atwater, when he was giving that
explanation, actually put people that earn $10,000 a year as part of the
producers in his. So he has a slightly different definition of his 47
percent than Mitt Romney does.

SHARPTON: I think the thing that -- as egregious as it is, it also is
shows to me some encouragement to see that so many Americans have gotten
beyond this. Unfortunately for many of us, it took so many years. But I
think a lot of people are not going for it anymore and recognizing -- I`m
talking about white and black and Latino and Asian and recognizing this
coded stuff for what it is. That`s the hope for the country.

TOURE: And there`s a lot of white people who recognize this stuff and
reject the stuff. You just had Joan Walsh on the show who`s done a lot of
great work talking about the stuff. We have white people like her and
Chris Matthews speaking out against it. It really makes a powerful

But a lot of white people, and the social science shows, there is a
lot of white people look at themselves as the victims in the zero sum game
called race. And this stuff, this Lee Atwater stuff that Romney played
into, that Reagan played into, that the first Bush played into, a lot of
that stuff plays into that so that it makes them feel like I am the victim
and black people are getting entitlements, affirmative action. They`re the
lucky duckies. They`re the welfare successors, right? I work hard. And I
give my money to them. This sort of redistribution. No, I don`t want
that. So they`re playing to these racial anxieties. It`s disgusting. But
we`ve seen it for so long that it`s not even surprising anymore.

SHARPTON: James, you also were the one to discover the 47 percent
tape. And let me be clear. I think that it is wrong to play on racial
fears on either side. And whether it be blacks or whites. And I think
that to divide based on fear and false stereotyping is the kinds of things
that lead to the demise of the country, James.

CARTER: I definitely agree with that. You know, even George Bush ran
as a uniter and not a divider. That`s something that the Republican Party
used to embrace in, you know, in campaigns. But it doesn`t seem that way

TOURE: Reverend, I`m actually just happy to be on here with James,
who we could call maybe the secret MVP of the 2012 campaign. The
Republicans used the Jimmy Carter name wrongly so many times, right? To
try to make Democrats and Obama look bad.


TOURE: And to have it come back that you, sir, stick the knife in
Romney`s rib and make it almost impossible for him to win, I think that`s a
delicious irony. Congratulations to you, sir.

CARTER: Thank you.

SHARPTON: I think you revealed the truth and let the knife go where
it was going. I mean, the truth is the truth is the truth. And you
brought the tapes and let people hear it for themselves.

Toure and James Carter IV, thank you both for your time this evening.

And don`t forget to catch Toure on "the cycle" at 3:00 p.m. weekdays
here at MSNBC.

Remember this? The gusher that wouldn`t stop. But now BP, the oil
company is facing the music. Big-time. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Big news today in the case of the BP gulf oil spill. Who
can forget this image from two years ago? The spill began after a drilling
accident in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20th and continued for three
months. Eleven people were killed in the explosion. And it cost the
region $23 billion in revenue.

But now the wheels of justice are turning. In a settlement with the
justice department, BP has agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges,
including 11 felonies, and pay a record $4.5 billion fine. Three BP
employees were charged. Two of them with manslaughter. Congressman Ed
Markey, a tough BP critic, reacted to the news.


REP. ED MARKEY (D), MASSACHUSETTS: It is now clear that BP was lying
to the Congress. They were deliberately low-balling the number because
their liability is directly tied to the number of barrels of oil that flow
into the ocean.


SHARPTON: The oil spill showed just how unreliable the company and
industry has been when it comes to regulation. This is why elections
matter. Regulation was one of the central issues during this campaign.
Just listen to how Governor Romney defended big oil on the campaign trail.


ROMNEY: But what we don`t need is to have the president keeping us
from taking advantage of oil, coal, and gas.

On day one I`m going to act to increase the number of leases and
permits to drill on federal lands.


SHARPTON: In fact, as the oil continued to spill in the gulf, listen
to what one Republican lawmaker told the CEO of BP during a hearing on
Capitol Hill.


REP. JOE BARTON (R), TEXAS: I think it is a tragedy of the first
proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would
characterize as a shakedown, in this case a $20 billion shakedown. But I


SHARPTON: The Republican apologizes to BP. But just yesterday
industry lobbyists were still calling for lighter regulations. This is why
government matters. We need to make sure companies like BP are held
accountable. This is not over.

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


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