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PoliticsNation, Wednesday, December 5th, 2012


December 5, 2012

Guests: Margie Omero; Jan Schakowsky; Tom Harkin; Abby Huntsman, James Peterson, Rosie Perez

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

Tonight`s lead, I will not play that game. President Obama`s holding
all of the cards in the tax fight. The GOP `s on the ropes and they are
ready to cave. But with all things Republicans, there`s always a catch.
That`s right. Speaker Boehner and company are looking to hold the debt
ceiling hostage again. Willing to downgrade our credit rating again.
Willing to risk our recovery again. Just to get their way on spending
cuts. The only problem for them, the president is in no mood to play.


very clear message to people here. We are not going to play that game next
year. In Congress, in any way suggests that they are going to tie
negotiations to debt ceiling votes and take us to the brink of default once
again as part of a budget negotiation which, by the way, we have never done
it in our history until we did it last year, I will not play that game.


SHARPTON: Sorry speaker Boehner, find someone else to play economic
game with. The president isn`t interested. He`s done with their gimmicks.
He`s done with their ploys. He`s done with the argument that they are the
serious ones in this whole debate.


REP. ERIC CANTOR (R), HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER: So we ask the president,
sit down with us, be serious about the specifics of spending.

available at any moment to sit down with the president to get serious about
solving this problem.


SHARPTON: Get serious? Nothing about the Republican side is serious
these days. Even one of the leading GOP voices, former senator Alan
Simpson, has released a video that has pretty much everyone scratching
their heads.


breakfast and tweeting your first world problems and getting on you tube so
you can see Gangnam style.

And don`t forget, take part or get taken apart. These old cook cans
will try to get you out before you get there.

I got a burn knew. The lasso again. And then the horse back. Horse,
horse. Get them ready. The cowboys ride. The cowboys ride.


SHARPTON: I`m not quite sure what that has to do with the debt talks
or the Republican position on taxes. Maybe another prominent conservative
can help me understand what the GOP is thinking.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Any word from Karl Rove?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s been telling you it`s over. Romney lost.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Damn it, I guess it`s time I explain to these good
people the upcoming fiscal cliff. Think of the economy as the car and the
rich man as the driver. If you don`t give the driver all the money, he`ll
drive you over a cliff. It`s just commonsense.


SHARPTON: Finally someone on the right willing to tell the truth.
But here`s the thing. This time it doesn`t matter if Mr. Burns, speaker
Boehner, or the tea party try to hold the American people hostage just to
get what they want. The president isn`t going to budge.


OBAMA: So I want to send a very clear message to people here. We are
not going to play that game next year.


SHARPTON: Up to now, the GOP has been playing with a load of debt.
But today, president Obama has the trump card.

Joining me now is congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, Democrat from Illinois
and member of the progressive caucus and Margie Omero, Democratic

Thank you both for coming on the show tonight.


SHARPTON: Congresswoman, let me start with you. Is the GOP serious
about holding the economy hostage again just to get what they want?

REP. JAN SCHAKOWSKY (D), ILLINOIS: Well, think about the cards that
they are holding. They are in favor of tax cuts for the rich. They want
to cut entitlement program. They want to cut Medicare and make seniors
pay, and they want to want to give threaten the economy of the United
States of America by defaulting on payments or at least to threaten that.

This is not a very popular position among the public. In fact, they
will be -- I think it`s a suicide mission that they are on, that the
American people will make them pay the price. I really don`t understand
their strategy.

SHARPTON: Margie, if you look at the fact that in the 2011 debt
ceiling battle, senator Mitch McConnell had this to say.

He said, I think some of our members may have thought the default
issue was a hostage. You might take a chance at shooting. Most of us
didn`t think that. What we did learn is this. It`s a hostage that`s worth
ransoming. And it focuses the Congress on something that must be done.

Now, if this was their thought and his attitude in 2011, do you think
that`s what we`re dealing with, that kind of feeling, attitude of holding
the hostage for ransom now?

it`s certainly bad for the economy and it`s also been bad for the
Republican brand. It`s the reason that they were unsuccessful in the polls
in November. It is the reason that now, poll is consistently show that
voters will blame Republicans instead of President Obama by two to one if
we don`t reach a deal for the fiscal cliff.

And it`s also the reason why you see voters very clearly support
having the wealthiest pay a little bit more. It the one proposal that is
consistently -- it received strong support from a majority of voters and it
is the one position, a Republican consistently dig their heels in and say
we don`t support this.

So, they are on the wrong side of the politics. They are on the wrong
side of the policy. They are on the wrong side of what history supports.
It makes sense. It`s just a bad strategy all the way around.

SHARPTON: Now, what happened last time we held the debt ceiling
hostage, it led to the first credit down grade in U.S. history. The stock
market dropped by 1300 points in August of 2011 and the GOP approval rating
dropped 12 point, congresswoman. Do we need to play this game again?

SCHAKOWSKY: No. And that`s why the president went to the business
roundtable. This is a very unpopular position among the American people.
But also, the business community really understands what the consequences.
And there are real consequences. The downgrading of our credit rating is
consequential in our country. And so, I think it was smart of him to say
that he`s not playing that game anymore in front of business leaders.

SHARPTON: Let me ask you this, congresswoman, the -- Nancy Pelosi,
the minority leader, she argued that the Democrats must stand strong
against raising the Medicare eligibility age. Will Democrats hold the line
on this?

SCHAKOWSKY: I don`t think there`s any question. We cannot raise the
age of Medicare. This would be a major cut in benefits. It would hurt
people from 65 to 67 because the truth of the matter is, many people in the
United States are not living longer. Those are people, poor women are
actually living shorter. People who make less money are living -- I have
not seen their longevity grow. We cannot do that. That is a cut in
benefits that we don`t want and the American people are adamantly against
it, overwhelmingly against it.

SHARPTON: Is that a deal breaker, then, for Democrats if the age
eligibility is on the table?

SCHAKOWSKY: I think if the age of eligibility is on the table. And I
doubt very much that it will be. I believe that the president is not going
to support that. And I believe that the Democrats are not going to support
changing the age of eligibility. It is nothing more than a dangerous cut
in benefits and that is just not going to fly either with the American
people and I don`t believe that it will happen in the Congress and
certainly not in the White House.

SHARPTON: Marge, a leading conservative senator, Tom Coburn argued
that it doesn`t really matter with tax revenues come from. Take a listen.


SEN. ROM COBURN (R), OKLAHOMA: I know we have to raise revenue. I
don`t really care which way we do it. Actually, I would rather see the
rates go up than do it the other way because it gives us a greater chance
to broaden the base in the future.


SHARPTON: What do you get from that comment, Marge?

OMERO: Well, I do see that some Republicans are trying to pave away
for there to be an agreement. I think it can be an encouraging sign. The
trick is you have the Rush Limbaugh wing of the Republican Party that has
really pulling John Boehner and pulling Republicans farther to the right.
And I hope that this is just posturing and that now that they have gotten
their posturing out of the way, everybody can come to the table, but
certainly that wasn`t what happened last year. So you know, it just really
remains to be seen.

SHARPTON: The president drove home the point today that tax rates
need to go up. There`s no other solution. Take a listen.


OBAMA: The holdup right now is that speaker Boehner took a position I
think the day after the campaign that said we`re willing to bring in
revenue but we`re not willing to increase rates. And I just explained to
you why we don`t think that works. We`re not insisting on rates just out
of spite or out of any kind of partisan victory, but rather because we need
to raise a certain amount of revenue.


SHARPTON: Congresswoman, do the Republicans realize the president did
win the election?

SCHAKOWSKY: Well, certainly some of the Republicans have caught on.
But, they also realize that they are just on the wrong side of the majority
of Americans by saying that they are going to go to the mat. They are
going to fight to the finish. They are willing to bring the economy down
to fight for the top two percent? Really? This is not going to help them.
If they want to win in any future election, they are taking the wrong
positions. Some Republicans are definitely coming around to that

SHARPTON: Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky and Margie Omero, thank you
both for your time tonight.

SCHAKOWSKY: Thank you.

OMERO: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Ahead, they maybe caving on taxes, but Republicans have a
dangerous plan up their sleeve. Senator Tom Harkin is ready to fight for
the middle class. He joins us next.

Plus, the grand old party gets a grand old makeover. Wait until you
hear what Paul Ryan is now saying about the 47 percent.

And from actress to activism, the one and only Rosie Perez is in the
house. And I just learned today, we have something in common.

You`re watching "Politics Nation" on MSNBC.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get this, earlier today Mitt Romney was spotted on
a Costco shopping spree. That`s right. He ended up buying 14 Costcos.




SHARPTON: Have you joined the "Politics Nation" conversation on
facebook yet? We hope you will. Today, everyone was talking about the
diverse Democratic house leadership.

Ann says, this looks like the house I live in.

Karl says, and they wonder why they lost the election.

We have more on this. And the lessons Republicans should be learning
coming up. But, first, we want you to weigh in. Please head over to
facebook and search "Politics Nation" and "like" us to join the
conversation that keeps going long after the show ends.



OBAMA: I have to just tell you. That is a bad strategy for America,
it`s a bad strategy for your businesses, and it is not a game that I will


SHARPTON: The president knows the game and he knows the score. The
idea of a GOP doomsday plan is picking up steam. They will cave on tax and
come back ready next year ready to hold the economy hostage again. This is
the danger that lies ahead. They will demand raising the Medicare
eligibility age to 67 and demand $600 billion in tax cuts for Medicare and
Medicaid. And demand $200 billion be slashed from Social Security. That`s
the game the GOP is playing. So who will be there to fight? Our next
guest. That`s who.

Joining me now is senator Tom Harkin, Democrat from Iowa and champion
for the middle class. Senator, it`s a pleasure to have you here tonight.

SEN. TOM HARKIN (D), IOWA: Good to be back with you, Al.

SHARPTON: So, this new plan is picking up steam, we understand. How
can you and the Democrats fight back if they give in on tacks?

HARKIN: Well, I`ll tell you, Al, what we`re seeing is number one,
Medicare shouldn`t be a part of this whole debate at all and neither should
Social Security. Let`s take care of that later on.

The most important thing we can do right now is to let people know,
let the middle class know that we passed a bill last -- this last summer.
It`s 3412. S-3412. It is in front of the house right now. If the house
passes it, President Obama said that he would sign it tomorrow. That would
extend the tax cuts for the middle class. That means the middle class can
go out and do Christmas shopping and buy thing for their families because
they would know that their taxes are not going up. It`s being held hostage
by the House of Representatives. That would be the best thing that we can
do right now.

SHARPTON: Now, if they, in fact, allow the tax cut across the board
and then come back in, I understand that some are saying that it`s better
to have no deal than to have a bad deal. Where do you stand on that,
senator Harkin.

HARKIN: I think I first claim that phrase. Better no deal than a bad

SHARPTON: What do you mean by that?

HARKIN: I what I mean is, rather than paving in now and making some
kind of deal to raise the age of eligibility for Medicare or to make the
elderly pay more on their deductibles or co-pays or to mess around with
cost of living adjustment on Social Security, that`s a bad deal. That
shouldn`t even be part of the discussion now. If that`s where they are
headed, I say no deal. We`ll discuss that later on. The most important
thing right now is just to have the house pass the tax cut for the middle
class. That would be the best single thing that we can do right now.

But I`ll tell you, I`m not going to fall into this trap of saying,
well, we have to have some kind of a deal or we`ll fall off this cliff.
I`m not worried about that. The cliff I`m worried about is what is going
to happen to the elderly poor, people on Medicaid right now, what happens
when they fall off their cliff?

You know, people like us, you know, and the rich and the people in
this country, you know, they can fall off a little curb a little bit. It
don`t bother them. But when you`re attacking people on Medicaid and on
Medicare and on Social Security, I`m telling you, that`s when if they fall
off they can`t get back up.

SHARPTON: Now, it seems as though from all of the polling, the
American people are with you senator, what makes the GOP plan most striking
to me is that the American people are just absolutely opposing it, 82
percent oppose reducing Social Security benefits, 67 percent oppose raising
Medicare eligibility age. Meanwhile, 60 percent support raising taxes on
the wealthy. So this is just not partisan. This seems to be where the
American people are at.

HARKIN: Well, I think -- don`t you think, Al, the American people are
on to what the Republicans are up to? They want to balance the budget on
the backs of low income, middle class, and the elderly. They are saying,
we`ve got to cut all this spending, cut all this spending, but they don`t
want the wealthy to pay their fair share.

The American people are on to us. That`s what this election is about.
If there was one thing clear in this last election is that President Obama
said, if you re-elect me, I`m going to be in favor of raising the rates and
raising taxes on the super wealthy in our country. And guess what, Al, he
won. And he won big. He won big. That`s where the American people are.

SHARPTON: Now, one of the things that is also a major issue is they
are attacking a stimulus portion of the president`s offer because for $95 a
billion to extend payroll tax cut, $30 billion is to extend unemployment
insurance benefits, $50 billion to fund infrastructure projects like roads
and bridges. So they are not only playing games on how they are going to
deal with the question of tax cuts across the board, but they are really
attacking the stimulus part of the president`s offer.

HARKIN: Well, you and I both know the best way to grow is from the
middle out, not from the top down. The best way to get this economy going
is to get some jobs out there for people and that`s in infrastructure that
is in education that is in job retraining. We`ve got to get people back to
work. Then, when they`ve got the money, they can go out and start buying
things and the business community will respond by hiring more people.
That`s the stimulus that we need.

We know that the last stimulus program worked. I don`t care what the
Republicans say. The facts are there. The last stimulus worked. What we
need now is to boost that. We need more spending right now. We need more
spending right now to put people to work in the short term. You do that
and you`ll get the economy going again.

SHARPTON: When you look at where we have had like natural disasters,
like hurricane Sandy in the northeast and other things that have shown the
need to rebuild the infrastructure -- I mean, when a hurricane can close
down the biggest city in the country for a week and the New Jersey coast,
we`re not talking about handouts here. We need to rebuild tunnels and
bridges and highways and roadways. So, you would think that would be
something above partisan bickering.

HARKIN: You know, it`s been said before, Al, that we are still
driving on Eisenhower`s highways and going to Roosevelt`s schools. You
know, 60, 70-year-old things, we`ve got to rebuild this infrastructure. It
will put a lot of people back to work and it will make this country better
for our kids and grandkids. You`re right on target on that. That
hurricane Sandy, I think, showed that more clearly than anything else.

SHARPTON: Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat from Iowa, thanks for your
time tonight.

HARKIN: Thank you, Al. Thank you for your leadership.

Up next, what does America look like? Here`s a hint. It`s not the
Republican Party. You will want to hear what Nancy Pelosi had to say about
this picture.

Plus, the great Rosie Perez is here. Actress, director, activist.
She`ll talk about change and progress after the election. Stay with us.


SHARPTON: One of the GOP `s many problems is they have become the
party of old, white men and it`s made them a punch line on late-night TV.

Here is John Stewart`s take on the GOP naming 19 white men to
committee chairman in the House.


JOHN STEWART, HOST, THE DAILY SHOW: I`ll have you know, there`s a
great deal of diversity and variety in that group. For instance, these
three gentleman alone look like the kind of guys that would sell you three
very different types of insurance. And that guy looks like your average
news anchor but that guy look like your average sports announcer.


SHARPTON: This picture was a big problem for them. They tried to fix
it by adding one woman. That`s it. That was their big solution. That`s
their definition of diversity. Well, now, here is the Democratic picture
of diversity. It`s the new line of a democratic leadership announced today
by minority leader Nancy Pelosi.


committee chairs are women and minorities and that diversity is a
reflection of America. These leaders will ensure that the voices of all
Americans will have a seat at the table, the interest of every American
represented in the halls of government.


Democrat look like America. Republicans look like a party in need of
a makeover. We will talk about that next..


SHARPTON: We`re back on POLITICS NATION with more makeovers. Kill
the music. You might have seen it on daytime talk show. Who knew it
existed in the world of politics. But let`s get right to it. Who is up
first? It`s Paul Ryan. Last year, he was Mr. 30 percent. Thirty percent
didn`t want the American dream. He was Mr. makers and takers.

But everyone, get ready. Here comes Paul Ryan now. Oh, look at him.
He`s vowing to help Americans rise up from poverty and he`s slamming his
old pal Mitt`s 47 percent comments. What a change. OK, who`s next? Oh,
it`s none other than Senator Marco Rubio. Just a few weeks ago, he was
proudly standing with Mitt Romney, he and agreed on issues like tax reform
and healthcare and education over all. Look at him today. He`s Mr. middle





UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Middle class. Middle class. Middle class.


SHARPTON: And we have a very special guest makeover. It`s Rick
Santorum. Earlier in the year he ran for president on an anti-immigration
platform. He`s complaining about immigration could destroy the American
economy. And look at this. Now he`s saying immigration will bring
economic growth to America. Incredible makeover. But stop the music.

The entire party is trying to cover up who they really are inside.
The policies haven`t changed is all rhetoric. Like most makeovers, the GOP
is only skin deep.

Joining me now is Abby Huntsman, host and producer of HuffPost Live
and Dr. James Peterson, professor at Lehigh University and a contributor to
the Thank you both for being here tonight.



SHARPTON: Let me go to you first James. What do you make of these
republican makeovers?

PETERSON: Well, they are not makeovers. They are masquerading a
little bit as they try to make pivot. A pivot towards the demographics
they think they need to win elections in the future. But as you listen
closely to the things they are saying, you can still see the seeds of the
sort of old/new Republican Party. So, for instance, Mr. Rubio wants to
talk about the middle class and Mr. Ryan wants to talk about, you know,
welfare reform and they also both wants to talk about poverty but you can`t
talk about welfare reform or so-called welfare reform and misunderstand the
fact that the level in-depths of poverty that we have right now are also
exacerbated by the reforms, welfare back in those days. So, you can see
some of the inconsistencies in their logic. If you look closely at their
speeches, but it seems like this is mostly for show right now.

SHARPTON: Now, Abby, in fairness because obviously I disagree with a
lot of Republican Party. But in fairness, there are some that have wanted
to have different policies and have been berated for it. How do we tell
the difference between those who have been sincere in the party, in the
Republican Party about moderate and inclusion, even if we disagree on other
issues, and those that are just now doing makeovers because the other way
didn`t work for them?

HUNTSMAN: That`s the biggest challenge is finding that authenticity
and we saw this last election cycle, these guys that we`re seeing right now
were speaking this message at that point. So, I ask continuously, where
were they then?


HUNTSMAN: That being said though, you know --

HUNTSMAN: Not only didn`t speak it, they were condemning people that
spoke differently like your father.

HUNTSMAN: Right. That being said though, this is the Republican
Party and it`s going to take a lot longer than I think people will expect
to figure out the party that they want to become. There`s a series lack of
leadership right now and everyone is trying to jump in and really garner
that leadership. There really isn`t anyone today. And you see these
candidates -- potential candidates as you can see wanting to be everything
to all people. And we saw that didn`t work for Mitt Romney.

So, they really have to find a way to be authentic. And at this point
in the game, all voices need to be heard. All voices need to be on the
table because that`s part of finding their way. I mean, the Democrats went
through this back in 1984 after they lost a huge loss to Ronald Reagan. So
this is very normal in politics. It`s just going to take a lot longer than
people think.

SHARPTON: Now, James, Paul Ryan took a not so subtle shot at his
former running mate on his 47 percent comment. Look at this.


REP. PAUL RYAN (R), WISCONSIN: Both parties tend to divide Americans
into our voters and their voters. Let`s be really clear, Republicans must
steer far clear of that trap. We must speak to the aspirations and
anxieties of every American.


SHARPTON: I mean, James --

PETERSON: Well, listen, obviously this is so far away from where
Romney was, where Sununu is today but here`s what Mr. Ryan does know and
this is actually an important note to strike for the Republican Party.
When you look at the American map of poverty and when you look at the
American map of those states that require the most from the government in
terms of government support intervention, you`re looking at largely red

And so, I don`t know why it`s taking them this long to come to this
conclusion but the Republican Party actually cannot exist with its sort of
anti-poverty, anti-middle class, anti-working middle class policies. And
so, here we`re trying to get some rhetoric to try to turn things around.
Let`s hope they`ll actually going to put some policies where the rhetorical
mouths are.

SHARPTON: Yes, but that`s the point Abby because he says that
Republicans have to speak to the aspirations and anxieties of every
American. But if you look at the plan that they are raising to the
President, $2.2 trillion debt reduction increasing Medicare, eligibility
age puts social security on the table. The plan that Ryan is a part of,
the team pushing this plan doesn`t speak to the rhetoric that he gave in
that speech last night.

HUNTSMAN: Well, you know, you brought up Sununu in your comment
James. And last time, I was here, I said that Romney and Karl Rove need to
run off into the sunset together. I meant to at him to that situation.


HUNTSMAN: These are voices of yesterday. They are yesterday`s party
and it`s scary to think that this guy was Romney`s top surrogate speaking
all over the place for him. That`s probably is the reason why he failed.
But I think it`s irrelevant to talk about these voices because that`s not
the future. But I do want to keep pointing out, you do have to give it
some time. Of course Republicans right now are going to put out exactly
what they want. They know they are not going to get everything they are
asking for.

SHARPTON: All right.

HUNTSMAN: But they are going to put out as much as they think that
they can. Obviously we`re going to come to some sort of deal but that`s
just the way politics works right now. And I will just keep pointing back
to the fact that it`s going to take time and it`s going to take time for
our leaders, lack thereof really right now to find authenticity, to find
the message. So, I`m just telling you guys to be a little bit patient.

SHARPTON: But I think I would agree --

HUNTSMAN: James laughing at me.

SHARPTON: I would agree with Abby, that there may be a deal and that
they are putting out things that they don`t think they will get all of.
But if you know you just lost an election and if you know you have a
certain image in the minds of the public, wouldn`t you not want to come out
with such extreme proposals even if you`re not all the way there at the
end, James? Wouldn`t you want to send a different signal to the public
that you got the message they gave at the polls on Election Day?

PETERSON: You absolutely will but my sense is that the more moderate
Republicans are still being muffled and stifled by even smaller Tea Party
caucus or even more likely in some of these cases, the threat of a Tea
Party primary challenger. And so, until the Republican Party really does
some house cleaning in terms of those who spoke on the sort of radical
right and those who spoke associate themselves with the Tea Party, I think
it`s going to be very, very difficult politically for some of the more
moderate folk in the Republican Party to make the kind of case that they
have to make and it`s not about the three of us or about pundits.

This is about making the case to the American people. You know,
Republicans have to talk to the folks in those red states. And I challenge
any of your viewers, Reverend Al. Just look at the maps, see where the
states that are most red and understand that those states are some of the
most impoverished states in our union. And so, the Republican Party has
got to make some adjustments. And I think maybe first before they do that,
clean some house and so they can disassociate themselves with some of
those, that sort of small minority that continues to pull them to the
radical right.

SHARPTON: You know, Abby, I must say this -- because I don`t want to
run out of time without bringing this up -- they are moving so to try and
change some things. They recruited none other than George Bush to come out
and speak about immigration today who has had some interesting things in
the past.

HUNTSMAN: He seems like the most sane voice right now in the party
talking about immigration reform, doesn`t he?

SHARPTON: Isn`t that incredible? Well, listen to George Bush on
immigration today.


FMR. PRES. GEORGE W. BUSH (R), UNITED STATES: Not only do immigrants
help build our economy, they invigorate our soul. As our nation debates
the proper course of action relating regard to immigration, I hope we do so
with a benevolent spirit and keep in mind the contribution of immigrants.


SHARPTON: And that speech was last night, not today. But a
benevolent spirit. Now, just hope it`s not like he`s compassion to
conservativism because we saw how that did for us. But they seem to be
trying to move and whether this image is for real, we`ll see on immigration

HUNTSMAN: I mean, you got to give President Bush credit. He tried to
pass reform back in 2004 and it didn`t end up passing. And no one wanted
to go near him this last election cycle. But Mitt Romney could have used
of him of his sounded bites when it comes to immigration. I think it just
shows the fact that he`s speaking out now, the lack of leadership that
exist in the party. You have Reince Priebus for example who`s running the
show these days, I guarantee he did not pick up the phone and call Sununu
to say, you know, let`s build on it, let`s not make this statements, let`s
makes stuff look bad.

PETERSON: That`s right.

HUNTSMAN: That`s the problem. There is just a void of leadership
altogether and it`s clear when you see Bush now as the ring leader.

SHARPTON: So you think he could have advised Romney?

HUNTSMAN: Better than Sununu.

SHARPTON: Self deportation didn`t exactly --

HUNTSMAN: Absolutely.

SHARPTON: Abby Huntsman and Dr. James Peterson, thank you for your
time tonight.

PETERSON: Thanks, Rev.

SHARPTON: Coming up, the boogey man is back. Wait until you hear the
latest theory, the right is cooking up about President Obama winning the

And she`s here. She`s here. With me in the studio. She is the one
and only Rosie Perez. She`s very passionate about our politics. I`m so
happy to see her.


SHARPTON: We all know Rosie Perez the actress. But what about Rosie
Perez the activist? She has a lot to say about the state of the Republican
Party. That`s next.


SHARPTON: Welcome back to POLITICS NATION. From her breakout
performance in "do the right thing" to her Oscar-nominated role in
"Fearless," and her powerful turn as a teacher in this year`s "Won`t Back
Down." Rosie Perez has been one of the most distinctive voices in American
film. She`s also an activist. She fought fearlessly against at injustice
and inequality. She serves on President Obama`s advisory council on
HIV/AIDS and she made headlines this year with a video mocking Mitt
Romney`s claim that it would be easier for him to win if he were Latino.


obvious. Think of all of our Hispanic American presidents, from Jorge
Washington to Jorge Bush, uno y dos. And who can forget Presidente Jimmy
Smits? Boriqua!


SHARPTON: I`m pleased to welcome her to POLITICS NATION, actress,
director and activist, the one and only Rosie Perez. Rosie, thanks for
being here.

PEREZ: Thank you for having me. I`ve been a fan of yours and respect
you immensely.

SHARPTON: Well, the feeling is mutual. And we have something in
common. Both of us were arrested and jailed for protesting the navy
bombing in Vieques.

PEREZ: That`s right. That`s right.

SHARPTON: And navy bombing in Vieques was -- Puerto Rico that was
causing a lot of environmental problems and you were arrested leading a
demonstration here and I believe the U.N. and I did it in Puerto Rico.


SHARPTON: We have that in common but we also have in common looking
at this last election and one of the things that you were very passionate
about is when Mr. Romney said, the President won because he gave gifts to
Latinos and African-Americans and seniors. Tell us why that upset you so.

PEREZ: It upset me because it`s a prejudice statement, plain and
simple. What is he implying? That every single African-American, every
single Latino-American is poor, is on public welfare? I don`t think so.
And to categorize us and to make generalized statements like that, it just
needs to stop. And I guess he did not learn anything from his loss. We
are growing in numbers. We are recognizing our power and we are utilizing
our power and we will continue to do so.

I don`t -- you know, I just don`t understand what is the problem with
gifts? I was a person who received gifts. First of all, they didn`t feel
like gifts to me. Going to school on a lunch card was very hard. Standing
on a line to receive a block of cheese was very hard. Wearing hand-me-
downs to school was very hard. But yes, my aunt was on welfare. But am I?
No. I worked hard. I benefited from the Seato (ph) program when Carter
was the president. I`m dating myself on how old I am but --



I remember the Seato (ph) program.

PEREZ: Yes. And I benefited from it and I worked hard for it and
Seato (ph) was a program that offered employment for young people that were
disadvantaged. And I bust my butt for that. And I started that at the age
of 12 and I never stopped working.

SHARPTON: Just like many Americans worked in public workers programs
with Roosevelt. They were not getting gifts or handouts. Government has
always helped Americans and why are some called gifts? The immigration
question, let me ask you about that. You`ve been passionate. You fought
for fair immigration. Now all of a sudden Republicans -- I just showed a
tape of President Bush and others -- are talking more humane about
immigration. But can you have it both ways? Can you attack people who are
saying, they want gifts, that they are takers. But then and all of a
sudden, you are going to flip 180 degrees and say, well, let`s have a
better immigration policy after you talk about self-deportation all year

PEREZ: You know, I just want to say this. Because it`s very easy to
kind of kick them when they are down, the Republicans.


PEREZ: But I actually want to commend former President Bush for
coming out today and speaking on that. I think that he wanted -- well, we
all know that he wanted immigration reform back in 2004. Am I correct?


PEREZ: And then he kind of went back into the closet and a lot of
Republicans went into the closet after 2004 because they didn`t get what
they wanted. And it`s time to come out of the closet. It`s time to say,
you know what, I don`t really believe in Grover`s doctrine, I really do not
believe in ignoring the 47 percent. I really do not believe in doing away
with any type of immigration reform. Now is their chance. Now is their
chance to say, you know what, guys, you were right.

And we want to work together. So, you know, these shows are fantastic
because it brings the issue to the forefront. But also, what we have to do
is be very, very careful at this time when they are kind of groveling.


PEREZ: If you will. It`s like, oh, you want to come on outside?
Come on!

SHARPTON: Come on. That`s right.

PEREZ: Oh, you want to go outside? Now you do? No, we need to put
away with the attitude and stop playing games. We got to get back to
working for the American people, plain and simple. Just stop.

SHARPTON: So are you optimistic, then, that we can get some real
immigration reform in the next four years if some Republicans do come over,
for whatever reason, if they just come over for votes, if we can get it
done, do you think there`s a possibility? Are you optimistic about that in
the next four years?

PEREZ: I`m very optimistic about it and I think that it also goes
back to Latinos because we have spoken. Seventy percent. We have spoken
and our voices are being heard and I have to say this, I`m sorry, in
regards to the immigration issue, it`s also insulting to Latin people
because we are not the only people coming into this country illegally.

SHARPTON: Exactly.

PEREZ: You know, you have Europeans, Middle Easterns, Canadians
laughing their butts off, you know, at our own prejudice. You know,
there`s like, oh, they are only concentrating on Spanish people. Let`s all
sneak in, you know.

SHARPTON: Let`s profile it. People ask me, why do I talk about
immigration? Certainly Latinos but what about people in Trinidad, in
Jamaica where I grew up in Brooklyn, I mean, there are a lot of immigrants.
How would you advise -- because you seem to be very inclusive in your
activism, always have been. How would you advice Republicans, or for that
matter, Democrats to strengthen their inroads into the Latino community as
it`s a growing community, as you say?

PEREZ: Recognize us as Americans and respect us as Americans, plain
and simple. For to you keep putting us in boxes and into categories, it`s
-- the insult is going to get so big that we might just attack back and you
do not want that. You do not want that just plain and simple. Give us our
respect and recognize that we are now a force in this country.

SHARPTON: Why did you make the video we played of you answering Mitt
Romney saying that if he had been Latino, he would have done better or won?

PEREZ: Because when I saw him, was it on Telemundo or Univision, and
he had that spray tan. I went, oh, come on. Enough is enough. I just
couldn`t believe it. I was sitting at home going, no, he did not. He did
not go for the spray tan. And you had to say something. You had to say
something. One of the greatest gifts that I`ve received in my life is
this. Is the opportunity to have a platform to speak up and do something
and that`s why I did it and I also did it for the 47 percent. You know?
And because, it`s like enough`s enough, man. For real.

SHARPTON: Well, you`ve used your platform well, both as an artist and
an activist.

PEREZ: Thank you.

SHARPTON: Rosie Perez, it`s been an absolute pleasure. Thank you for
coming on tonight and being on the show. We`ll be right back.


SHARPTON: Finally tonight, I want to let Republicans in on something
I learned as a kid. Come closer to the TV. Here it is. The boogie man
isn`t real. But almost half the GOP hasn`t figured that out. A new poll
shows 49 percent of Republicans think the community organizing group ACORN
stole the election for President Obama. Of course there`s no way President
Obama could have won the way he did without stealing it, of course that`s

So nearly half of the Republicans say ACORN is behind it. But there`s
a slight problem with this theory. ACORN disbanded over two years ago.
The organization doesn`t exist. It`s gone. Done. Doors shut. A little
embarrassing, isn`t it? But this is the classic republican bogeyman
theory. They want to make the President to look bad so they just make
things up, like when they thought Attorney General Eric Holder and
President Obama were out to take your guns away.

Like when they said the only way the unemployment numbers could be
going down was if the Obama administration cooked the books. Like when
they accuse U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and the President of covering up the
Libya tragedy. Even though the CIA provided her talking points. So here
we go again, a new bogeyman, a defunct group stole the election. It`s
actually kind of funny but with nearly half believe it, it`s scary, just
like that bogeyman that doesn`t exist.

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


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